5 tips to help you face your fears.
Everybody has fears, some a lot more than others. Fears keep us trapped in our comfort zones and scare us from doing the things we know will have a good outcome.
But fear shouldn’t stop us from achieving what we want in life. So how do we face our fears and overcome them?
There are many ways to face your fears and live a more fulfilled life. Overcoming your fear can be a hard thing because like most people, you want to feel safe and comfortable.
Yet staying in our comfort zone doesn't release the fear. In fact, the old fears just keep popping up such as having a lack of money, never finding a perfect partner, getting sick, getting hurt, stress, anxiety, etc.
You feel stuck and overwhelmed because it seems like a never-ending cycle.
In this blog post, I will go over 5 ways to face your fears so you can finally break the cycle and overcome them.
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How to face your fears in 5 ways.
1. Acknowledge your fear.
One way to overcome fear is to acknowledge it. It's hard to acknowledge your fear because it's super uncomfortable and can leave you feeling vulnerable.
But once you are able to acknowledge your fear, you allow it to run its course and you'll have a better chance of overcoming it, moving beyond it, and not allowing it to control you.
2. Identify your limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs are what you tell yourself when you're scared and can affect how you think, feel, and behave. Here are some examples:
- I am not good enough for anyone.
- I am not pretty enough.
- I am not smart enough.
It might not be easy to identify your limiting beliefs at first because some may have been ingrained so deep in your psyche that you don't realize they're there.
Just remember to be honest with yourself but give yourself plenty of compassion, time, and patience.
Once you identify your limiting beliefs you can let them go and create new, empowering beliefs.
3. Create new, empowering beliefs.
Empowering beliefs help you face your fears and overcome them. They make you feel good about yourself, even in the face of fear.
Think of an empowering belief as a positive mantra that you can use to overcome the negative beliefs that may be holding you back.
To create an empowering belief, make sure it's in the present tense and in an active voice. Here's are some examples:
- I am worthy.
- I am loved.
- I am more than enough.
- I am intelligent.
Building on those examples, here are some types of empowering beliefs that can help you face these specific fears:
- I'm smart enough to pass the test.
- I don’t need to be perfect to be loved.
- I only need to trust myself and my abilities.
- I don't need other people's approval to believe in myself.
Having beliefs about yourself that are empowering can help you face your fears and overcome them.
Forgiveness isn't easy and you shouldn't do it until you're ready to.
With that said, forgiveness is not about absolving a wrong that someone else did to you. It's about letting go of anger and resentment and not allowing it to control your life any longer.
One way to forgive is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique that allows you to become aware of what you are thinking and feeling in the present moment.
You stay with whatever comes up and allow yourself to feel the feels without attaching emotions to them, such as fear. If this is difficult, you can ask for help from a professional such as a therapist.
It takes time to forgive, but it allows you to face your fears so they are no longer holding you back.
4. Practice mindfulness meditation.
Meditation is a wonderful way to tap into your inner wisdom and keep yourself grounded & centered.
It can be done almost anytime, anywhere, and any place. But it takes practice to master meditation.
The best way is to start is to find a place that is quiet, where you can sit down comfortably. You may close your eyes or keep them open and simply breathe.
You don't have to meditate for hours, especially when you're a beginner. If you are only able to do it for a few minutes, that's okay. The most important thing is to do it consistently.
According to a study, mindfulness meditation can help to extinguish fearful associations through exposure therapy.
"This exposure provides an opportunity to learn that these stimuli are not threatening and thereby facilitate adaptive regulation of emotional responses.
To be successful, first a new memory must be created between the stimulus and a feeling of safety, then the 'safety' memory, rather than the original fearful memory, must be recalled when the stimulus is presented again in a new environment."
In other words, fear can be eliminated through mindfulness meditation through repeated exposure to the fear and replacement with something that makes you feel safe.
Like forgiveness, you might need help with mindful meditation so seek a professional or someone you trust to help you overcome your fear.
5. Start journaling to overcome fear.
Research shows that journaling can help relieve stress and anxiety. The act of writing itself — even just putting words on paper — has a calming effect on the body.
According to one study, expressive writing, which is a specific style of journaling, allows people to freely express their thoughts and feelings around a traumatic experience without concern for grammar or spelling.
"The immediate impact of the expressive writing is usually a short-term increase in distress, negative mood, and physical symptoms, and a decrease in positive mood compared with controls.
Expressive writing participants also rate their writing as significantly more personal, meaningful, and emotional.
However, at longer-term follow-up, many studies have continued to find evidence of health benefits in terms of objectively assessed outcomes, self-reported physical health outcomes, and self-reported emotional health outcomes."
The results of the study showed that expressive writing as a mode of journaling reduced stress, increased positive emotions, and improved health.
Our bodies when we face our fears.
So what is fear? Fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat.
Three unique features of fear are:
- The anticipation or experiencing of harm.
- The particular behavioral responses exhibited (e.g. trembling, accelerated heartbeat).
- the specific physiological changes that occur (increased secretion of adrenalin).
These days, the threat to our safety is largely due to a perceived threat, uncertainty, or doubt. When we are afraid, our bodies are sent into fight or flight mode.
The amygdala, which is responsible for processing fear (and emotions) in our brain, is triggered, sending messages to the body to increase heart rate and breathing.
Adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol are released, making the body go into survival mode. What happens is our heart works harder than normal, and other systems in our bodies that are not necessary for survival are shunted.
If this occurs frequently, it could interfere with your normal, daily activities. This can lead to more fear, and fear-related disorders such as stress, anxiety, panic, and phobias.
Our bodies in rest mode.
In the absence of stressors, the body will enter a parasympathetic state.
The parasympathetic nervous system is associated with the "rest and digest" response, which increases blood flow to the stomach and intestines.
During rest, digestion is enhanced and the heart rate slows down. The pupils also dilate to allow more light into the eyes.
Stressful situations can inhibit parasympathetic activity since it is a time when our bodies prepare for "fight or flight."*
The sympathetic nervous system is associated with stimulating action in response to stress.*
When there is no stress present, the brain signals for parasympathetic activity.*
Parasympathetic activity promotes:
- slowing down heart rate
- increasing blood flow to the intestines
- promoting salivation
It is often referred to as "the rest and digest" response, which allows us to recover the energy spent during stressful situations.
When we allow our bodies to rest, we allow ourselves to come back to equilibrium and even heal.
This means getting quality sleep each night and allowing ourselves to rest when we feel tired or need a mental break.
When our bodies get adequate rest, we feel refreshed, joyful, and better able to face whatever comes our way.
One of the most difficult things in life is to face your fears and overcome them. One way to face your fears is by acknowledging them with honesty. Once you name your fear, you can take the necessary steps to overcome it.
Facing your fears isn't easy and takes effort & dedication, but over time it can help you strengthen your courage and confidence to overcome any obstacles you may face in the future.
I hope you found these tips to face your fears and overcome them helpful. Do you have any tips to overcome fear? Please let me know in the comments.