We all are born with a strange filter. It can impair confidence, self-esteem, relationships, happiness, success, and more. It creates psychological barriers due to our perception. The hidden psychological barrier I am talking about is fear. We all have our hang-ups, whether they’re ghosts, snakes, injections, tunnels, the dentist, giving a toast as the best man at your best friend’s wedding, or clowns. And let’s not forget the big one: Fear of snakes, fear of heights, fear of flying, fear of situations in which escape is difficult, fear of social situations, fear of dark, fear of intimacy, fear of failure, fear of rejection, and list goes on.
Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason. I define fear as the emotional response to danger, perceived or real. If you don’t make it your business to overcome fear, you better believe it’ll try to overcome you. When something is holding us back from feeling good, we cannot explore and profit from all of the joy that life has to offer. To short-circuit fear and turn off your flight-or-flight response, you’ll need to train your brain to send chemicals to counteract them. Otherwise, fear and its hormones will make you crazed. In contrast, with a calm biology it’s easier to find courage by practising the combined techniques below to quiet your system.
Overcoming fear is a skill that anyone can learn. The problem is that most people cling to their fears, because it’s part of who they are. If you aren’t ready to start overcoming fear, you probably won’t. And there’s nothing wrong in that. Everything happens in its own time. If you’re reading this article though, I’m pretty sure that you’re ready to take another step forward. You searched for this information, or you bumped into it, which isn’t just a coincidence. Here are some techniques to overcome fear.
Physical Fitness: of cardiovascular fitness is most important when we talk about fear. It prepares the individual against the effects of stress, including anxiety and fear. One 2009 study reported that skydivers with a higher percentage of body fat took longer to return from elevated stress-hormone levels and performed worse on tests of mental agility. Other studies have even shown that exercise can ease depression and anxiety and protect against stress.
Create a strong friends’ circle: We are social beings. We rely on emotional rapport with friends and family members. Oxytocin, the hormone that binds mothers and children and husbands and wives, has been shown to lessen the sensation of pain and fear. Studies have shown that in workplace crisis or a tough athletic competition, having friends by your side can make all the difference.
Face your fear to become stronger: One crucial tool for mastering fear is to develop a sense of confidence in your abilities. You can train yourself for this mindset by setting challenging but reachable goals that become progressively more difficult. Dread public speaking? Make a toast at a small dinner party. Afraid of heights? Try tackling the lower reaches of a climbing wall. Above all, be sure to reward yourself when you’re successful. The goal is to train the emotional centers of your brain to anticipate a positive outcome when pushing boundaries.
Think Optimistically: Navy psychologist Marc Taylor surveyed Olympic athletes about whether they practiced positive mental skills such as affirming thoughts. He found that athletes who used the skill of positive affirmations were significantly more likely to survive the intense pressure of elite competition and reach the medal stand. If one pay attention to his or her positive internal dialogue, and to stop negative thinking, it can really change their performance.
Focus on the bigger picture: Instead of panicking in the face of a crisis, try to see the situation from another perspective. Consider the larger context and the good things that might come along with the bad. When a crisis seems overwhelming, try to see the situation from another perspective. Write out best case and worst case scenarios, and how likely they are to come about.
Mindfulness: What are you lacking right now? When you center yourself in the now, you realize that everything is how it is. You naturally accept what is. Tapping into the now can be as simple as feeling your body and breath. Break bigger tasks into pieces small enough that you can do each one in an hour or less, and focus all your attention exclusively on that, the present task at hand.
Identify. Get specific about what exactly you’re afraid of. Look at the pictures you have in your head about the situation. What is happening in them? What are you really scared of? Become an observer of your inner space. A powerful emotion like anger can trump fear. Like if a person only leaves his house when he was mad at his wife. As soon as he calmed down, he had to hurry home. So? If you’re tense before the big game, try thinking about how much you hate your opponents.
Enjoy the Ride: Fear isn’t all bad. Intense fear causes our brain to release chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana and amphetamines. Time seems to slow down and pain vanishes; we can run faster and lift heavier weights. There really have been cases of panicked people lifting cars with their bare hands.
Jeff Wise Roger