We all have fears and anxieties, so it’s important to learn how to deal with them. If they are crippling you, or holding you back, then understand your fears and try our six strategies to overcome them and go forwards in life.
Fear has an important survival function. It releases certain chemicals into your body that enable you to cope with threat. In times when life was dangerous and you might have to fight off predators and enemies, or run away to safety, fear was essential to spur you into action.
These days, in ordinary life, there is very little threat and only very rarely do any of us have to escape, or stand and fight. But our bodies haven’t changed much since the Stone Ages, and nor has the subconscious belief that we could, at any moment, be at risk in some way. This can result in a general anxiety that looks for something to attach to.
Because of this fears can get out of hand. Loss of a job or partner can make you feel, deep down, that you may not survive. Added to this can be the sensation of powerlessness caused by modern media. Terrorism and natural disasters are covered extensively in the news, feeding sensationalism but also anxiety. It’s easy to buy into the idea that the world is a scary place, but you have to change your view if you’re to be positive and contented.
Fear has the nasty effect of making you feel generally insecure. Feeling secure is very important because it enables you to look at possibilities and spend your energy being active and productive. If you go to work worrying your job is under threat, you have little hope of performing at your best.
Most of the fears that preoccupy people have little to do with their real lives. You may know wealthy people who are always worried about money, or others who are fit and healthy who are obsessed with being ill. Or you may just have a persistent feeling that something is going to go wrong. Everyone has to find their way out of the maze of fear and set themselves free into a world of exciting opportunity.
Most fears are not rational at all, yet the mind tells us they are. There are all sorts of ways of talking yourself into justifying your fear. They may seem logical, but they are not based in reality.
So learn all about the thing that frightens you. For instance, if you’re afraid of flying, find out exactly how planes work and take on board the statistical likelihood of you being hurt on a flight. There is no true basis for your fear.
BANISH THE CULTURE OF FEAR
Don’t listen to news items about scary events – many people forget that there is an off switch on their television and options to delete on phones and PCs. Use the off switch for anything that makes you afraid and fosters the underlying idea you’re under threat. Using that switch will enable you to find the ‘switch’ in your mind that turns off fear.
CHOOSE YOUR COMPANIONS WITH CARE
Many people love to wallow in scary ideas, and they will enjoy taking you with them. This includes whipping up stories about death and destruction, but can also include worries about your job or relationship. Of course, these don’t have to be specific. Saying ‘Oh, no job is secure these days’ or ‘One in two marriages fail’ is the kind of negative remark you can do without hearing on a daily basis.
Become aware of the effect your friends are having on you, and if you’ve got used to accepting such negativity, think again. Those destructive comments can undermine you, even if they are not meant at all spitefully, programming you for insecurity. Choose instead to be with people who have a positive attitude.
TALK ABOUT YOUR FEARS
This does not mean sharing them with others who feel the same way, so you whip each other up into greater and greater anxiety. Instead speak to someone understanding and encouraging, who will make you see your fears are groundless and arise from subconscious programming. Such a person can also point out to you that negative thoughts create a negative pattern around you, and it’s important to visualise the best.
You can easily find that kind of advice from our team or Readers, so if anxiety is plaguing you, get in touch and be soothed and uplifted.
TRAIN YOUR MIND TO DWELL ON HAPPINESS
Some people believe that if they expect the worst they will be prepared, but that’s nonsense. You can only deal with events as they happen, so don’t meet trouble half way. You might also think that being afraid of something has a way of making it not happen and that it’s ‘tempting fate’ to be confident. However, that is rubbish, so challenge it head on.
Fear – or happiness – can be a habit, and habits can be changed, with effort. When you catch yourself spinning off into some worrying mental scenario, pull yourself up and start to imagine the reverse – something happy, rewarding, successful.
To focus your mind you may find it helps to write things down. Write ‘This is what’s going to happen’ and follow it with a list of good things. If you are afraid of failure, write a list of what you’re going to do, and succeed at.
Fears are all in your mind – train your mind to push them away.
PUSH THROUGH – AND ACT
Just because you feel afraid does not mean you have to act afraid. Don’t let fear push you into hiding or stop you going for what you want.
What’s the worst that can happen? Okay, you might meet misfortune and failure, but if you don’t have a go you have created those things. Find your courage – being brave doesn’t mean you have no fear, it means you do what is right anyway. Make ‘Fortune favours the brave’ your motto!
HOW WE CAN HELP
We’ve looked at the roots of fear and gone through the six steps of being rational, banishing the fear culture, choosing your companions, talking, training your mind and taking action. With just a little effort you can turn your concerns into confidence.
PUBLISHED: 23 August 2018