Overcoming fear is possible! That’s the good news. The only problem is, that in most cases we’ve never learned how it is done. In this article I would like to share a few perspectives and strategies with you that can help you dealing with fear. I invite you to join me in this process and experiment for yourself. Doing it this way you will find out first hand what works for you and what doesn’t.
Panic attacks, anxiety disorder, depression — Fear shows up in various disguises, situations and durations. Not everything can be easily overcome with self-help. In case you hit a wall applying the perspectives and strategies provided in this article please reach out for help!
Follow your intuition and not necessarily the well-intended advice of others. Who ever should be helping you with this – there has to be a certain chemistry between you two! Only then is it possible to create a safe space in which fear can be overcome.
What is fear?
Fear is an emotion that we can feel and experience in our body. There’s a beautiful alternative definition of what emotions actually are: Energy in motion.
So fear is energy in motion? Wait a minute… isn’t energy in motion electric current? What has electric current to do with fear? One could say both have frequencies. Both oscillate in specific ways.
Let’s take the emotion bliss. It oscillates extremely high. The same is true for both joy and love. They make us want to jump around, sing and dance. That’s how light we feel. When we experience these emotions we are high on our own body chemistry.
Conflict, anger and fear on the other hand are oscillating very low. We feel tight and heavy. Sometimes we feel too heavy to even leave the house.
This takes us without detour to 10 effective perspectives and strategies on how to deal with fear.
1. Fear will pass
We know that fear is an emotion. Now let me ask you this:
Did you ever experience any emotion that stayed the same all along?
Every emotion has a beginning, a duration and an ending. Some emotions seem to be short-lived. Others stay around for longer. However, it seems that there is not a single emotion that constantly stays the same and never passes.
Fear will pass. This is a certainty. Let this thought sink in deeply and maybe feel the tightness in your belly already loosen up a little.
2. No sign of weakness
There’s an area in our brain that has been around for a long time already: the limbic system. This so called reptilian brain was much needed in former times. It puts our body into red alert when we’re being chased by a sabre-tooth tiger for example. A cocktail of hormones in being released that makes us run faster and get away alive.
Today we are rarely being chased by tigers. Our reptilian brain however still exists. When we are reading dramatic headlines in the news for example, the same hormone-cocktail is being released. As a result we are hyper and/or anxious without immediate danger.
Anxious episodes like that happen automatically and are no sign of weakness. More so they are a sign of being human.
3. You are not alone
If we allow our own fear to be fully present for a moment it is quite likely that our mind starts comparing ourselves with others. Others seem to have themselves and their lifes under control. Often times… no, most of the times… let’s just say almost always this is not true at all.
What looks solid and steadfast from the outside can be a mask or a role being played to hide what’s really going on. Sadly rationalizing and suppression is standard behavior in todays society. Is dealing with fear that uncool? BS!
Everybody experiences fear from time to time and you are not alone with it.
4. Admit that you are afraid!
Overcoming fear is possible only after we truly admit that we are afraid in the first place. Of course that’s not easy. But why? Are we afraid of being afraid? That’s a vicious circle.
When I suppress my fear I subconsciously feed it with energy. Emotion = energy in motion. If I’m truly interested in this energy not being in motion and therefore my fear subsiding, then my task is clear: I need to stop resisting fear altogether.
That might sound absurd but give it a try: Admit that you are afraid. What effect does in have on you? Observe carefully!
5. Talking about feelings?
Connect with someone you trust and talk about your feelings. I never said that it’s going to be easy. But if you want to overcome your fear, this is a very effective way.
Negative emotions grow best in dark corners within ourselves. We tend to abandon them. How about doing the opposite instead and speaking about them. Fear doesn’t like that at all!
Imagine that your fear is like a shadow and that your attention is your light.
6. Gratefulness as an antidote
What are you truly grateful for? Vividly imagine it and go deeply into this feeling. Fill yourself up with the feeling of gratefulness.
When you are bathing in gratefulness it is extremely difficult for fear to enter your inner system. It is as if fear would be allergic to gratefulness. If you are fully identified with gratefulness itself you can’t help it but being fearless.
Pro tip: Even try to be grateful for being afraid.
7. Measured media consumption
Media is business. Business is all about making money. The media business generates money from audience figures and fear is a surefire-way to boost them. That’s good to know!
Don’t get me wrong. Information is important but needs to be reasonably measured. Pay attention with what kind of information you fill your inner system on a daily basis. How do you feel after reading certain headlines or watching certain shows?
Develop a conscious and mindful media-consumption. Observe how that supports you in overcoming fear.
8. Consciously feeling fear
Sometimes I catch myself thinking about my emotions instead of feeling them. I’m trying to understand them and find out how they work when in reality they just want to be felt?!
If you want to overcome fear take a closer look at that. Allow unpleasant emotions to be there without labeling or suppressing them. What exactly do you feel in your body?
Notice clearly what happens. Without expectations, labels and mental commentary.
9. Overcoming fear = overcoming thoughts
At the root of most anxious emotions we find a thought. Fear arises only as we believe this thought to be true. Therefore overcoming fear means overcoming thoughts as well.
The following question offers a way out of the monkey mind:
What’s really happening in the Here and Now?
Notice your surroundings. Where are you? Touch the chair that you are sitting on or any object in your proximity. Notice that actually there is nothing missing and that you are safe. Here and Now you are safe.
10. Breathing in, breathing out
When you feel completely lost experiencing strong negative emotions returning to your breath can anchor you. Fully focus on your breath and make this the most important task in your life for a moment.
Don’t try to change your breathing patterns or to calm down. Simply observe with all the attention you can muster up. For thousands of years this strategy is being used in meditation.
As long as you breathe fear cannot overcome you.
That’s how you overcome fear.
With your presence.
In the beginning I stated that overcoming fear is possible. The problem in most cases is that we’ve never learned how it is done. I’m hoping that some of the perspectives and strategies in this article could help you living a happier and less anxious life. Here’s the summary. Fear is…
- …an emotion that passes.
- …often the side-effect of a single thought.
- …often an automated reaction of the body.
- …normal, human and no sign of weakness.
- …preferred method of the media.
- …weaker when we admit it.
- …weaker when we talk about it.
- …allergic to the light of your attention.
- …allergic to the feeling of gratefulness.
- …powerless against your presence.
All the best!
*Title Image by Alexandra Gorn via unsplash.com