9 Expert tips on how to eradicate fear
For most of us, fear – in all its forms, from slight hesitations to debilitating anxieties – is so present it feels normal. But what would our lives look like if we didn’t give into fear?
Exploring your relationship to your fears, gives you tools to kickstart the process of overcoming them and going on to live a happier, healthier life.
HOW DOES FEAR IMPACT OUR LIVES?
Fear is powerful enough to prevent us from achieving our goals and living our best lives. It fuels stagnation and keeps us from taking advantage of opportunities. Many people are living in the self-made prisons of their own fears. A life lived without fear is not only something we all deserve, it is something that is completely possible for all of us, without exception. We don’t want to simply tolerate our fears – we want to eliminate them. In the frantic pace of modern day living, where time is so precious, you don’t want to take up time being afraid of what might happen… you won’t have any space left for anything great to happen.
Fear can shatter dreams, prevent you from achieving major breakthroughs and is the root cause as to why so many of us have our talents, hopes and wishes still unexpressed. Whether it is the fear of public speaking, fear of pursuing an enormous dream, of failure or of what others may think of you, it’s not actual fear that is holding you back. It’s the made-up story that you continually tell yourself about the fear that is stealing your happiness, your peace of mind and your ability to unleash an unlimited amount of potential into the world.
NOT ALL FEAR IS BAD
It’s important to note here that not all fear is bad. Healthy fear helps us discern safe situations from dangerous ones, we need this type of fear for our survival and protection. For example, it keeps you from placing your hand too close to a flame. This fear response arises from the physical world and warns us of actual danger. There is also a type of healthy fear that is also based in reality but it is not based on physical danger. Examples would be the fear of losing the people we love most, never achieving our dreams and aspirations, or even the fear of our own death. Although not based on a physical danger, they are just as valid because they are associated with real events like death, change and pain.
THE FEAR TO ERADICATE
It is illogical fear that you want to work towards releasing from your life. You know you’re experiencing illogical fear when you are having a fear response to something hypothetical or totally non-existent. An illogical fear is almost always associated with a “What if…?” It is the type of fear that keeps you worried, frantic, and insecure. It is the things like fear of failure, abandonment, rejection, intimacy, success, not being good enough – these kinds of fears are a common current that run through most of our lives. And if we let it, this kind of fear can keep us locked up in the prison of the comfortable and predictable, which prevents us from reaching our true potential.
The thing about illogical fear is that the only thing providing them sustenance is you. So that means that you have the power to eradicate them. Once you make the decision to give your fears the boot, they no longer have a place in your mind, and, therefore, no place in your life. In the absence of the fear, your life will begin to unfold in incredible ways.
HOW DO YOU RELEASE IRRATIONAL FEAR FROM YOUR LIFE?
The process begins from the moment you decide that irrational fear is no longer an option. Once you decide fear isn’t an option, you can shift your consciousness and can take action.
Think about it this way: What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
HERE ARE NINE TIPS FOR HOW TO ERADICATE YOUR FEARS
- First, acknowledge your fear. This is a huge first step. Many of us have fears, but they are at the back of our mind, unnoticed, unacknowledged, as we try to ignore them and pretend they’re not there. But they are there. And they affect us, every day, all our lives. So acknowledge the fear.
- Write it down. What’s your fear? Write it on a piece of paper. Writing it down not only acknowledges that you have it, but it actually externalises the fear. It takes the fear from the dark lurking places in the back of your mind, where it has power over you, out into the light of day, outside of you, where you have power over the fear. Take control over it by writing it down. It is now outside you. You can now do something about it. You can rip it up, burn it, crumple it up…exert your power over your fear!
- Feel the fear. You have acknowledged your fear and started to take control of it by externalising it, but you’re still probably afraid of it. Perhaps you are even embarrassed about it. So, the next step is to recognise that you’re not alone, that we ALL have these fears. Repeat after me: there’s nothing wrong with having this fear. Now allow yourself to feel it. Experience it fully. Bask in this fear. It isn’t as bad as you think. It’s a part of you, but it doesn’t control you.
- What’s the worst thing that can happen? Often it’s not as bad as we think. Do you fear failing in a new career? What would happen if you did? You’d get another job. You’d move. You’d live. Do you fear being rejected by someone of the opposite sex? What would happen if you were? You’d lick your wounds, you’d find someone else who is more suited for you, you’d live.
- Feel the fear and do it anyway. To beat the fear, you have to just do it. The only way you will ever be able to overcome fear is to face it and embrace it. You need to form a realistic outlook on fear and gradually expose yourself to the things you fear. Sorry, no easy street there. Try and focus on how you will feel afterwards – how great, how exhilarated you will feel, how proud. So many more opportunities will come your way if you go ahead and take action rather than stay stagnant because of fear. Amazing things begin to take place for those who feel the fear and still take massive action.
- Preparation is essential. When you’re going to take on a fear, prepare yourself. Have a plan, train yourself. If you fear failure for something (a presentation, a meeting, a competition, a music recital).… practice, practice, practice, then come up with a plan to succeed, then get all the skills and information you need to implement the plan, then practice some more. Then go out and implement the plan!
- Be in the moment. Fear of failure, and other illogical fears, are fears of the future. We get caught up in worrying about what might happen. Instead, banish all thoughts of the future. Banish thoughts of past mistakes and failures. Focus on right now. Do something right now to beat your fears, to pursue your dreams, and forget about what might happen. Just do it, now, in the moment. When you find yourself thinking about the past or future, bring yourself back in the moment and focus on what you’re doing right at this moment.
- Small steps. Conquering fears and pursuing a life goal can be overwhelming and intimidating. So start small. Just take one little baby step. Something you know you can do. Something you’re sure to succeed at. Then feel good about that and take another small baby step. Keep doing this, and soon you’ll have conquered a mountain.
- Celebrate every success! Every single thing you do right, celebrate! Even the smallest little thing. And use this feeling of success, of victory, to propel yourself forward and take the next step.
Fear can have more of a control over us than we even realise. I’m learning that fear is a choice. It can be a daily battle – but it’s one I am prepared for and ready to fight because I want to unlock my full potential and be the best version of myself that I can be.
Louise Murray is a Health and Mindfulness Coach with the qualification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She looks at nourishing people ON and OFF the plate by coaching them around 12 different aspects of one’s life. You can follow her on Instagram at @live_well_with_lou