Fear is a natural human emotion, and a survival mechanism. It is triggered by a perceived threat, therefore alerting us to the presence of danger. Our bodies respond when faced with fear – a fight or flight response, that is, either to meet it head on, or run away. This is crucial to our survival.
Humans are born with only two innate fears: fear of falling, and loud noises. All the other fears are actually learned. They are learned through direct experience, or via social means, like verbal warnings or observing others.
Suffice to say, fear is useful, essential even. However, when some people live in constant fear, they can become incapacitated (whether the threat to security is real or perceived). Fear impacts our mental and physical wellbeing. When we face what we fear, this experience can be utterly terrifying. That said, being controlled by fear, and being in the state of fear constantly, is worse. So below are some ways to help you deal with your fear(s), and overcome them.
Ways to overcome your fears
1. Be aware
Recognise that most of your fears are irrational, and they are negatively impacting your life. Remember that you are not your fears. You need to have this realisation first, before you can overcome any fear.
2. Identify your fear
What exactly are you afraid of? Pay attention and observe your emotional state. Start investigating your fears. What thoughts generate them? Is the threat real or a perceived one?
3. The power of now
Bring your attention to the present. Don’t think of the past, or the future. Center yourself in the now. When you focus on what’s at hand, you are moved to do whatever that you can at the moment, instead of being paralysed by fear.
4. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
This is also known as tapping or psychological acupressure. It is an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress. EFT focuses fingertip tapping the meridian points to restore balance to the body’s energy. This can be a great way to immediately move past your fear. Have a look at YouTube for step by step instructions.
5. Sedona Method
This is yet another method for dealing with your fears. Here is how it works – ask yourself a series of questions to make you more aware of what you are feeling in the moment. This will enable you to gently let go of the experience.
Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling in this moment fully. Then ask these questions:
Could you [let this go]?
6. The Work (of Byron Katie)
This is a simple and effective meditation practice, a process to remain alert and start questioning stressful thoughts. Start by noticing who or what upsets you. Then write down your thoughts, question them, and then find opposites of the thoughts.
Get rid of negative thoughts and beliefs, then program the right thoughts in your mind with hypnosis. You can do this yourself via self hypnosis (lots of free ones available on YouTube) or find a professional hypnotist to do this for you.
Gratitude is a great antidote to fear. Think about what you are grateful for today, instead of feeling fear. Count your blessings, instead of focusing on the lack.
When thinking through fears doesn’t work, try writing your fears down on paper. This can be really cathartic, and can also help you get clarity.
Talking about your fears can be a a great way to overcome them, but can be challenging to do. When you do decide to talk about your fears, choose the right person to talk to.
Sometimes we choose to hold the negative in because we are worried about what others will say or how others will react. Stop that. If you have chosen people who genuinely care, none of that will even be an issue.
Talking really helps, but make sure not to drown yourself in self-pity.
Therapy can be life-changing, and can be a great way to overcome your fear. Conversing with a professional can be really worth it.
Make sure though to find the right therapist, someone that resonates with you.
12. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
NLP is helpful in confronting fears by reframing the experience that brings in fear. There are lots of articles online about the topic, so do some research to find out more about it.
Above you read about 12 of the 25 ways that can help you overcome your fears. The others will follow in the next article, due out on Wednesday. But these will be a great place to get you going, and help you deal with your fears.
Which ones resonate the most with you? Have you tried any of them before?
Do you have any tips or suggestions on overcoming fears to share? Share your thoughts and comments in the comments section be
Here’s to you overcoming your fears!