How to Overcome Fear

Fear is a part of life. It’s there waiting for you every time you are about to try something new or feel pressured to achieve something important.

You’ll never lose it, but with some knowledge, strategies, and perseverance you can learn to deal with it. Through disciplined techniques and drawing on the experiences of others, you can learn to control it and turn it into a positive force to drive you forward.

Fear is a natural emotion that we all experience at some time in our lives. It can be helpful in alerting us to potential danger, but when it starts to dominate our life, it becomes a problem.

Fear of failing to be able to make a living, fear of not being able to pay the bills and fear of becoming ill are the most common kinds of anxiety. Many people suffer from anxiety associated with these things, especially during times of crisis, like when they lose their job or sustain an injury.

Fear is not a problem until it begins to limit the way we live our lives. Fear can be crippling if we let it, and yet many of us learn to be afraid of things that have no real reason to provoke anxiety. This is dangerous because a fearful mind will constantly look for danger where there is none.

When fear has a grip on you, life seems less good and you may feel brave only in certain situations. The more persistent your fears, the greater the hold they have over you. Fear makes life seem duller and less fun, but I have good news, you can overcome your fears and live a better and more fulfilled life.

Fear is holding you back because you allow it to occupy your mind when you could be doing something productive. When your mind is consumed with fear, it’s not doing anything else. And that includes thinking and working creatively and playing. So it’s not just things you want to do that suffer; fear cuts into more important things as well.

Here are seven tips for overcoming fear:

  1. Acknowledge it. Fear is an integral part of being human. You must acknowledge your fear and accept it. Be direct about what you are afraid of, why you are afraid, and how long you have been feeling this way. Realize that you have overcome your fears many times before and that you can do it again!
  2. Challenge the fear. This step involves challenging the negative automatic thoughts associated with your fears and replacing them with more realistic thinking patterns. You can do this by using different strategies such as journaling, questioning and reframing. For example, if you were afraid of your boss finding out that you’re not doing a great job, your automatic thoughts would be something like: “He’s going to fire me,” or “I’m going to lose my job.” By challenging those thoughts and replacing them with realistic thinking patterns, you’ll begin to feel better. Framing the situation in a different light can also help. You could reframe this situation by saying: “If I keep on keeping on and doing a good job, I might get a promotion.” Challenging your own thinking will lead to more realistic conclusions about your fears. How you talk to yourself has a lot to do with how you experience life. What you say to yourself in your head can either make you feel strong and confident or anxious and fearful. The more anxious and fearful you feel, the more anxious and fearful you’ll be about everything else! Reframe your thinking habits. Become aware of your thoughts, write them down in a journal, and challenge them with positive, realistic thinking. Instead of telling yourself things like ‘I’m going to fail that test,’ tell yourself ‘I’m going to study hard and do my best.’
  3. Face the fear. This step involves gradually facing the fear in a safe and controlled environment. If you are afraid of public speaking, get up in front of people and speak. If you hate it, give it your best shot and commit 100% to it. After a time, you will master public speaking. Your fears could hold you back–keep you stuck in your current situation, keep you from a promotion, or whatever it is that you want in life. But you can’t let them run your life. You have to believe in yourself, and figure out a way to overcome them in order to achieve whatever it is that you want. There’s nothing as frightening as sitting in an empty room, in front of 20 people waiting for you to say something. But there’s nothing more satisfying than vanquishing the fear of public speaking, getting over the terror of thinking on your feet and being terrified no longer. The sense of freedom when you’ve beaten the thing that was scaring you is like nothing else.
  4. Build self-confidence. Low self-confidence is often a key factor in fears and anxieties. To build self-confidence, you need to start by accepting yourself for who you are. Accept that you are human and you make mistakes, but you are also capable of great things. The first task is simply to accept yourself and all of your flaws and strengths as they are. Then start moving forward by focusing on your strengths. When you need to make a change or challenge yourself a little bit more, think about how your current abilities will help you do so, or take for granted that you can learn the abilities necessary, if needed. Don’t put yourself down and focus on your weaknesses. Instead, concentrate on your strengths and practise accepting compliments graciously. The more you believe in yourself, the less fear will hold you back.
  5. Seek help if needed. If fear is significantly impacting your life, it is important to seek professional help. A therapist will be able to guide you through the process of overcoming fear. They can help you identify the root of your fear and give you the tools to overcome it.
  6. Develop a healthy lifestyle. It’s natural to feel anxious and scared when you’re in a dangerous or stressful situation, but constant fear and anxiety can affect your health and well-being. Without the right support and self-care, these emotions can escalate into serious mental health problems
  7. Visualize success. When you feel tempted to turn back, visualize how achieving your goal will make you feel. Imagine the positive feelings associated with being a winner, not the negative feelings associated with giving up and returning to your old ways. Many people are unable to achieve their goals because they never take the first step. They let fear hold them back, and in some cases, even prevent them from taking any action at all. One way to get around this is through visualization; imagining yourself achieving your goals helps you feel more confident about getting started. It also allows you to focus on the end result, rather than the fear of failure.
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