Fear is an ever-present emotion in our lives. Whether it's the fear of public speaking, heights, spiders, or perceived bad guys around every corner. It has a way of creeping into our thoughts and holding us back from our true potential.
I’ve heard it said that fear is “false evidence appearing real.” This rings true in many instances, but to those of us who are experiencing fear, it sure feels real in the moment.
But the good news is that fear is conquerable, and you can take charge of your life by learning to conquer it. Let’s dig into some insights on how to conquer your fears and step into a brighter, more fearless future.
Understanding Fear: It's All in Your Mind
First and foremost, it's essential to understand that fear primarily resides in your mind. Yes. Our mind is powerful. Our brains are hardwired to detect and react to threats, which served our ancestors well when they had to escape from real dangers like predators. However, our modern lives are significantly less fraught with life-threatening situations, but our brains haven't quite caught up with that fact.
That’s why the Bible states that we need to ‘take our thoughts captive.’ (2nd Corinthians 10:5). One of my clients was working through continual thoughts about a previous employer. During one of our sessions, I asked if it was possible that he was giving space to these thoughts rent free. Allowing valuable areas in his mind to be taken up, thereby squashing space for what he really needed it for.
The first step in conquering fear is acknowledging that it's a product of your mind. When you face a fear, your brain sends a signal to your body to prepare for action, triggering the classic "fight or flight" response. By recognizing that fear is a natural response to perceived threats, you can begin to take control over it.
With all that being said, yes, a zombie chasing you in an apocalyptic world will bring on some true and valid fear. A friend once said, 99% of the things we fear and worry about don’t happen, the other 1%, well, his response was ‘put your head between your legs and kiss your butt goodbye’. Lol!
Start with Self-Awareness
The journey to conquering fear begins with self-awareness. Identify your fears and pinpoint the situations or triggers that make you feel anxious or afraid. Knowing what you're dealing with is the first step to overcoming it.
It's like drawing a map of your fear landscape – you can't navigate it if you don't know where you're starting. Once you begin working on that landscape, that fear does something amazing. It begins to dissipate.
I worked with a lady that was ‘afraid’ to start her own business. She had everything in place. All the logistics had been laid out. I was impressed with her protocols and actions. It had come down to her hitting the start button. She couldn’t. Even though the I’s were dotted and the t’s were crossed, she couldn’t bring herself to begin. We worked on the fear landscape and she began to see how her mind had taken control and that she had lost control. We created some customized skills and she opened her business with success!
Accept and Embrace Fear
It may sound counterintuitive, but accepting your fear is a key component of conquering it. Instead of trying to suppress or ignore your fear, acknowledge it. Embrace it as a natural part of the human experience. Understand that it's okay to be afraid at times – it's a part of your survival instinct, and it can even be a source of motivation.
It does sound a bit contrary, but embracing your fear takes away it’s power to harm you.
Take back your power.
One of the best ways to conquer fear is through knowledge.
Understanding what you fear can help demystify it. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, learn about public speaking techniques, practice, and expose yourself gradually to speaking in front of others.
The more you know and understand, the more equipped you'll be to confront your fear. Knowledge is power. Get to know your fear inside and out. Think of it like this, if you are afraid of the dark, learn about it. Why we are scared of it, what makes our imagination run wild in the shadows, what is the science behind it.
The more you understand you're free, the less mysterious and intimidating it becomes.
Knowledge is like your trusty sidekick in this quest to conquer fear. Suit up with information (not too much, you Enneagram type 5’s:) and you’ll be ready to face your fears head-on.
Conquering fear doesn't have to be a solo journey. Seek support from friends, family, a therapist, or a seasoned coach.
Sharing your fears with someone you trust can be incredibly therapeutic. They can offer you encouragement, advice, and a fresh perspective. Remember, you're not alone in this – many others have faced and overcome the same fears.
Work with someone to come up with tried-and-true skills that are in your wheelhouse. Then use them!
Facing your fear head-on can be daunting, but gradual exposure is a powerful technique for conquering it. Take your fear and put it under a spotlight.
Start with small, manageable steps. If you're afraid of heights, maybe begin by standing on a low platform and gradually work your way up to higher places. The more you expose yourself to your fear, the more desensitized you'll become.
Psalm 27:1 has always been a favorite voice for my mind. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
Hold on to those words. He will help you to face your fear with the Lord as our light!
Practice Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can help you stay calm in the face of fear. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help you manage the physical and emotional aspects of fear. By staying in the present moment and focusing on your breath, you can reduce the intensity of your fear response.
I know, firsthand that this works. We have the ability to ‘calm ourselves’, to calm the storm inside our minds, to soothe the racing heart, and to tell ourselves, "I've got this."
Breathe. Concentrate on your breath. It’s like having a secret weapon against fear, and it's always at your disposal.
Try this ::
Sit in a comfortable chair.
Take a breath in for 4 seconds (through the nose if possible).
Hold the breath for 2 seconds.
Release the breath for 6 seconds.
Pause and begin again.
I also have found that a tool called The White Room helps so many people. Let me know if you have any questions about that.
Celebrate Your Victories and Stay Persistent
As you face and conquer your fears, don't forget to celebrate your victories, no matter how small they may seem. Each time you overcome a fear, it's a significant achievement, and acknowledging it reinforces your sense of empowerment.
And last, but not least, remember that conquering fear is not a one-time event; it's a journey. It requires persistence and patience. There will be setbacks, but remember that setbacks are a natural part of the process. Keep moving forward, and you'll find yourself becoming more fearless with each step you take.