Five Action Steps to Overcome Fear
Irene’s Note: I like the article below. However, one thing the author failed to mention is if you fear because you are in imminent danger, call for help or get out of there as fast as your feet can take you. Get to safety and then deal with the feelings of fear. I know this is ultra basic, but it needs to be said. Irene
By Mark Piecha -
All of us have, at one time or another, faced fear in our lives. It may have been the fear of physical harm, the fear of losing a loved one, the fear of a relationship ending, or any one of a countless list of fears. In our minds, these fears are very real. And, let me begin by saying that I am not here to discount anyone’s fears-they are yours.
What I am here to do is to share some information about fear and how to overcome it. Why? Because so many of us are paralyzed or immobilized by fear in situations when we shouldn’t be. And on this, I think we can agree.
We’ve all had the experience of wanting to do a certain thing, but feeling afraid (usually there’s a lot of indecision here) when we think about doing it. The fear strikes us in the gut and keeps us from moving ahead with our dreams and goals.
Here then, are the recommended steps for dealing with fear:
1. Accept the fear. Learn to accept the fear that is within you. It is there; and there may be nothing you can do about it. I’ve heard that courage is acting in spite of fear. So maybe you just need to “buckle down” and do what is necessary in spite of the fear that you feel. You’ll find that most times, the fear diminishes once you begin the task. And, as you progress through the task, the perceived fear becomes smaller and smaller-until you wonder what it was that you were actually afraid of before.
2. Understand the fear. What is it that you are really afraid of? Is it life-threatening? In most instances, it is not. We just place so much emphasis on this “possible scary outcome” that we allow it to grow within us until it consumes nearly all of our waking thoughts. Something along the lines of: “Well, I know I should do that but I don’t think I will because I might fail and then people will laugh at me and I might lose credibility at work and possibly lose my job and then I won’t have enough money for my house and then I’ll lose that too and then…”. Do you see where that kind of thinking can lead? Instead, break that fear down and truly look at it. If you fail, you will still gain wisdom.
3. Realize the duality of fear. Everything has its polar opposite. Black and white, up and down, here and there, and so on. That being true, realize that fear is just desire turned upside down. There’s something that you desire that is hidden in that fear; see if you can determine what it is. Is it respect? It is monetary gain? Is it providing for you and your family? When you know what the desire is, you can then focus on the desire INSTEAD OF the fear and use that as your focus.
4. Break that fear down into its most basic aspect. This is an innovative technique. What you do is state your fear. What are you afraid of? After that (and this works even better if you can write it all down), ask “and then what?”. Write that down. After that, ask the question “and then what?” again. Keep doing this until you have exhausted all of the miserable outcomes. Now, look at that list and ask yourself if you really think any of that is going to happen. Again, the worst (if you want to call it that) outcomes is that you fail at doing something-and you still get wisdom if you fail.
5. Break the cycle of fear. With this action step, you are getting into the cycle of fear. That cycle begins with a little feeling inside of you that keeps intensifying to the point of possible immobilization. When you feel it coming on, or at any point in the cycle, use affirmations to break the cycle. Tony Robbins (and others) have recommended one: “to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic!!”. Repeating this phrase (or another one), over and over, with enthusiasm, can definitely break the cycle and give you the impetus to move forward with action.
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