How to Overcome Fears

Written by Do I Editorial

“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.” Frank Herbert.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” Nelson Mandela.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanor Roosevelt.

We all have weak points, our Achilles heels, which hold us back from achieving our true worth. Fear is one such emotion that can just paralyse us. It is fear that can inhibit the best of us from thinking in a rational way. Sometimes, fear can even end up causing a mental and nervous breakdown. Given the destructive potential of fear, it is an emotion that has to be dealt with in sensitive, sustained manner to avoid causing us lasting damage.

We are our own best helpers. The first step towards beating fear is to remind ourselves that we are meant for greater things and that if fear gets the better of us, we are only selling ourselves short.  Thankfully, there are many ways that we can conquer fear before it beats us in our quest to grow and reach our full potential.

Here are some practical tips; I do hope you find them useful:

Acknowledge your fears
Many a times, we as individuals try and suppress the fears that we have and put up a brave front, possibly because we are just not willing to acknowledge them. However, in order to be truly strong, we must do what we can to beat down the fear that holds us back. When we finally decide to confront our fears and beat them down, that’s when we become truly brave. 

The initial step towards battling fear has to be to name it so that it has a clearly defined form. This step is important because sometimes we really cannot identify what really holds us back. Do what you can to ensure that the inherent fear in you rises to the surface in order to finally put it to rest. The second step would be to WRITE down and describe the fear in order to overcome it. It is advisable to keep a journal to jot down notes of the fears that ail you. This journal can act as the perfect guide to face your fears as they arise in the future.

Define your fears
To reiterate the point made in the earlier paragraph, if you truly want to defeat your fears, you need to define them clearly by giving them a beginning and an end. When you give them a shape and a clear structure, you can ascertain what you need to do to combat them once and for all. This will help you deal with them effectively.  Ask yourself some pertinent questions which will help make the task easy: How did your fear start? What was the trigger that sent you into an emotional tizzy and, in turn, caused you to fear a certain situation? Also, try to recollect experiences in the past which may have contributed to your current fear. Sometimes, you need to ask yourself what actually triggers your fear: is it a small fear like being afraid of snakes? Is it the thought of being reprimanded for something? Is it the idea of never amounting to much despite all your hard work?  Is it the prospect of losing a job?  A loved one?  Whatever may be the cause of the fear, by identifying it, you can find ways to deal with it effectively.

Also, try and figure out how badly your fear of something affects you. Does it cause you to stay in bed all day? Do you avoid visiting family and friends because of the fear of someone or something?

Make it a point to assess whether this fear can have dangerous ramifications in the future if it spirals out of control. Also, try and figure out whether the fear you possess is inhibiting you from being yourself and if it is something that truly deserves attention.

Work towards resolving the fear
The first two steps will help you identify your fears. The next step is to try and resolve them by taking baby steps. If you are fearful about committing to a long term relationship, you will need to date someone for a little more time than usual. If your fear is of heights, you may want to stand at a high point and force yourself to look down in order to get over that fear. If you are fearful of a particular individual who is intimidating, you will need to face that person and prove to him or her that you are as capable as him or her.

Desensitize yourself
When you do decide to overcome your fears, you will need to detach yourself from it in small doses as opposed to trying to defeat it with one quick blow. Desensitize yourself slowly so that you gradually no longer fear the object or situation anymore. If you decide to detach from it immediately, you will only make it worse for yourself as you may not be prepared enough to deal with it so quickly.

Reframing your thoughts can also help a lot towards resolving your fears.  Instead of looking at things negatively, reframe them positively and you will find that you are able to make immense progress.  So, instead of constantly saying that you are a terrible speaker, reframe that into a more encouraging sentence and you are on your way towards delivering a much better speech the next time around.

Face your fears dead-on!
In order to truly banish the fear you have, you will sometimes need to face the situation or person head-on.  Think about the worst that can happen if you were to confront a situation or person directly.

You may find that when you do face it head-on, the situation or person was not so scary after all and did not deserve the attention that you had been giving that situation or person. There is nothing to be lost here, but so much to be gained. Muster up the courage to face your fears because it cannot get any worse than it already is. However, be prepared for failure as sometimes it might not yield the desired results.

Don’t give up!
When you are tackling your fears, initial failures can force you to give up.  Conquering your fears can take time and repeated effort and giving up too early will prove to be counterproductive.  In fact, there are many people who recommend that one of the most effective ways of conquering any fear, say of public speaking, is to do it a lot.  For inspiration, just re-read the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that I have given above.

When you make a proactive choice to deal with your fears, you will only get closer to dealing with them once and for all without having to carry them like excess baggage. Remember, there is so much to be gained by overcoming your fears – you can transform your life!

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