It might be virtually impossible to eliminate all fear from your life, for the rest of your life, but there are still things you can do to eliminate the power of your fears. You can take action to minimize the paralyzing effect fear has on you and lessen the anxiety you experience around those triggering things or events.
Fear comes in all shapes and sizes.
People are afraid of all sorts of rational and irrational things. These fears are as unique and specific as each personality and situation. Starting in the brain, fear sends subconscious signals to your body that help you prepare for the impending threat.
Fear is a powerful, complex emotion that can range from mildly uncomfortable to completely debilitating. Fear is typically viewed in a negative light; however, it can be a positive thing. Fear has played a significant role in the survival of humanity throughout history, without it, you wouldn’t be able to protect yourself or others from legitimate dangers. Fear is necessary to protect yourself from danger or harm. In fact, the instinctive fear that propelled the survival of our ancestors is closely linked to many of the same fears people face today – fear of heights, fear of snakes and spiders, or a fear of the dark.
It’s all in your mind.
Like I said before, fear starts in your mind. The physiological reaction that follows in your body is the same whether you face a real or perceived threat. You brain will react the same to a real danger like standing at the top of a ladder, or a perceived threat, like watching a horror film. Your heart rate increases, your blood vessels constrict, and your adrenaline spikes. On an instinctive level, your body is preparing to run or fight, and every muscle stands at attention.
The metabolic response to fear can affect your glucose levels, which can cause many long-term health concerns, such as heart or kidney disease. Therefore, it is important to avoid this heightened state of fear and anxiety for extended periods of time.
How to overcome your fears.
- Face your fear directly
Stop avoiding! Avoiding the thing you’re afraid of only encourages greater fear. Studies show that voluntarily facing your fears is the fastest way to abolish the strong, negative emotion associated with it. Keeping the fear stuffed down inside or refusing to look the scary things in the eye, will only ensure your bondage to it. The only way to overcome your fear is to face it directly.
- Openly share your fears
Opening up and sharing about the things you’re afraid can feel very vulnerable. However, the fear instantly loses its grip when you give them a voice. Like turning on the lights in that dark room, you will be able to see clearly if your mind has created monsters out of children’s playthings. Bringing things into the light reduces their power over you.
- Adopt a learning mindset
Fear of failure is one of the most debilitating fears people face. Learning to reframe your idea of failure into one of growth and learning is a way to sidestep the impact of fear. When you realize that mistakes don’t equal failure, the fear lessens. You don’t have to have it all figured out, know everything, or have all the skills necessary to complete the task. You are allowed to learn along the way. Choose learning over failure.
Use fear to grow.
Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone as often as possible is a great way to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Fear, real or perceived, can be a necessary motivator for change and survival, but we were never meant to live in a constant state of fear.
It is imperative to your health that the fear doesn’t stick around for extended periods of time. Allow your fears to push you towards growth.
Check out our podcasts to hear inspiring stories of how others have faced their fears on purpose and overcome the things that once terrified them.