Fear is a most basic human response. We are all afraid of something and there are different levels of fear. For some, fear is only invoked when they are in life-threatening situations and for others, fear can be triggered by an insect. Whatever causes the fear, we want to find a way to move forward despite it.
1. Understand it
When combating fear, the first thing that helps is gaining an understanding. Most of us are afraid of the unknown, so if we can gain knowledge about what is triggering our fear, we remove some of it’s power.
Are you afraid because of getting hurt? Are you afraid of losing control? Is it a learnt fear from a parent? There is usually a valid reason behind every fear but it’s easy to suppress it rather than deal with it.
When you feel the fear rising inside you, try to understand why you feel that way. In a number of instances, you will be able to counteract some of the fear with logic. Take for example you see someone dressed in a scary mask and you feel afraid. Are you afraid because of a film you watched or perhaps stories you’ve been told? Most films are fictions and even the stories will be far and few between meaning that you’re unlikely to be in harms way.
Naturally, if you do feel afraid for your safety, you should try to keep away from that situation. After all, that’s why fear is there. To protect us.
2. Find your motivation
When facing a fear, it helps to have some kind of motivation. Think about the reasons that you want to overcome it rather than run from it. Look at a fear of spiders as an example. A number of people have a fear of spiders and it’s not really known why. There is a theory it’s because they look the least human like therefore we are afraid of it. Now imagine that you want to move out. There’s a good chance you will have to deal with a spider at some point. That is the motivation to overcome it, in whatever way you see fit. You want your independence rather than having to live with someone who can deal with it. That’s not to say you’ll overcome that fear instantly. It takes time but having your motivation will help you to move forward.
3. Find your inner calm
Fear triggers a physical response in our bodies and that then becomes the thing that is incredibly hard to override. The key is stopping the fear turning into panic. Finding your inner calm is the way to do this. You can start with the simple, physical side such as controlling your breathing. Practice box breathing or other types (instep video link here).
There is also finding mental inner calm. For some it may be affirmations but a number of people have found their peace with faith. There are simple prayers that you can repeat either internally or out loud to help you conquer that fear. There is strength in your words. Use that to your advantage. Do not let the fear consume your mind.
4. Seek support from others
Most of us believe that we have to go through things by ourselves and that we shouldn’t burden others with our troubles. Although it’s true that we shouldn’t rely on people, that doesn’t mean we can’t seek help from those closest to us.
If you have close friends or family that you trust, talk to them about your fears, either to just talk through it, or ask if they can assist. For example, if you’re afraid of small spaces, ask if they will go with you into a lift.
If you don’t have someone that you can trust, you could seek out the help of a therapist, either online or in person depending on the resources you have available. Be clear in your head what you want to achieve from those sessions so that you can utilise the time in the best possible way.
5. Remember, it’s a fleeting emotion
As humans, we experience about four fundamental emotions: happy, sad, angry and scared. Fear is just a fleeting emotion. It isn’t there to stick around but by fixating on it, we lose sight of the times that we are not afraid.
Fear is undoubtedly horrible to experience, but keep in mind that it will pass.
Experiencing fear is not a weakness and bravery is not being fearless. Quite the contrary. It takes an enourmous amount of bravery to be able to face your fears and go through it. Doing it once will make each experience afterward easier.