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Tips to help you overcome fear

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Many fears we have are learned. Because they are learned, they can also be unlearned.

Many fears we have are learned. Because they are learned, they can also be unlearned.

Many fears we have are learned. Because they are learned, they can also be unlearned.

We all experience fear. Everyone is afraid of something. It is part of being human.

It is a natural, powerful, and instinctive emotion. It connects our conscious mind, our five senses and our physical body.  It alerts us to the presence of danger or harm – and can be either physical or psychological. 

Fear starts in the part of your brain called the amygdala. The threat triggers the amygdala and this activates the motor functions involved in the fight or flight response.  It has a biochemical response and an individual emotional response.

Fear is not a problem.  It keeps us safe and protects us from potential threats. The most important thing when we experience it is to work through it as the situation permits.  If it is an immediate life or death situation threat – it is right to run.  If the threat is more psychological, it makes sense to calm down first and then solve things systematically. 

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Scientists say that we are born with two fears: the fear of falling and fear of loud noises.  Other fears we have are learned.  Because they are learned, they can also be unlearned.

When you feel fear, here are some tips to help you overcome the fears and move ahead:

The most important thing is to calm down and then face the situation.  A powerful practice that really helps is to sit quietly, notice where you feel the fear or anxiety in your body and then to focus on that area as you breathe in and out. Gradually it will ease.  When it has address the situation. 

Or Do other things to help you shift gears mentally and calm you down.  Go for a walk. Exercise.  Have a shower.   After breathe slowly and deeply and centre yourself.  When you can find balance in times of stress – the fear of the fear passes and confidence in facing them comes. 

Face your fear.  Don’t feed or ignore it.  When you have regained your equilibrium face the fear.  If it seems too big, break it down into smaller steps.  If have a public speaking event coming up with a big audience, plan your speech and practice in front of the mirror or in your bedroom.  When you take action towards facing it, it reduces.  Feeding it or thinking negatively reinforces and strengthens fear.  Being an ostrich also makes it worse. 

Challenge your thoughts: Think things through logically.  Talk it through with a friend of family member you respect that has a cool mind.  Looking at things in a realistic way shows how you are building things up in an unhelpful way.

Ask yourself what you would advise a friend in a similar situation. 

Accept where you are and don’t try and be perfect. 

Visualise how you want things to work and be. 

Meditate.  When you can sit quietly with yourself on a regular basis things that you don’t want to look at show up and you learn to deal with them.

Stop distracting yourself from what is uncomfortable.  Don’t rely on alcohol or other weapons of distraction. 

Unaddressed fear can end up in crippling anxiety, raging anger or overwhelming jealousy.   It only gets worse. 

It can show up in different ways initially – as procrastination, avoiding doing something differently even though you know it’s the right thing to do, not taking responsibility, making excuses and other things.  When you feel it. Sit with yourself and face it. And most importantly be kind to yourself in the process.


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