7 Ways
to Conquer Fear

7 Ways to Conquer Fear

T here was a time in my life when security was so important to me that I was willing to tolerate being truly miserable, staying in that corporate job. Because uncertainty… The most terrifying word!

Nowadays uncertainty seems to be the new normal. And acting in the face of that uncertainty kills most people [like it definitely would have killed me, years ago. Really.]. Acting in the face of uncertainty leads to unease, anxiety, fear and doubt. Because of that unease, anxiety, fear and doubt the most creative and revolutionary ideas die before they even see the light of day…

Remember, nothing great was ever created by waiting around for someone to tell you it’s all going to be okay.
The perfect information you need to get going just doesn’t drop from the sky. Doesn’t happen that way. Great work requires you to act in the face of uncertainty. There is no alternative.

If you want to spend your time on the planet not just getting-by, but creating life that truly matters and makes a difference, you’ll need to invite uncertainty. Because the other side of uncertainty is opportunity.

But lucky you! Your ability to lean into the unknown isn’t all about luck or genetics. In fact, it is something very trainable. A skill that anyone can learn. Here are seven strategies to help get you going:

 
#1
Reframe

We tell ourselves stories all day long. ‘I’m skinny. I’m fat. I’m talented. I’m stupid. This is genius. This is awful. I will succeed. I will fail. I’m terrified and anxious. I’m confident and proactive.’ And these stories are determinative of our success.

Reframing is a process to hold off the negative stories, to explore if the story you’re telling is the only one and, if not [which inevitably is the case], to construct a new storyline that empowers you.

For example, maybe you’re disabling story is ‘What if I fail?’. Instead of just creating all doomsday scenarios, explore the following questions
[If I really fail] ‘How will I recover?’
‘What happens if I do nothing now?’
‘What if I succeed?’
Build new, empowering stories around these questions.

 
#2
Practice mindfulness

Reframing is an very powerful tool, but it requires the ability to step back and see what’s really going on. The ability to re-center and breathe into that uncomfortable place long enough for amazing things to bubble up. A daily mindfulness practice, like meditation, might equip you to do just that.

And it trains you in the practice of letting go of your thoughts, and among those your destructive, limiting-beliefs.

 
#3
Singletask

Multitasking is sooo 90′s. Our brains don’t multitask, they just rapidly switch between tasks, sometimes fast enough for us to believe we’re doing many things at once. Problem is, every time we switch, we loose in efficiency. Do the test!

Multitasking also requires you to hold a lot of information in your working memory, controlled by the prefrontal cortex [PFC]. The PFC is also responsible for will-power, and for keeping fear and anxiety restrained. Multitasking increases the ‘cognitive load’ on the PFC, overwhelming it and your fear and anxiety get to play around freely.

Simple solution: just say no. Do one thing at a time in intense, short bursts.

 
#4
Value courage over security

Most people value security over just about everything else in their lives. People will put up with jobs that they hate, marriages that make them miserable, and habits that are killing them [think comfort food] simply to feel more secure. It is interesting how the concept of ‘playing it safe’ makes many people choose being miserable over being happy [and I have been there...].

Consciously dethrone ‘security’ as the thing that you value most in your life and replace it with the active virtue of ‘courage’ in order to conquer fear. Decide, once and for all, that it’s more important for you to have the courage to do what you must to succeed, rather than to cling to the things that make you feel safe.

And

 
#5
Rehearse that courage mentally

When it comes to emotions, including fear, your brain can’t se the difference between what it imagines and what’s actually happened in the real world. If you repeatedly rehearse a situation in your mind, while at the same time visualizing yourself as being calm, confident and collected, your behavior in the real world will imitate your imagination.

 
#6
Catch those self-defeating thoughts

Our thoughts can easily become a downward spiral. While dwelling on a self-defeating thought pattern, if we do not interrupt it and consciously bring ourselves out, we can become paralyzed by fear. You can shift your emotions and interrupt your self-defeating thoughts by:
Changing your language.
Instead of saying ‘I can’t do this because I don’t have enough experience.’ Try changing your language to ‘I don’t yet have much experience with this, but I’m confident I could master it. Let me start today.’
Changing your physiology.
Get up and move around. Do something different that dramatically changes your current physical state. Do 20 jumping-jacks while singing Happy Birthday. This is a powerful tool to interrupt any thought patterns!
Changing your focus.
What are you focused on? Explicitly find something else to focus on for awhile.

 
#7
Surrender the outcome
[click to tweet]
What usually prevents people from taking a risk is the fact that the outcome is not guaranteed. None of us are able to predict exactly what the future will bring. And therein lies the beauty of life, isn’t it? Do you really want to know ahead of time what will happen?

A lot of fear about the future is rooted in the concern about whether or not you will be okay. If there is anything I have learned in the past years: you will be okay. So surrender the outcome of any given situation. Give your best to the present moment and trust that it will lead you exactly to where you need to be. Life has an interesting way of working things out. Your job is to know what it is that you want and give your best. The how and the when are not your responsibility. Plant the seeds, water them and do whatever else you need to do but let things develop in their own way and time. Let go!

 
Sharing is caring!
Tell me…
Do you think it is hard to conquer your fears?
What’s your secret way to overcome your fears? What would you add to the list?
Please share your thoughts and insights with us by leaving a comment below.
Thank you!

Mirjam Stoffels

Founder of seven2success, guest blogger at TEDx, Project Eve and 365 dagen succesvol. In my mission to make seven2success the biggest platform of knowledge and inspiration for women, by women, I want to inspire you with our content! Check us out on Facebook and Twitter! I’d love to connect! 
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