Hey Guys and Gals! It is great to have you here! 🙂
I hope you are all safe and well.
I am going to get straight to it and tell you that FEAR IS HOLDING YOU BACK. Fear is stopping you from being the best version of yourself. Today we are going to change that.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear ” – Nelson Mandela
We have all had sleepless nights and hours of rumination on a multitude of things from fear of failure, judgement, rejection, losing loved ones, losing our jobs, house, partners to fears that we have left the iron turned on after leaving the house.
Our natural response to these fears is avoidance. We tell ourselves that the only way to be safe is not to take risks however, avoidance strengthens fear. Fear paralyses action! A lack of action = a lack of growth!
So how do we overcome fear?
Step 1 – Understand Fear
Fear is a combination of biology and psychology and we can learn to control both!
Close your eyes and take yourself back in time to the day you had to give your first speech to your peer group at school. Do you remember the sleepless night before, the butterflies in your tummy, a dry mouth, your hands trembling and the urge to run and hide to avoid it all together?
Do you remember the fear of messing up in front of the class and being laughed at? You don’t want the kids to laugh at you the same way they did when Noah fell over during sports day. You stand in front of the class and start to speak but your voice trembles and palms are shaky and sweaty.
Guys and gals that is your biological response to fear.
You will not believe that a tiny almond shaped structure in your brain is responsible for how you are feeling but IT IS TRUE … your Amygdala is causing those physical responses.
This primitive structure saved us in the past, as hunter gatherers, from being harmed by an array of predators in the wild… snakes, lions, poisonous insects, you name it. The Amygdala prepared you for flight or fight. It sounds the alarm. Your body is flooded with adrenaline and other stress hormones, non-essential processes such as digestion are stopped, your skin cools and blood is diverted to the muscles in preparation for the emergency. Your breathing rate increases, heart races, blood pressure rises infusing your body with much needed oxygen and let us not forget your liver and its pivotal role in releasing glucose to be converted to energy. You are going to need lots of energy if you are going to successfully run out of the room and avoid doing that speech all together 🙂 .
It does not stop there! Your frontal cortex (responsible for emotions and rationalisation) and hippocampus (responsible for memory formation) also want to be a part of the fear party! When it is time for you stand in front of your peers, your hippocampus which stored the memory of Noah falling over and everyone laughing activates. This in turn triggers the Amygdala, starting a cascade of automatic reactions in your body. Before you know it, you are telling yourself that doing that speech is a terrible idea and so you need to act fast to avoid doing it. We imagine the worst.
Every time you avoid doing the things you are afraid of, the fear becomes stronger.
Step 2: Challenging fear!
2. Gain an awareness on the effect fear has on your life. It is often not until we notice the negative effects something has on our lives that we decide to make a change. Noticing the possibilities for growth that are passing you by will leave you wanting to get rid of it faster than you can say fear!
3. Deal with the fearful thoughts straight away, don’t avoid them – don’t let them take over your life for another minute. Challenge the thoughts and let them go! If you deal with it this time, it will be easier the next time you are in a similar situation. Remember Denial is not a river in Egypt 😊
4. Gradual exposure to the situation that brings fear through visualisation – when fear kicks in, we imagine the worst outcome which is often unlikely or untrue. Visualisation before the event can help you to see the possibilities of a positive outcome in a fearful situation. Rather than worst case scenario, we imagine best case scenario!
5. Create a fear ladder – make a list of situations related to your fear. Arrange the situations on your list from scariest to least scary. Now try the first thing on your list. This may cause you some anxiety but should not put you off completely. Always focus on the end goal which is to overcome your fear. Move onto the next thing when the first one no longer elicits fear.
6. Remind yourself that you are human and you don’t have to be perfect. It is ok to make mistakes.
7. Be your biggest cheerleader! Give yourself credit. You are doing the best you can. When you are aware of this and comfortable with who you are, fears of things like judgement and rejection from others disappear. After all true happiness starts from within.
8. Focus on right now! We cannot see into the future. We often have a lot of “what if” thoughts when we are afraid. The truth is guys and gals that we have no control over how other people respond to us, so we have to learn to be satisfied with right now.
“Feel the fear and do it anyway”
Remember to live purposefully and be the best version of yourself!