How do we overcome fear?

How do we overcome fear?

What are we afraid of? Fear and how to combat it

We are all afraid of something in life. Someone afraid to lose a loved one, others – to fly an airplane, some do not understand how to conquer the fear of the elevator, not to mention the fact that millions of people are afraid to get sick or meet on your way angry dog. We fear exams and lonely old age, and of course we feel a particularly strong fear for the safety of our children. Often our fears interfere with our lives and complicate our relationships with others.

Fear performs a protective function and protects us from danger that encroaches on our well-being. A person who is afraid becomes more vigilant and is able to protect himself or herself from harm and possible danger. Most of us suffer from delusional fear invented by our imagination. Illusory fear develops in people with pronounced emotionalism who are unable to distinguish between imagined fear and real fear. Such fears are unnatural for an ordinary, mentally healthy person. For some people, fear becomes a norm of existence and begins to rule their lives, influencing their actions and behavior. They are unable to control their fear, and it takes hold of them entirely.

In its protective function, fear is also a brake on our achievements and goals. By being afraid of something, we stall our development. Fears such as fear of heights or of contracting contagious diseases can prevent us from choosing the profession of assembly fitter or doctor, and fear of responsibility and public speaking will be a brake on our future career path. In various situations, we are afraid of not being good enough. And this fear, which should protect us from doing the wrong thing, at the same time keeps us from trying to change our lives for the better. And so we must fight fear and learn to overcome it.

It is possible to overcome fear only by understanding what you are afraid of in a particular situation. It is important to clarify for yourself what doubt gave rise to fear. And then overcome these doubts, we understand how to overcome the fear. Look at things realistically and convince yourself that the reason for fear does not exist.

If the fear has not yet turned into a phobia, try to act against the fear. Consciously force yourself to do what you fear. If you have to perform in front of a large audience, and you are afraid of it, you need to rehearse as much as possible, speaking in front of a small number of listeners. Try to live in the present, because the fear of failure is usually associated with the future. Do not think about it, better enjoy a particular moment of life.

Psychologists advise you to use the following methods to effectively combat fear:

1. Visualization method. You need to visualize and feel your fear clearly.

2. The method of detachment. You need to renounce your fear and look at it as something that has nothing to do with you.

3. Hidden resources. Say to yourself, I am able to reach such heights and I will be able to overcome such a small thing as fear.

4. Humor Method. Laugh at your fear and fantasize about it.

5. Counterattack. Don’t try to run away from your fear, but run toward it.

6. Comparison. Imagine your fear and more significant fears, and realize how insignificant it is in comparison.

7. Don’t fantasize. Think less about the future, live in the present.

8. Celebrate. Feel even small successes in the struggle against fear and actively celebrate in your soul a victory celebration.

If the fear has managed to turn into a phobia, you can get rid of it only by turning to professional specialists. Advanced forms of phobias can lead to serious mental illness and even to a suicide attempt.

– We recommend to visit our section with interesting materials on similar subjects “Psychology of relationships

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9 steps to overcoming fear

Sometimes some part of us becomes our “inner critic” who inspires our doubts and fears. Sometimes we let them rule us. But fears can be overcome. Some effective techniques from a therapist.

Have you ever heard that inner voice whispering: “You’re not good enough. You’re not going to make it. You shouldn’t even try”? But we are not doomed to remain trapped by these fears: on the contrary, we can overcome them.

Fear has a purpose.

Fear tries to help us stay safe. But sometimes we don’t need protection and simply overestimate risk and underestimate our own resilience.

Anxiety grows when we focus on negativity. By constantly running the worst-case scenario through our heads, we feed our fear. Sometimes it keeps us from reaching our full potential, keeps us from taking risks and doing the things we’d like to do, keeps us in jobs that don’t suit us, or in relationships that don’t satisfy us. Fear tries to protect us from shame, ridicule, loneliness.

What are you afraid of?

Most of the most common fears boil down to the following:

  • fear of failure;
  • fear of change;
  • fear of experiencing painful experiences;
  • Fear of being abandoned or rejected.

How to overcome fear

Overcoming fear is a process that begins with awareness and requires a willingness to change your thinking and behavior. Here are 9 tips to help you:

1. It’s important to notice when you begin to be driven by fear. Awareness of the problem is a crucial part of any change.

2. Think about what it is that’s preventing you from doing. What motivates you to overcome it? What exactly will make your life better when you finally succeed in overcoming it?

3. What beliefs underlie your fears? For example, if you believe that quitting a bad job or ending a bad marriage will mean that you are a failure, you will tolerate these situations even after it becomes definitively clear that nothing good is coming of it. If your fear of being abandoned comes from an inner belief in your own inferiority, you will probably get into relationships over and over again with people who treat you badly, just to avoid being alone.

4. Try to avoid black and white thinking. Life is too complicated to describe people in categories like “successful” or “unsuccessful,” “smart or dumb. It’s better not to put such labels on yourself.

5. Don’t think about the end result. It doesn’t define who you are. If you’re afraid that the result won’t be what you’d like, be afraid to even try. But often the outcome is not just up to us. You can follow the strictest diet according to all instructions, but it does not guarantee that you will lose 5 kg (the result that you expect). So it is better to focus on what you are in control – your actions and thoughts.

6. Maybe the worst has already happened, and that’s the reason for the anxiety. I had a teenage client who refused to go to college, which in itself wasn’t a disaster, but it surprised me because he had very good grades. He understood that he was afraid of being rejected and that his fear of not getting into college was illogical given his grades. Digging into his past, we found that his father, with whom he no longer had a relationship, often shamed him, saying things like, “You’re such a fool. Why are you trying to accomplish anything? Your grandfather didn’t achieve anything, and neither did your father. What makes you think you’re any better than that?” The worst thing had already happened to this young man – he had been rejected by his father, and he continued to live in fear of being rejected again.

7. Assess the reality of your fears. How likely is the outcome of events that scares you? We generally tend to overestimate the probability of possible troubles and misfortunes and constantly “run through” them in our heads instead of taking a sober look at things.

8. Maybe you are more resilient than you think? Even if your worst fears come true, maybe you can still cope and get through what happened? Think back to how many difficult and painful situations you’ve already been through in your life.

9. To reduce anxiety, try different relaxation techniques, such as the “grounding” exercise (see below). If you have been diagnosed with one of the anxiety disorders or you suspect that you may suffer from such a disorder, it is important to contact a professional – a psychologist or psychiatrist. Fear serves a purpose. It should not be ignored, and it is important to analyze it critically to see if it is justified. If it is unreasonable, start overcoming it little by little by doing only the things that cause a little discomfort to begin with. Step by step you will be able to discover new possibilities.

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