Many fears are completely reasonable and justified. For example, if you are afraid of heights and don’t want to go to the top of a skyscraper – that’s okay; it’s reasonable to worry that you might fall off. It’s understandable to be afraid of flying, okay, it’s not very common, but planes do have accidents.
The real issue is when these fears become debilitating, and they stop you from living your life.
It’s so easy for people to tell you not to worry about things you have no control over and not to spend your time thinking about all of the bad things that might happen to you. But in reality, you don’t need to conquer every fear that you experience. A fear of earthquakes won’t be an issue if you live somewhere where earthquakes are unlikely.
However, if you live somewhere where they are common, while your fear is justified, if it means that you won’t go out of the house then it is a problem, and you need to do something about it.
What Are Your Fears Keeping You From?
Start by thinking about your fears and what they are stopping you from doing, Are they causing you to lead a less fulfilling life than you should be?
The next thing is to face these fears, which can and should be done very slowly, in small steps. For example, if you are scared of the dentist, then opting for Sedation Dentistry and reducing stress and anxiety at your local dental office is the first place to start rather than avoiding it altogether.
Face Your Fears In Your Head
If you try to imagine difficult situations before they occur, this will help you to deal with them when they actually happen.
Start by making a list of the worst things that could happen, and you’ll probably realize that the situation isn’t really that bad. Once you face your fear, it is far easier to move on, so if you can do it in your head first by working out the worst thing that could possibly happen, then you will realize that you will actually be able to deal with it.
If you have looked at the possibilities beforehand, you’ll probably never be faced with the situation at all because you’ve already been through it and will have unknowingly made sure that the worst doesn’t happen.
Evaluate The Level Of Risk
Fear often comes from simply not knowing very much about the thing you’re afraid of. Look into the statistics of whatever it is you are afraid of, and you will learn a lot. However, while this works for fears of disasters and plane crashes, it doesn’t quite translate to being afraid of something like public speaking.
If your fear is public speaking, then there won’t necessarily be statistics to help you learn about this. However, what the internet does give you is a wealth of information on others who have succeeded in overcoming a fear of public speaking or a number of tips and strategies from experts on how to overcome fears or simply tips on public speaking which can help you to feel more confident about it.
Remember that just because something feels scary, doesn’t mean that it is actually risky. Learn about the facts and the risks of the thing you are afraid of, look at what it is you will actually face by doing the things that scare you.
Create an Action Plan
As mentioned, you need to take one small step at a time. Trying to do something all in one before you are ready or taking too much on can backfire and put you further back. However, it’s also important to keep moving forward and having a moderate amount of anxiety is a good thing, so don’t wait until it disappears until you move forward, as it won’t happen. It is the anxiety that will actually push you forward in the end. Remember, nothing worth having is easy.
Try practicing what it is that scares you, and if you can’t do that, then try imagining yourself doing whatever it is that scares you. Think about it in detail, imagine, and feel how it would feel. It’s also a good idea to watch videos of other people doing it and again educating yourself on it.
What Is The Alternative?
Picture the result of giving in to your fears, what is the cost of being ruled by your fear? Then think about the two options you have. If you turn a holiday down because of the fear of flying or you turn down the opportunity to speak of an event because you’re terrified, then what will be the effect on your life? Is it better to face your fear?
Don’t Be a Victim of Fear Itself
Anxious people fear the feeling of fear, and that’s the scariest part – the way you feel when something makes you really worried. This feeling leads you to avoid the situation, which then leads to more avoidance, which leads to a progressively smaller, more limited life.
Avoidance is not a good strategy, and if you do this, you miss the chance to “habituate” your brain’s fear center to what it is you’re afraid of. If you chicken out, you will teach your brain that fear and avoidance is the right reaction to this “threat,” and it will be even worse the next time.
For example, if you avoid having difficult conversations, then they will become even scarier, your confidence will be even less, and they will become even more difficult. If you face your fear and have difficult conversations, they will become easier, and your fear will reduce substantially.
Face your fears whenever it’s possible. Notice when you feel the urge to avoid, and don’t give in to it. In many situations, it is worse for you and your life to avoid the situation you are afraid of instead of facing it. Taking small, positive, steady steps to get rid of your fear will do wonders for your brain and for your life.