I can be the biggest scaredy-cat there is. Try to put me on a roller coaster and you’ll see me sprint like a track athlete in the Olympics. Now that being said, I know that being fearful is something that can hinder me from living a great life. But we all are scared of something aren’t we? We each have that one fear that just makes us want to curl up in bed under the covers.
When you think of your fears, what comes to mind? Do you ever think back to when you weren’t afraid of anything? Think back to all the times when you would do something so dangerous your mother would have a panic attack right in front of you. We were so fearless as children! I remember donning a cape and jumping off my bed to fly, it wasn’t until I fell flat on my face that I realized it wasn’t such a good idea, but it only took me ten minutes before I started up again.
So why can’t we be like that now? Why can’t we just say “screw it, I’m scared as hell but I’m still going to try it!” When did we let fear control our every move? Our fear of the unknown can cripple us and make us choose the wrong decisions instead of living life to the fullest. Now, instead of letting fear debilitate you, learn how to dissipate and conquer it.
Next time you find yourself face to face with a fear, try taking some of these helpful steps:
- Write out your feelings. Ever feel better when you express yourself? The next time you find yourself freaking out or afraid, grab a journal or just a sheet of paper and write your thoughts. Express why you have this fear and where it originally came from. After you write out how you feel, put it aside and reflect on it. I’m an avid journal writer and find that any time I am anxious or fearful, writing is a great method of releasing all that negative energy and anxiety. After writing, reflect and observe it from an unbiased perspective and try to gain some insight. You may find the insight helping to ease your fear and its power over you. Repeat this process and see if you still feel the same way about your fears after you write about it.
- Sort between rational and irrational fears. There may be times where it is appropriate to be afraid then there will be times where your fears are driven by irrational emotions. Take a deep breath and realize that this intense fear is something you are creating. I’m going to be very honest, I’m terrified of death and what it entails, but I know deep down it’s an irrational fear that is beyond my control. So the times I freak out about it, I take a moment and tell myself just how irrational I’m being and after a few minutes, the fear subsides.
- Stop letting your fear take over. If you notice you are creating more intense thoughts that paralyze you, stop thinking your thoughts. It sounds so simple but the next time you find yourself running away with your thoughts and inducing panic on yourself, change the topic in your mind. Instead, think of something that brings joy and happiness. Most times fear is an illusion and you are the creator of it. I stress out and create my own anxiety and I know this, so I do everything in my power to avert my thoughts to something uplifting. Sometimes I even try to laugh at my fears and realize how silly they are.
- Live your life. The worst thing you can do to yourself is let your fears overtake your life. It’s one of my main regrets. Anything and everything can happen at any moment and we need to just accept that. It doesn’t mean you stop your life. You may find yourself regretting the times you decided to not enjoy your life and be with loved ones because of your fears. Next time you find your fears whispering in the background, tell them to “shut up” and go have fun. You have to not allow your fears to win. Always remember that everyone has fear but those who seem fearless are those who are willing to fight back and live life the way they want.
- Focus on what you can change. Most fears are irrational and at times out of your control (i.e., plane crashes or natural disasters). Instead of focusing on the things you can’t change, focus on what you can. If you find that you are not happy with a certain aspect of your life, focus your time and effort to changing it. Again, those who are successful and happy don’t let their fears take much of their time. Many times fears can come from being unhappy with a certain aspect of your life. Now that I try to live my life to the fullest, I’ve notice my anxiety and fear “attacks” are not as frequent. If you decide to change your life and make it the ideal one you desire, you may find your fears diminishing as well.