All of us struggle with fear and worry from time to time. In fact, in many cases, fear is actually a good and healthy thing. It causes us to wear seatbelts and try to eat healthy. It keeps us from doing things that will hurt us, like getting too close to a fire or prevents us from running across the road in front of oncoming traffic.
But if fear gets out of control, it can take over and prevent us from enjoying life. When we’re consumed by fear, we can’t be present for others or do the things we love. Overwhelming fear affects our health, saps our strength, makes it difficult to concentrate, and robs us of sleep.
Fear also keeps us from taking any risks. If we’re afraid, we won’t start new businesses, write books, or initiate relationships. We’ll constantly play it safe, always trying to insulate ourselves from any negative consequences. When we play it safe, we don’t grow. We stagnate. We miss out on great opportunities.
Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”And while this isn’t 100% true (there are real things to fear), his point is well made. Fear holds us back from living life to the fullest. To reach our dreams we must learn how to overcome our fears and move toward the things we desire.
What Exactly Is Fear?
Fear is a biological response to an internal or external stimulus. When you are afraid, your body goes into “fight or flight” mode. Your heart rate goes up and your adrenaline increases. Your brain starts to race and you may start to sweat. All these things together create the emotion of fear. Fear can arise from within or without. Thinking about losing your job (internal stimulus) causes fear. Coming face-to-face with a grizzly bear (external stimulus) also causes fear.
Fear can involves both physical and emotional symptoms. Each person may experience fear differently. Here are some common signs and symptoms include: Are you feeling anxious and experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, rapid heart rate, nausea, upset stomach, gut issues, reactivity, shortness of breath, chills, sweating or shaking?
When dealing with your own struggles, it’s important to understand the source of your fear. Is it arising internally or coming at you externally? Most fear is a response to an imagined reality. Put another way, the majority of fears simply aren’t connected to reality. What you feel is real but the circumstances you’re imagining are not. The fundamental truth is that most fear is a response to an imagined reality.
For example, say you have an opportunity to speak about a topic you are passionate about but your have a fear of public speaking. Fear of public speaking, or glossophobia, is remarkably common. It is estimated that approximately 77% of the population has some level of anxiety in regards to public speaking. The thought of public speaking may conjure feelings of dread and self doubt. You are worried about how people will see you, you are afraid the audience won’t see the value in what you have to say, you may be afraid of getting stage fright or people laughing at you. You are worrying in response to your imagination.
When you understand the true nature of fear, it becomes easier to overcome. You are able to closely examine your anxiety and determine if there is any substance to it. Some of your worries may have merit, but you’ll discover that most of them don’t. And even the ones that do have merit probably aren’t nearly as bad as you imagine.
There are many proven strategies for facing and overcoming your fears. Learning effective, healthy strategies for handling worry and anxiety won’t cause your fears to suddenly vanish, but you’ll be equipped to face them and deal with them.
One of the most effective ways to deal with fear is to take control of your body. When you dispel the physical effects of fear, it becomes much easier to dispel the mental effects of fear.
So, how do you change your biology?
Consider these strategies…
Working out is nature’s anti-anxiety drug. When you work out, your body releases endorphins, which make you feel good. The tightness in your chest melts away, your mind slows, and you have more clarity. If you’re feeling worried, go for a brisk walk or hit the gym.
2. Do breathing exercises.
When you’re anxious, you breathe rapidly, which raises your heart rate, increases muscle tension, causes dizziness, and more. Focus on changing your breathing patterns. Inhale slowly through your nose, hold the breath for several seconds, then slowly exhale. Repeat this pattern until you feel your anxiety beginning to dissipate.
3. Relax your muscles
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a technique for releasing muscles that have been tensed due to anxiety. Start by flexing your toes for 10 seconds and then slowly releasing them for 10 seconds. Then do the same thing with your calves, thighs, and so on up your body.
4. Eat and sleep right
Your diet and the amount of sleep you get has a huge impact on the way you feel. As much as possible, try to eat healthy foods and avoid processed ones. Stay away from mood-altering substances like alcohol and caffeine. Aim for somewhere between seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
If you struggle with significant amounts of fear on a regular basis, consider talking to a professional coach or therapist. Professionals can help you identify what you’re afraid of and then guide you forward. Using both their extensive training and experience, professional coaches and therapists can give you specific exercises that will help you overcome your fears.
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you may benefit from seeing a coach or a therapist.
Do you have a problem take up considerable time (ie. more than an hour per day)?
Is the problem embarrassing, to the point that you want to hide from others?
Over the past few months, has the problem reduced your quality of life?
Have you curtailed your work or educational ambitions because of the problem?
Are you rearranging your lifestyle to accommodate the problem?
Unfortunately, there can be a stigma surrounding therapy or coaching in that peopler worried they will be considered weak and they aren’t strong enough to deal with their problems.
Don’t buy into this idea. Many of the strongest, most successful people in the world have a coach or go to therapy. CEO’s and professional athletes and military leaders have therapists or coaches. If they can benefit, you can too. It’s okay to feel fear, but avoid letting it conquer you. It’s okay to feel worry, just don’t let it rule you. Don’t let anxiety keep you from living your life fully.
What fear is holding you back from living your life fully? If you could conquer that fear today how would your life change? How would you be living your life more fully?
I have gone from a shy, emotionally reactive person who often chose to ‘freeze’ when faced with ﬁght-ﬂight-or-freeze situations, to a more functional, responsible, and all-around better version of myself. I never knew that I had so much control over my own life, I feel totally empowered, and I go through my day feeling hopeful and in control… something I did not believe was possible before I met Simone! Authentic, warm, and truly gifted, I am so grateful to have worked with Simone. I’m not saying that her work is a miracle cure, but it is undoubtedly effective and the changes I’ve been able to make in my life with Simone’s guidance and support have been transformative. Simone is part friend, part therapist, and part personal cheerleader. Her genuine love for her work shines through, and her energy is contagious.
Simone is a Certified NLP Master Practitioner, Stress Management and Mindset Breakthrough Coach. She uses her medical and holistic health care background to teach heart centred and spiritually minded professionals women and entrepreneurs how to manage their overwhelm and stress, create confidence and motivation and master a winning mindset in hours rather than days, months or years.
Simone offers a free assessment that shines the light on how past experiences influence our current behaviour and future outlook on life. This assessment is the first step to recognizing the emotional triggers and unproductive habits that hold our ideal lives hostage. Knowledge is power, and focused action creates results. Simone’s clients quickly evolve those perceptively negative patterns into tools that will help them fashion a healthy, connected and vibrant life.
To explore how to overcome fears and create better health, more happiness, abundance and prosperity please book a free 30 minute call with Simone at https://simoneusselmantod.com/book/
To learn more about how to identify and manage your fears and emotional triggers book a free ZTPI Assessment: https://simoneusselmantod.com/book/