How to Overcome Fear | Next Up Life Coaches | Toronto
Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived danger or threat, which causes physiological and behavioural changes. The key word in that sentence is PERCEIVED. In today’s world, our fears are often perceived, which causes us to freeze and not take action. Jack Canfield cleverly created the mnemonic device for FEAR: F = Fantasized E = Experiences A = Appearing R = Real. As the theory goes, when you experience the emotion of fear, your mind is visualizing a catastrophic outcome, stopping you from taking action. What this means is that fear can and DOES get in the way of reaching your goals. Fear is powerful; or should I say, our minds are so powerful?!
Millions of years ago the feeling of fear was our body’s way to signal possible danger, and it gave us the needed burst of adrenaline to run away. This innate response to run from fear was useful to save our lives when fleeing from danger, but today most of our fears are not life threatening. We can feel fear and still move forward anyway. Yet, we still freeze or run away from whatever it is that’s scaring us, such as public speaking, discussing our true emotions, meeting new people, etc, etc, etc.
As I stated above, fear stops us from taking action. Which means, if you let fear dictate your life, you might not ever accomplish anything. Think of it this way: there are two possible outcomes when taking the risk and doing the feared activity. One, you take the risk and you get exactly what you set out to do. Or two, you don’t get exactly what you intended, but it still gets you one step closer to your goal and/or you learn something new. In both of these outcomes, you gain something. So, why let fear hold you back? What do you have to lose?!
It is SO SO hard, I know! Believe me, I know. Right now, I’m working through my fear of teaching yoga classes to groups of people. When the opportunity to teach arises, my initial reaction is to find an excuse to say “no,” and figuratively run away from the opportunity. This is because moving my body in front of a group of people (even on a computer) seems super scary and intimidating for me. However, if I keep running from this fear, this fear will only get bigger, and bigger, and bigger, almost to the point of paralyzing my ability to ever teach yoga. AND, I love yoga! I want to spread my joy with others. Therefore, my task is to recognize the fear, let it in, and face it; so that I can move past it and fulfill my desire to spread the powerful teachings of yoga. Overcoming fears is truly a work in progress, and it doesn’t happen overnight! It is important to remember that we cannot get to where we want to be without facing our fears. If we choose to stay cozy in our comfort zone, there will be no growth and we will not reach new heights or experience new things. Ultimately, we have to risk our comfort for our happiness.
Here’s a one trick for when you notice that you fear is taking over. When we are fearful, we are thinking into the future and imagining some feared outcome. When you are in this state of mind, you are no longer in reality mode … you have left the present moment. To get back to the present moment try doing deep abdominal breathing: Place a hand on your abdomen, and as you inhale your abdomen rises, and as you exhale your abdomen falls. Complete this until you are fully feeling your breath. When you feel your breath, you are back in reality mode and the fear is no longer in control. Don’t let fear keep you from your dreams – you’ll never know what you are truly capable of if you never give it a shot. You’ve got this!
As always, Alex and I are here to help you find your way through your fears. Let us help!