We’ve all experienced it. Feelings of butterflies in your stomach, goose bumps on your flesh and a racing heartbeat, are all physical manifestations of fear.
When we fail to overcome our fears we may also develop emotional reactions such as anxiety and a feeling of powerlessness, which can lead to depression.
When you can’t understand or move past your fear, you limit your choices, experiences and ultimately live a smaller less fulfilling life.
So let’s look how we can move past our fears and live life to the fullest.
1. Define Your Fear
Fear is a natural response meant to keep you safe from danger. It’s up to you to define that fear and decide how much danger really exists. There is no real threat to your life if you have to give a presentation to the board of directors. You can overcome that fear. If you have never been on ski’s before and you’re at the top of a black diamond run, you should listen to that fear and find the bunny hills.
2. Just Do It
Remember all those ‘firsts’ in your life that had you secretly petrified? Think of things like your first date, first day of high school or your first job interview? Remember how scared you were? You did them anyways though, right? Aren’t you glad you did? Feel the fear and do it anyways!
One of the things that I have learned from yoga, and am most thankful for, is the ability to control my reaction to a situation by focusing on my breath. When I’m becoming angry, overwhelmed or even scared, I take long, deep, and slow breaths. This settles my “Fight or flight” response and allows me to fully take in the situation and find the appropriate response. It still amazes me that something we do constantly, often without thinking about it, is so powerful.
Your fear may be an upcoming event, like a dentist appointment or a public speaking engagement. When you feel the fear and anxiety coming, acknowledge those feelings and vividly image the best outcome. See the people in the audience smiling and nodding in agreement to every word you say. Imagine the dentist saying, “Okay, we are all done,” and thinking “Wow, that was no big deal at all.”
5. Use The “Aware” Technique
This is a clinically proven way to work through your fears and anxieties.
A– Accept the anxiety. Don't try to fight it.
W– Watch the anxiety. Just like when you are meditating. Acknowledge the thought but don’t judge it or feed it.
A– "Act normal" Carry on as if nothing is happening. Panic will soon "get bored."
R– Repeat the above steps until you start to relax again.
E– Expect the best. It will pass quicker and quicker the more times you do this.
The key to a better life lies in your hands and your hands alone. Step up to the plate (or onto your mat), become the master of your fears and live a life worth living!
What frightens you? How do you overcome your fears?