Getting through fear is a skill that anyone can learn. The problem is that most people cling to their fears, because it seams easier, safer, and comforting. If you aren’t ready to face your fears, you probably won’t transcend them. And there’s nothing wrong in that. Everything happens in its own time.
If you’re reading this article though, I’m pretty sure that you’re ready. Let’s have a look at some of my favorite ways of dealing with fear.
How to Start Overcoming Fear, Right Now
- Awareness. Before you can begin overcoming fear, you have to be aware that your fears are causing havoc in your life. It’s easy to get so attached to your thoughts and feelings that you think they are all that exist, which couldn’t be further from the truth. You are not your fears. You are the awareness that experiences it.
- Identify. Get specific about what exactly you’re afraid of. Look at the pictures you have in your head about the situation. What is happening in them? What are you really scared of? Become an observer of your inner space.
- Curiosity. While curiosity may have killed the cat, it certainly won’t do you any harm when investigating your fears. Get curious about what thoughts generate your fear, where do you feel the fear, and how do you react to it? Again, be an observer of what is going on.
- The Now. What are you lacking right now? When you center yourself in the now, you realize that everything is how it is. You naturally accept what is. Tapping into the now can be as simple as feeling your body and breath. My favorite book on the subject is Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
- EFT.EFT is short for Emotional Freedom Techniques. You use your fingertips to tap meridian points on your body while thinking of a fear you have and it alleviates and sometimes gets rid of the fear altogether. Simple, yet extremely powerful.
- Sedona Method.Another simple system to conquer fear is the Sedona method. It consists of asking a few simple questions while focusing on your fear. It’s so simple that I dismissed it several times before taking it seriously. Bad move!
- The Work. The Work is very similar to the Sedona method in that it asks questions. The Work is one of my favorite ways of dealing with fears, anxieties, and worries. There are many methods available, so pick the one that you resonate with.
- Hypnosis. With hypnosis, you can program the right thoughts into your mind and eliminate negative thoughts and beliefs. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it might for you. My brother uses it to consistently evoke positive change in his life. But remember, this isn’t necessarily about getting rid of your fears, but learning to relate to them in a different way.
- Gratitude. Whenever you feel fear, switch it over to what you are grateful for instead. If you’re afraid of public speaking, be grateful for the opportunity to communicate with so many people, and that they are there to genuinely listen to what you have to say.
- Journaling. Getting your fears down on paper is important, because trying to think them through doesn’t work. You get caught in endless loops of negativity that only lead you further down the rabbit hole, and make your life miserable.
- Talk. No-brainer advice, but how often do we hold the negative in because we are afraid of how others might react, or because of some other reason? Talking helps, but don’t throw a pity party for yourself.
- Therapy. If you can find a good therapist, therapy can be highly beneficial, even life-changing. Finding the right therapist for you can be hard. Choose someone who resonates with you.
- NLP. NLP is short for Neuro-Linguistic Programming. I’ve been to a seminar with the co-founder, Richard Bandler. You learn how your mind works. NLP has helped thousands in eliminating phobias, fears, and other emotional problems, so it has its place, but only if it feels magnetic to you.
- Life Coach. Do you have a fear of success, or a fear of failure? A good life coach can help you examine what you truly want from life, and where your fears come from. I’ve spoken to a few in my life and while it can be scary, it’s very helpful in getting clear about what you want and what is stopping you.
- Read. Reading a good book on your specific fear can open new doors on how you can get rid of it. I also like to read a lot of motivational and inspirational work on and around the topic I’m dealing with.
- Take Action. I know that fears are just fears. They are created by my imagination to make reality seem scarier than it is. When you take action and face your fears, they become weaker, because you realize that reality isn’t nearly as bad as your imagination.
- Watch. Watching a movie or a documentary can be as enlightening as reading a book. Sometimes it’s nice to distract yourself from your fear, but if you really want to, you can find dozens of movies on the fear you’re dealing with.
