Tips on Overcoming Anxieties, Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone and Not Letting Fear Hold You Back
Everyone is afraid of something. Whether it’s a fear of heights or flying on an airplane, or being scared of dogs/cats/spiders, it’s that one thing that sends your heart and mind racing at a mile a minute. You avoid it all costs, even if it means missing out on some of your life’s most important moments. So fear certainly feels real. It’s genuine and authentic – in fact, it’s that unmistakable sensation that sends your nerves through the roof.
Fear, however, is also debilitating. It is limiting. It causes stagnation and potentially could shut down your life and limit your possibility for new opportunities. But you don’t have to operate and live in fear. Instead, you can make a conscious choice to minimize alarm and anxiety and live a bold, out-of-the-box lifestyle.
Here are five ways to kick fear to the curb:
Take it Slow
If you have a fear of water, I wouldn’t suggest diving head-first into a swimming pool to overcome your fear. You will more than likely shock yourself, and cause greater harm to yourself than good. So start at the shallow edge of the pool. Put your feet and bottom torso in the water first. Sit in a hot tub where the water can be up to your neck, but doesn’t force you underwater. Over time, you will trust the process and go deeper and deeper each time you set feet in the water. Before you know it, you’ll be swimming like an Olympic great!
Pluck it Up by the Root
If you have a fear of dogs, find out where the fear stems from. Were you attacked by a dog as a child? Did you witness someone else get bitten by a dog? Is the fear only with specific types of dogs? Get to the root. Until you get to the root, you can’t solve the problem. You may have to spend time in a pet store, petting different types of dogs to determine if the fear you hold is valid or not.
Have Someone Hold Your Hand
While someone may not literally need to hold your hand (it’s okay if they do), having an “accountability partner” is monumental to conquering fear. Partner with someone you can trust to walk with you through every step of the way. They have to be patient and loving, not critical and insensitive. Sometimes just having someone weather the storms of life with us minimizes the effects of fear.
Practice Makes Perfect
Many people fear things that they have never experienced personally. For instance, from the ground, an airplane looks like it flies millions of miles high in the sky. Or when you’re standing in line at an amusement park, the roller coaster seems to climb that first hill for half an hour. But once you experience these things a few times, they become easier to do over time. It may not necessarily come easier the second time or the third time — but eventually, you’ll board planes and ride roller coasters without a second thought.
Just Do It
Let’s face it. Sometimes, there is no easy way around it or time to ease your way into a thing. Many times, you’ll just have to face it head on—whatever it is for you. If you fear public speaking, that fear won’t go away without speaking more frequently in public. If you fear heights, that fear won’t diminish much by staying on the ground. Give yourself a motivational pep talk. Square your shoulders back. Walk tall. And just do it.
Many people ask, “But what if I fail?” I pose the question to you, “But what if you fly?”
Fear at Work Can Limit Your (Otherwise) Limitless Potential
While many fear failure or looking like a fool, many people fear success just as much, if not more. Why? Because with higher levels of success come higher levels of responsibility. It means juggling more projects, appointments and calendar entries. Especially for introverts, some people simply don’t want to draw attention to themselves. They don’t want to be in the spotlight or become the center of attention at any one time. They’d much rather play it small, or stay behind the scenes.
Take public speaking for example. An author writes a book because ideally, he or she has something of great importance to share. But what an author often doesn’t realize is that once the book is released, people will inquire about why the author wrote the book. Some people want to meet the author personally. They want an autograph and even a chance to interview the author. Interviews lead to more interviews and oftentimes, interviews can lead to ever larger speaking engagements. While this seems like total success to someone on the outside looking in, for the author who is absolutely terrified of speaking publically, this is a nightmare on earth.
But think of this: I’d rather live what seems to be a nightmare of having to speak to large audiences, with sweaty palms and jittery nerves, than live with the nightmare of doubt and regret because I chose not to jump out of my comfort zone. Most times, on the other side of fear, is a life you’ve always dreamed of—a life of abundance, overflow and prosperity.6