Fear is one of the universal emotions that everyone has experienced at some point in their lives. It is as familiar as your shadow. Everyone has that one thing that they are most afraid of, from spiders to darkness to death and everything in between.
Fear is born of our instinct for survival, which makes it something that, while unpleasant, is actually good for us.
That said, fear can easily become a major problem in our lives. When you are too afraid of too many things, it is a problem. When your fear of failure or fear of success stops you from working towards your goals, it’s a problem. So what can you do about it?
Here is how to eliminate fear.
1. Learn, understand, and embrace your fear
As mentioned earlier, fear is not necessarily a bad thing. It is the result of your body and your mind trying to keep you safe. If you can learn and understand it, it is possible to wield your fear like a tool and use it to make better decisions in your life. Therefore, let your fear inform your actions but never let it control you.
If you notice that your heartbeat is quickening and you are getting sweaty, don’t fight it. Instead, embrace the panic and really feel it without distracting yourself. Breathe slowly and deeply through it. Gradually, your mind will learn to identify the feeling of fear, eliminating the fear of fear itself in the process.
3. Pause and think through your actions
Fear triggers different reactions in different people. In some people, it makes them jump into action and do something about it. In others, it causes them to freeze and get paralyzed, unable to do anything about their situation.
Consider the third option: an intentional pause where you think through your actions and create a plan to get through the situation before jumping into action and implementing the plan. Do not be too fast to jump into action. Sometimes, your best choice is to analyze your options and think of an optimal solution.
4. Identify your fear
What is it that you are afraid of? Giving it a name can make it a little easier to conquer in your mind. It will give you the strength to deal with it. Therefore, instead of ignoring your fear and hoping it goes away on its own, face it and name it and watch it shrink before you.
5. Visualize it
Visualize yourself conquering your fear and you’ll make it happen. Feel what you’d feel if you eliminated that fear. Mentally create a step by step plan or map that you’ll use to conquer that fear. In a way, this is a lot like practicing something over and over. Your body will eventually start going through the motions, allowing you to succeed in whatever you set out to do.
6. Get educated
The fear of the unknown affects every one of us. If you are afraid of something that you have very little information about, consider educating yourself on the topic. This will allow you to analyze the situation based on facts.
7. Do not think short term
Sometimes, we worry about this month’s paycheck or where the rent is going to come from. However, simply shifting your focus to the long term and where you’ll be in 2, 3, 5, 10 months or years can make whatever you are afraid of now seem insignificant. It can also help you come up with an objective solution to the problem.
8. Preparation is key
Some people are more afraid of speaking in public than literally dying. Fears that are related to performance activities can easily be conquered through proper preparation. Practice, practice, practice. Most public speakers practice their speeches over 10 times before getting on the podium. Let it feel natural to you and you will not fear it so much anymore.
9. Harness the power of peer pressure
Sometimes, friends can make us do things we don’t want to, including things we would otherwise have never done at all. That’s the power of peer pressure. Well, how about using this power to your advantage? Surround yourself with people who push you to overcome your fears and nothing will ever hold you back.
10. Reward yourself
Whenever you do something despite being afraid of it, reward yourself with a treat. Give yourself a pat on the back and go get that massage or buy yourself a nice meal. Just do anything that makes you really happy. Doing this will reinforce your success and make you look forward to the next challenge instead of being afraid of it.
Finally, consider talking about your fears with someone. Sharing something always makes it a lot easier to bear. Talk to your partner or a friend about your fears. It’ll significantly reduce the scariness of your fear.