- Diet. Did you know that the food you eat can have a dramatic impact on how you feel? All the sugars, additives, sweeteners, and other chemicals in our foods have a surprisingly powerful effect in getting our body out of balance. Stick to a clean diet that suits you. Meaning, more fruits and vegetables. Just eat a bit more each day. See what happens.
- Positivity. Whenever fear strikes, flip it over. Instead of thinking of something bad that can happen, think of something positive. What’s a positive outcome to your fear? If you’re thinking about public speaking, imagine yourself being wildly successful instead of failing horribly. This is very similar to #9, but with a small twist.
- Perspective. Learning to deal with fear is all about putting your negative thoughts in perspective. We tend to focus too much on the negative, so by looking at all the options, you often realize that you’re making a big deal of nothing. There are so many things that can happen that it’s impossible for you to predict. We aren’t psychics.
- Surrender. Surrendering to what is powerful, because as long as we try to change what is, we are in war with reality. To learn more about how to surrender to what is, I recommend you read Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life. It’s the book on The Work I mentioned earlier. I personally love it.
- Your Story. We all tell ourselves a story about our fear. If I’m afraid that no one will like my writing, I tell myself a story (in my head) about how I’ll fail horribly, people will laugh at me, or even worse, no one will read what I have to say. What’s your story?
- Release Control. We want to learn how to control fear. We want predictability, even though it’s impossible to get. Where we don’t have control, we experience fear. But is it possible to ever have control? Even if you can swim, you can drown. A professional guitar player can still make mistakes and butcher a gig. Give up the illusion of control, and you’re free.
- Help. Be kind to others. If you’re shy, focus on helping people instead of being self-conscious about how you look or sound when you talk. Flip it on other people and make yourself feel good. This is very similar to #16.
- Meaning. I believe we all go through things for a reason. That includes the fears we have. It also includes overcoming fear and learning the lessons that come out of it. This may not be the case 100% of the time, but when I look back at the challenges and fears in my life, I see that more often than not, they delivered exactly the message I needed at that time.
- Model. I’m not talking about modeling clothes here. I’m talking about finding someone who had the fear you have, but managed to transcend it. Get in touch with them, ask them how they did it, and see if it could work for you.
- Pray. I’m not religious, but if you are, you may want to consider praying for guidance on how to start overcoming your specific fear. Prayer is very similar to meditation. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as it works for you.
- WTWTCH. What is the worst thing that can happen? If you’re afraid of public speaking, imagine yourself on a stage with everyone laughing at you. How do you feel afterward? You’re still alive, aren’t you? Life goes on.
- Yoga. Energy can get trapped in your body. When you do Yoga and breathe, that energy can be released. Sometimes you release parts of your fears, or you might even find that you’ve dropped a few fears without even noticing after a few months of Yoga.
- Ask. Your feelings are there to tell you something, ask what the purpose of them is. Ask your heart, God, the universe, or whatever you feel comfortable with. What are your fears trying to tell you?
- Understand Failure. When you realize that failure is not the end of the world, you become free. Failure is just a stepping stone to success. And most of our fears are fear of shame, or somehow not living up to the standards society has put up for us.
- Explore Your Roots. What is the root of your fear? This may require some meditation. Look inside and ask yourself when the fear started. If you’re afraid of public failure for example, when did it happen? Where you shamed in public when you were younger?
- Breathe. Your breath can set you free. It can anchor you in the now and help you vanquish and overcome your most pervasive fears. I saved it for last, because it’s one of the simplest and most powerful ways of overcoming fear.
The Wrap Up
While I think overcoming fear is a learned skill, I also believe that it takes time. It isn’t necessarily about getting rid of your fears, because resisting your fears only makes them bigger.
Whatever fears you’re facing, remember that the only thing that matters is that you listen to yourself, and be patient. You will transcend your fear(s) when the time is right. By reading this article, you’ve already taken the first step.