Why is it important to face your fears? As fear is such an uncomfortable emotion to deal with, it’s easy to avoid it rather than facing it. By doing so, you hold yourself back from personal growth and important opportunities. Here are some tips I use to manage and face my fears, and some tips I’ve learned from others:
- Take a time out. Thinking clearly when you are experiencing fear or anxiety, is next to impossible. By taking a time out, you’ll give yourself a chance to calm down physically, which will allow the mind to think clearer.
- Breathe through panic. When you start to feel panic (increased heart rate, heavy breathing, sweaty palms), try not to resist it. Try to remain where you are and feel the panic without trying to distract yourself. Try placing the palm of your hand on your stomach with a comfortable amount of pressure and breathe slowly and deeply. This is to help the mind get used to coping with panic, which takes the fear of fear away.
- Face your fears. OK, face your fears, easier said than done. Avoiding your fears will only make them worse. If you fear something, and you face it, that fear should begin to fade. Your mindset and attitude to this step is crucial to progress. If you see a scary spider, don’t fear it’s many eyes and its far too many legs, and instead understand its purpose and the rationality of how that spider makes you feel.
- Imagine the worst. It’s an exercise where you try to imagine the worst thing that could happen-perhaps it’s panicking so much as to induce a heart attack. Then you try to think yourself into a heart attack. It’s just not possible. After a while your mind starts trusting what you are teaching it.
- Take a rational perspective. Let’s say for example that you have a fear of flying. You may want to ask yourself how air travel compares to other modes of transportation. Studies have consistently shown that air travel is the safest form of travel and is much safer than traveling by automobile. so, if you feel safe in your own car, it stands to sound logic that air travel will be much safer.
- Don’t try to be perfect. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. The better we can understand, and adopt that reality, the less these things in your life will become issues. It will help reduce stress, which leads to clear thinking.
- Visualize a happy place. Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a safe and warm place. That place could be out in nature or, in bed snuggled up with your cat or, a happy childhood memory. Let the positive feelings and energy soothe you until you feel relaxed.
- Talk about it. A support system, or network, is a very vital tool to facing fears. Talking out loud with someone about what you fear can take some of the scariness out of it, as well as help you not feel alone or alienated with your fear(s). These support systems can be through family, friends or professional avenues.
- Go back to basics. It is important to stick to the fundamentals. Things like dietary intake, sleep, exercise, and healthy communication are nonnegotiable.
- Reward yourself. When you have finally faced your fear and crawled through that spider infested crawl space to get that old box of photos, reinforce your success and treat yourself for your accomplishment. No matter how you reward yourself, what is important is taking the time to reward yourself. This is creating a healthy habit.
In facing your fears, you allow yourself to broaden your potential and live a happier, healthier and longer life. That is good news for you and for the people in your life. If you require more assistance in dealing with your fears, contact Can-Am Interventions or, other mental health professionals.
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