Do you know?
FEAR is a very normal and healthy emotion.
There is a wide range of fears starting with a mild feeling of anxiety right up to paralyzing fear.
This pandemic has added more fear to our society.
In these situations, it would be helpful for one to know ways on “how to overcome fear?”
Scientists believe that there is a fear threshold beyond which you stop being afraid and start jumping into heroic action.
Ever experienced it?
One minute you are afraid and in the next second, you are in action mode.
In fact, there are 4 actions we take in fear:
- Freeze: When you see the fear and focus on it to plan the next steps.
- Fight: When you attack your fear head-on.
- Flight: When you run away from it as fast as possible.
- Fright: When you do nothing, you are paralyzed.
You must have reacted in any of the 4 ways when faced with your fear.
As animals, we are programmed to have a response to fear.
This is the survival mechanism that keeps us safe.
It is the reason you don’t touch a hot stove or put your hand in the fire.
The problem with people today is that their fears intimidate them and they don’t know how to go about them.
Fear is an obstacle that if you overcome will provide you real growth.
Hence, you should listen to your fears and don’t let them hold you back.
In this article, we will talk about how to overcome fear.
The following topics will be covered in this article:
What is fear?
Fear is a universal experience. It is not a terrible thing to feel fear.
Your brain feels fear when it faces the unknown.
This is the reason you feel fear when you try something new as your brain doesn’t know its end product.
When doing the unknown, your survival mechanism kicks in.
Which makes you avoid the task and stay in your current state.
It’s okay if you are afraid and feel some kind of fear in your life. It’s part of being alive.
What’s not okay is not facing them and leaving your life up to chance.
Fear is the reason which is stopping most of us to live our dreams.
“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”- Les brown
To understand FEAR better let’s know what are the types of fear.
Types of fear
There are six basic fears:
- The fear of POVERTY
- The fear of CRITICISM
- The fear of ILL HEALTH
- The fear of LOSS OF LOVED ONE
- The fear of OLD AGE
- The fear of DEATH
But, how to overcome these fears?
How to overcome fear in life?
The main reason why you should overcome your fear is that it makes you lose connection with your abilities.
In the epic battle of Mahabharata, Arjuna, who is the most talented archer in the land is terrified because he has family and friends on either side of the battle.
Fear causes him to lose connection with his abilities which makes him drop his bow.
The same thing happens to you.
You have so much to offer to the world, but fear and anxiety disconnect you from your abilities.
It was elegantly summed up by Tom Hanks in his commencement address at Yale University.
“Fear,” he told the graduates, “will get the worst of the best of us.”
The below examples are taken from the book Think like a monk by Jay Shetty.
It has helped me a lot and I hope it does the same for you.
1) Find the root cause
To overcome your fear, you must know the root cause of it.
Interview your brain and ask yourself: What am I scared of?
Ask this question until you find the root of your fear.
When you begin this practice first, your mind will dodge the question because it doesn’t want you to enter uncomfortable spaces.
When you keep repeating the same question repeatedly. Your brain gets cornered and gives in.
As you answer your questions, you’ll have to distinguish between two kinds of fears.
Branches, the immediate fear that comes up during our self-interview.
Root, the major cause of your fear.
When I did this exercise, I found out that I was afraid of living a mediocre life(branch)
As I went deeper, I found that the root cause was fearing that I couldn’t make my parents happy.
2) Take control of your fears
Once you find the root of your fear, you need to detach from it.
There are two types of fear:
- Useful fear
- Hurtful fear
Useful fear alerts us of the situation we can change.
eg: If your doctor tells, you have poor health because of your diet and you could fear a disease if you continue it, that’s a useful fear because you can change your diet.
Hurtful fears are facts you can’t change.
eg: Your loved ones are going to die is a hurtful fear because you can’t change it.
We can transform our hurtful fears into useful fears by focusing on things that we can control.
Your loved ones are going to die one day, but you can shower them with love and affection till the time they are here.
Focus on things you can control, it will give you a perspective over your fears.
Your fears would feel less intimating when you change the things you can control.
3) Change your perspective
One of the best ways to overcome your fears is by changing the perspective from which you see them.
If we stop seeing fear as a negative thing and instead see its potential benefits it brings.
Then we can change our entire relationship with fear.
If you will never embrace your fears, you will never grow beyond your current self.
See fears as an opportunity to grow, not a thing to stress about.
Ask yourself: How will I grow if I face this fear?
Try to do one thing every month that scares the s**t out of you.
Once you do something that scares you incredibly, you won’t fear the little fears in your life.
4) Face your fears
When you deal with fear and hardship, you gain confidence in yourself.
You believe that you are capable of dealing with difficulty.
This gives you a new perspective that when things go wrong, you will handle them.
You will develop clarity amongst things that are worth being afraid of and things that are not!
The famous quote by Zig Ziglar explains it with precision.
“F.E.A.R has two meanings-‘Forget Everything And Run’OR’Face Everything And Rise’The choice is yours.”- Zig Ziglar
When you face your fears, you rise and uncover your true potential.
When you get a taste of what you are truly capable of, then there is no stopping.
