The Power of Overcoming Fear

The Power of Overcoming Fear: What is fear and why do we need it? When does it help us to survive? When does it turn on us and make us less effective?

The Power of Overcoming Fear

The Power of Overcoming Fear

You can have power over fear.  You can enjoy life more, and you can help other people enjoy life more.  Fear is a crippling emotion.  For most people, the way to take the power out of fear is (a) to understand fear and (b) to take a few simple steps to take the sting out of fear.

We scare ourselves with own thinking.

Imagination plays a big role in creating fear.  You will often read that F.E.A.R is false evidence appearing real.  Fear is also using correct evidence to scare ourselves with an imaginary conclusion.

An example of reaching an imaginary conclusion about real evidence is the common experience of feeling fear when we see a spider.  The real evidence is that we do see a spider.  The imaginary conclusion is that now we are in danger.  Seeing the spider is not dangerous.  The danger exists when we can’t protect ourselves from unseen spiders.  A fly swatter is usually all that we need to end a threat from a spider, but the crippling fear of seeing the spider can keep some of us from doing the obvious thing to remove the spider.

Fear is mood related.

If we are in a great mood, we feel less fear. Thinking about the same thing when we are in a great mood feels very different from thinking about things when we are in a bad mood.

To see the connection between moods and fear, think about the impact of caffeine and alcohol on our fears.  For most of us, caffeine can elevate our moods so that we feel happy.  Things may seem less scary.  Alcohol calms our moods and lowers our fears.  Part of the reason that coffee and alcohol are so popular in social gathering is that they lower the tensions of social interaction.  However, as the effects wear off, both chemicals they can make us anxious.  Our anxiety-powered imagination can inflate our fears.

Fear gets more power when we give it our attention.

When we think of something scary and roll it around in our minds for solutions, we just create more pain.  We can suffer from that fear until something distracts our thinking.

There are two types of fear.

People fear failing to get things like a promotion, recognition, a pay raise, acceptance, praise, or approval.

People fear losing things like property, jobs, relationships, or loved ones.

The solutions to removing fear fall into four categories.

First Category: Physical activities and diet can improve our moods and calm our fears.

  1. Exercise: Go for a walk.  Take a run.  Do some calisthenics.  Lift some weights.
  2. Play: Go to the golf course or tennis court.  Play a board game.
  3. Take deep breaths.
  4. Eliminate caffeine, especially when we are under stress.
  5. Take a nap.
  6. Call a friend.  Meet with some friends.
  7. Meditate.  There are several forms of meditation.  Repeating a mantra.  Reciting prayers.  Mindfulness or breathing meditation.
  8. Write the feelings down on a piece of paper.  Just writing down the feelings and the cause of the feelings can cut the sting of fear.

Second Category: Stop procrastinating.  If you must make a speech and you are afraid, prepare for the speech.  Write it out completely.  Give the speech aloud in front of a mirror.  Practice the speech with your friends.  When you get in front of your audience, thank them for the opportunity to speak.  Tell them that you will do your best to give them correct, useful information.

Whatever the fear, procrastinating will not help the fear pass, but acting can help.

Third Category:  Feel the fear and let it pass.  Trying to think through a fear just gives it power.  Focusing on fear can turn fear into panic.  Just sit still and realize that you are feeling afraid.  Think about where the feelings are in your body and let them slide away.  Most feelings of anxiety will just pass.

Fourth Category:  Get professional care.  If you find that you suffer chronic fear, discuss the matter with your doctor or a mental health professional.

Enjoy life.

Find freedom from fear.  It is your life.  There is no reason to let fear steal joy from your life.

Image: Vic/Flickr

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