How To Overcome Your Fears
Fear is one of the most powerful emotions and has a very strong effect on your mind and body. You can't be truly confident when fear is controlling how you live your life. Fear can create strong signals of response and can come from a thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future, rather than from right now. I know from personal experience, my hand and legs tremble and my stomach churns when faced with fearful situations, I have in the past, and still in some cases avoid doing things because of fear.
Fear can last for a short time and then pass, but can also last much longer and you can get stuck with that fear. In some cases they can take over your life, affecting your ability to eat, sleep, concentrate, travel, enjoy life, or even leave the house or go to work or school. This can hold you back from doing things you want or need to do, and it also affects your health.
Some people become overwhelmed by fear and want to avoid situations that might make them frightened or anxious. It can be hard to break this cycle, but there are lots of ways to do it. You can learn to feel less fearful and to cope with fear so that it doesn’t stop you from living. I'm in the process of learning these ways to help overcome my fears and hope what I share now, can help you.
Below is a great quote from Sean Patrick Flanery that really helped me begin my journey with overcoming my fears:
Understanding that some things are more important than what you're afraid of.
What makes you afraid?
Lots of things make us feel afraid. Being afraid of some things – like fires – can keep you safe. Fearing failure can make you try to do well so that you won’t fail, but it can also stop you doing well if the feeling is too strong.
What you’re afraid of and how you act when you’re afraid of something can vary per person. Just knowing what makes you afraid and why can be the first step to sorting out problems with fear.
What does fear feel like?
When you feel frightened, your mind and body work very quickly.
These are some of the things that might happen:
Your heart beats very fast – maybe it feels irregular
You breathe very fast
Your muscles feel weak
You sweat a lot
Your stomach churns or your bowels feel loose
You find it hard to concentrate on anything else
You feel dizzy
You feel frozen to the spot
You can’t eat
You have hot and cold sweats
You get a dry mouth
You get very tense muscles
(Source: Mental Health Foundation 2020)
These things occur because your body, sensing fear, is preparing you for an emergency, so it makes your blood flow to the muscles, increases blood sugar, and gives you the mental ability to focus on the thing that your body perceives as a threat.
The physical feelings of fear can be scary in themselves – especially if you are experiencing them and you don’t know why, or if they seem out of proportion to the situation. Instead of alerting you to a danger and preparing you to respond to it, your fear can kick in for any perceived threat, which could be imaginary or minor.
Why won’t my fear go away?
Fear may be a one-off feeling when you are faced with something unfamiliar.
But it can also be an everyday, long-lasting problem – even if you can’t put your finger on why. Some people feel a constant sense of anxiety all the time, without any particular trigger.
There are plenty of triggers for fear in everyday life, and you can’t always work out exactly why you are frightened or how likely you are to be harmed. Even if you can see how out of proportion a fear is, the emotional part of your brain keeps sending danger signals to your body.
How can I help myself?
Face your fear if you can: If you always avoid situations that scare you, you might stop doing things you want or need to do. You won’t be able to test out whether the situation is always as bad as you expect, so you miss the chance to work out how to manage your fears. Exposing yourself to your fears can be an effective way of overcoming any negative emotions that you're experiencing.
Know yourself: Try to learn more about your fear. You can try setting yourself small, achievable goals for facing your fears. You could carry with you a list of things that help at times when you are likely to be become frightened. Try to learn more about your fear. Keep a record of when it happens and what happens.
Exercise: Increase the amount of exercise you do. Exercise requires some concentration, and this can take your mind off your fear.
Relax: Learning relaxation techniques can help you with the mental and physical feelings of fear. It can help just to drop your shoulders and breathe deeply. Or imagine yourself in a relaxing place. You could also try learning things like yoga, meditation, or massage.
Healthy eating: Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and try to avoid too much sugar. Resulting dips in your blood sugar can give you anxious feelings. Try to avoid drinking too much tea and coffee, as caffeine can increase anxiety levels.
Avoid alcohol, or drink in moderation: It’s very common for people to drink when they feel nervous. Some people call alcohol ‘Dutch courage’, but the after-effects of alcohol can make you feel even more afraid.
Faith/spirituality: If you are religious or spiritual, this can give you a way of feeling connected to something bigger than yourself. Faith can provide a way of coping with everyday stress, and attending church and other faith groups can connect you with a valuable support network. Source: Mental Health Foundation 2020
Essential Oils: Whether we are diffusing essential oils to create an environment with an energetic or tranquil aroma or applying topically to support our emotions. Essential oils provide many benefits that can help greatly, including having the courage and confidence to face our fears.
Support groups: You can learn a lot about managing your fears from asking other people who have experienced it. Local support groups or self-help groups bring together people with similar experiences so that they can hear each other’s stories, share tips and encourage each other to try out new ways to manage themselves.
We have a great supportive group that focuses on Fitness, Confidence and Wellness. if you're not part of it yet, then please join!
When you overcome those fears that stop you from doing what you love, then your life can change dramatically.