How do I overcome the feeling of fear?

Some background, some drama

What is stopping you from getting what you want in life? Your friends? Your family? A sense that failure or success might change your life?

A sense that the people around you might disapprove of you aiming for what you want, of you succeeding or failing? Essentially it boils down to fear… the big roadblock, sometimes the massive wall in the middle of road that keeps you from getting what you want. It’s important to eventually overcome fear in order to live life to the fullest.

Do’s and Don’ts

Getting through fear is a skill that anyone can learn. The problem is that most people cling to their fears, because it’s part of who they are. If you aren’t ready to face your fears, there’s nothing wrong in that. Everything happens in its own time. The “How Do I" series tries to list down a few Do’s and don’ts to guide and help you to overcome the feeling of fear.

Do’s

  • Recognize when fears become overwhelming. It’s normal to have fears. However, when fears begin to overtake your life and affect your functioning, they become a problem.
  • Reflect on any traumatic events. Recognize that your fear is valid, but also needs to be addressed.
  • Interact with your fear and question the power it has on you. Only then can you establish steps to overcome it.
  • Start seeing fear as an opportunity. Fear can be used as a tool to help us identify problems and solve them effectively.
  • Take time out, calm down and then think clearly when you're flooded with fear or anxiety.
  • Expose yourself to the fear instead of avoiding them. Whatever your fear, if you face it, it should start to fade.
  • Welcome the worst. Each time fears are embraced, it makes them easier to cope with the next time they strike, until in the end they are no longer a problem.
  • Talking about and sharing fears takes away a lot of their scariness. If you can't talk to a partner, friend or family member, call a helpline.
  • Finally, give yourself a treat. When you've overcome your fear it’s important to reward yourself.
  • Learn relaxation techniques to help you cope with other stress and anxiety in your life.

Dont’s

  • Don’t expect perfection. Life is full of stresses, yet many of us feel that our lives must be perfect. Bad days and setbacks will always happen, and it's essential to remember that life is messy.
  • Don’t run from your fears. Next time you experience a fear, engage and face it.
  • Don’t give in to false beliefs or catastrophic thinking. Understand your actual risk versus perceived risk.
  • Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your specific fears. By owning your feelings you've taken the first step toward gaining control over the situation.
  • Don’t judge your fears. Accept and overcome the fears.
  • Don’t ignore the triggers of fear. The more you can understand your fear, the better.

Last words

Whatever fears you’re facing, remember that the only thing that matters is that you listen to yourself and your inner voice and eventually overcome your fears. Overcoming fear and anxiety will give you the spare capacity in life to focus on what you really want to be and do. It takes effort, but focus on the rewards you will reap.

Sources and citations