Fear is that nattering voice inside your head that says, you can’t, you shouldn’t, you’re too old, what will people think, what if….  Fear keeps you from taking risks that might enrich your life or holds you back from doing some things you might want or need to do.  It may stop you from experiencing something new or accomplishing something really great.  Fear says, “Not on your life!”

fear1This isn’t to say that fear is completely bad. At its best, it’s an instinctive, natural ability to help us survive.  Without fear we might attempt to walk across freeways or swim in unsafe waters.  But given the upper hand, fear can dominate your life and make even the most harmless of activities – taking a walk or answering the phone – a daunting experience.

Ninety-nine percent of what we worry about never happens, according to Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.  “There’s a voice inside our heads that’s always heralding doom and disaster even before we get started on something,” she says.

On its own, fear won’t disappear.  Below are some strategies that may help you deal with fears that might be holding you back from something you want or need to do.

Get information.
When there is a lack of information about something, fear often clicks in.  But when you find out about what scares you, you replace fear with knowledge – and knowledge is empowering.

Learn how to do it.
If there’s something you’d like to do, but you’re afraid to try, take lessons, learn from someone else or ask for help.  We’re not born knowing how to ride horses or make pottery.

Find models.
Let someone who has conquered one of their fears be an inspiration of courage for you.  Just as fearful behavior breeds the jitters, courageous behavior invites confidence.

Fear 2Talk about your fears.
Keeping your fears bottled up inside generally magnifies them.  Taking them out into the light and sharing them with someone else, can shrink them.  Find a good listener who won’t ‘pooh-pooh’ your fears or make judgments.

Talk to yourself.
Self-talk filled with positive messages can change fear energy into positive energy.  Eliminate the cant’s, shouldn’ts and ought-to’s from your self-talk vocabulary.

Use your imagination.
Visualise yourself doing what you are afraid to do, e.g. starting a new job or writing your first book.  See yourself as competent, strong, confident and capable.

Focus on the little things.
“How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!”  Break big things into ‘bit size chunks’.  Complete the report word by word, pay the bills one by one, and see the large crowd as a group of individuals.

Expand your comfort zone.
Take a small risk each day.  Make one phone call, ask for one thing you want or go to one new place.  Little by little your confidence will expand, too.  An elastic band will never shrink back to its original size after it has been stretched.

Relax and breathe.
Sometimes the physical response to fear creates even more fear.  Physically relax your body and breathe in and out to release tension.

Ask for help.
If your fears are severe and are impacting on your life, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, in which case you should definitely seek help.  If your fears are not debilitating, but still get in the way of doing what you need or want to do, asking for help can make all the difference.

2 Responses to “Don’t Let Fear Stop You”

  1. HI Bev,
    Thank you for your inspiration. This thing “fear”
    has been stopping me for a very long time.
    Recently I have acknowledged it, and the impact on my life and thoughts.
    To then click onto your email and to read your tips on
    how to overcome it. To refresh some of what I know and alot of what I need to learn.
    Thank you…from my heart to yours.
    Maria.

  2. Thanks Maria for taking the time to comment and congratulations for acknowledging your fear. By doing this, plus sharing this fact with others, you become a shining light for other women who may also be experiencing fear. I wish you power and strength to move forward on your journey.

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