“Courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.” --Martin Luther King, Jr.
Are there changes you’d like to make, but your nerves are getting the best of you? Are you having difficulty adjusting after the end of a relationship? Are you not happy in your job, or nervous about an upcoming move—not being sure how it will go once you get there?
The top three fears people have are: the fear of the unknown, death, and speech anxiety. Here, we are talking about the fear of the unknown. It’s all those, “what if” questions you ask yourself that can allow you to talk yourself out of anything. Change can be hard. You can allow yourself to talk yourself out of trying something new. But, what if you didn’t? What would happen? How would you benefit from making a change, or changes? If you’re not happy with where you are right now in any area of your life, change really might be something to look at. Here are some ideas on how you can move away from your fears, and into a new way of life, for the benefit of your happiness.
Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. What you tell yourself, or your interpretation you make about something, is what’s behind why many people do not do things they otherwise would. What you imagine has the ability to stop you in your tracks. You may have heard that your perception is your reality. It is. Fear is that uncertainty you feel about what the outcome of your choices may be, and the unpredictability of it all.
Understand your fear. The first step to conquering anything is to understand where it’s coming from. If you can understand where your fear is coming from, you can then take small steps towards being able to acknowledge it, and then come to a place to address it. Thinking back to what messages you were given growing up may be a good place to start. Did your fear stem from something you encountered, or was it maybe the way you were taught to think? It could be those, “Oh, no!” reactions from people you grew up with--if you fell of of your bike, for example. Think what the consequences of holding onto your fear may be. What could you gain if you successfully conquered that fear?
Re-frame your thoughts. If there is not someone else that is holding you back, it’s your thoughts that are. Reframing your thoughts into something that will allow you to move forward is a good step to take before you are able to physically take that step. My blog that includes the basics of a technique called thought stopping might be beneficial to turn to here. https://www.amyenklingcounseling.com/blog/threlationshipwithyou
Practice overcoming your fear. I have one of the top three fears--speech anxiety. I have ran substance abuse groups, counseling twenty maximum security inmate males in the Pinellas County Jail. Yet, if you ask me to give a speech to an audience, I immediately am a ball of nerves! I spoke with a couple of my professors about this in the past. What one of them said made the most sense to me. He asked how many times I had been required to give a speech. I could not count beyond my ten fingers. I must have lucked out to have made it that far without many speeches! While talking with my ex clinical supervisor recently, he disclosed that he still feels nervous, even though he has given more speeches that he can count. What he still does to overcome his nerves is to sing a song to himself as he is walking up to a podium. That song eases his mind, and he is able to make it through his presentation. He continues to face his fear, even though it is not 100% gone. Maybe you can find your own song.
Use your foresight. Now that we’ve talked about the hindsight of where your fear may have stemmed from, planning ahead before you decide to face your fear can help you feel more prepared for it. You may feel more ready once you have created a more manageable state about it in your mind. Try going back to the common question of, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” Once you have that answer, or answers, you can plan what you will do in those instances. Planning for the worst, but expecting the best, may be a good mindset for you. You could also visualize yourself overcoming your fear as many times as you need to feel more prepared. When you have replayed yourself successfully doing something over and over in your mind, that power of positive thinking can be helpful.
There are more in depth discoveries that can be made in order to find ways to stop your worrisome thoughts, so you can then move forward from fear. I hope this was a good start for you. If you can understand where your fear is coming from, you can then move towards a new path, a new goal, or a new life altogether. It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone, but if you don’t change what you’d really like to, everything will remain the same. If you are struggling with change or making any kind of life transition, always feel free to reach out—or share this with someone else you know is struggling too.
1. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.
2. Understand your fear.
3. Re-frame your thoughts.
4. Practice overcoming your fear.
5. Use your foresight.