You keep on owning your fears and ultimately cross the fear threshold.
Where you no longer fear anything and take action, which ends up killing your fear.
5) Fear as an opportunity
You need to understand that fear itself is not our real problem.
Your real problem is that you fear wrong things.
Fear is an opportunity in disguise, and we should fear that we may miss that opportunity that it offers.
Often, we notice fear’s warning but ignore its guidance.
If we could identify what our current fears are trying to teach us.
We can use it as an opportunity to grow and live a more meaningful life.
Use it as your self-awareness tool, which tells you the things you need to improve in your life.
Reflect on your fears and kill them by your actions!
6) Use your breath
When you feel happy. What changes?
When you feel anxiety. What changes?
It connects every emotion to your breath.
So, if you can control your breath!
You can control and navigate every emotion.
When you feel fear, you panic and stress in the situation you are in.
It disconnects your body from your mind, which makes you detached from your abilities.
Try this simple breathing exercise to relax:
- Inhale slowly to a count of 4.
- Hold for a count of 4.
- Exhale slowly to a count of 4.
- Repeat until you feel your heart rate slow down.
Now we know how to overcome our fears, but let’s dive deeper into the two most common fears and how to overcome them.
How to overcome fear of failure
Fear of failure is the most common fear in humans.
It has many disadvantages but the biggest one is procrastination.
Which makes us intentionally delay our task because we think we might fail if we try to do it.
The truth is that if you will never fail, you’ll never learn.
As Ralph Nader said, “Your best teacher is your last mistake.”
Similarly, when you fail, you must have had made a mistake that leads to your failure.
Use it as a learning opportunity. Don’t view failure as your incompetence to do a task.
Instead, view it as a feedback system that will help you improve your weaknesses and make you more self-aware.
We have always been told that failure is bad and something to fear.
In reality, it is a stepping stone towards our success.
You will never learn to step out of your comfort zone if you don’t overcome your fear of failure.
Try to challenge your fears and just do things even if you are not ready.
Remember, there is no such thing as perfect.
It’s better to try things and do them imperfectly than not trying them at all and living in your fears.
Action creates more action. When you do things and achieve some results.
You’ll realize that most of the things you feared were just a figment of your imagination and not a thing to worry about.
Put your best foot forward.
You may fail sometimes, but in the long-term, you will live your best life.
How to overcome fear of public speaking
This may shock you, but people are more afraid of public speaking than death, spiders, heights, and the dark!
People feel anxious, sweaty, or have a pounding heart before going in front of an audience.
Here are 5 tips that will help you overcome your fear of public speaking:
1) Practice, Practice, Practice!
I know this is a cliché answer, but much of your fear is eliminated when you put it into practice.
You can research all the questions your audience might have and practice them in front of a mirror.
Record it on a voice recorder or a camera.
All this helps your mind to prepare for the bigger event.
When you have practiced enough, it would feel like second nature when you do it in front of an audience.
Practice will help you gain clarity and confidence in your ability to deliver a speech.
Hence, you will be ready for your last audience.
2) Choose the right topic
Choosing the right topic for your speech is fundamental, as you won’t have trouble speaking about the thing you love.
Choose a topic for which you have a natural inclination.
When you’ll talk about it, words would come out naturally, in a flow.
Even if you forget something, you’ll bounce back as your inner desire for the topic will help you articulate some sentences.
This will help you with confidence as you won’t stand mute in front of an audience.
Which is the most common fear most of us have relating to public speaking.
3) Delivery > Content
Studies suggest that communication is 38% your voice, 55% non-verbal communication, and only 7% your words.
People fear that if they won’t sound like a native speaker, they are up to no good.
Rather, you need to work on the way you deliver your presentation.
The goal of the presentation is that your audience gets the message you are trying to convey.
For that, you need to work on your delivery rather than your use of words.
Don’t sound smart, be smart.
4) Stay Calm
No matter in which situation you are in, your breath always stays with you.
As I talked about earlier that your breath changes when you feel different emotions.
Similarly, you feel nervous and start feeling short of breath when in front of an audience.
According to business insider, voice shaking and loss of breath is the no. 1 fear people have while speaking publically.
Try the breathing technique explained above to calm yourself.
Speaking slowly can also help you in calming down.
It is better than speaking at a fast rate as it makes you lose your breath.
It also tells your audience that you may, in fact, be scared.
5) Be yourself
Trying to be someone else is a common mistake people do while public speaking.
It makes you sound fake and your audience won’t trust you this way.
Being yourself helps you speak from your heart, with your beliefs and experiences.
This way you will sound genuine and your audience won’t have a hard time trusting you.
When you speak with full conviction, you sound more relatable to others.
It will help you build a relationship with your audience, which is crucial for your success.
We all have some kind of fears in our life but it is up to us.
You could either let your fears hinder your growth or you could it as an opportunity to grow.
Try to face one of your fears every month. It will help you develop a bigger perspective.
You will gain some confidence in your abilities and you won’t feel intimidated by other small fears.
I hope this article helped you to gain some clarity about your fears and gave you a new perspective on how to go about it.
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