7 Life Changing Tips for Overcoming Fear
(This is the 6th piece of the FREE Life-Changing Tips Series, which I have been putting together over the last few months. You can find links to the rest of these life-coaching articles below.)
And now it is time to slay the ultimate dragon….FEAR. Can you imagine a world without fear? How would it be different if nobody experienced fear? How would your life be different if at least YOU learned to eliminate fear from your life?
Sure there are reasons for fear. It helps an organism survive. It keeps us from doing stupid things like walking on the very edge at the top of the empire state building, or borrowing money from the Mafia.
But to a large degree fear is completely unnecessary, without reasonable substance. I may even go as far as to call most fears irrational and illogical. This is based on an understanding of what fear is, how it affects us, and how things work without it.
I encourage you, whoever you are, to question your fears at all times, and use these tips to realize a life lived without it!
#1 Learn to Be Present
Perhaps you’ve heard the old acronym description of the word fear:
F - future
E - expectations
A - appearing
R - real
Isn’t it so true that one of the largest causes of fear comes from an expectation of things to turn out poorly in the future? We get worried about the conversation we have to have, or whether or not the interview is going to go well, or whether or not our romantic partner is going to keep loving us, or if so and so is going to be mad at us for ____ the next time we see them.
The great thing is that all of this future-based fear is nothing more than a mental construct, an illusion that you have created through your line of thinking. You have the choice at all times to completely drop it, and stop thinking about it. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Worrying and fretting about the future never helps. In fact, it can often times make it more difficult for you.
How many times have you worried and worried about something, only to find out after it’s finally over with, that it wasn’t nearly as bad as you thought it would be? Sure some things are unpleasant, but often times the worrying and fear that precede it are unnecessary, and usually more unpleasant than the actual affair itself.
Learn to be present at your own choice. At any moment, there are three places you can be in your mind: the past (which can also be a contributor to fear); the future; or the present. I promise you that the present is where you want to be. When you are fully in the present moment, there is nothing to fear. The whole universe is different in the here and now. There is beauty all around, and there seems to be a silently permeating voice that whispers “everything is all right”.
It can be quite easy for anyone to become present at any moment. Take a few deep breaths and reconnect with how your body feels. Pay close attention to what you are doing, whatever task you’re performing. Not only will this bring you into the present, but it will also improve the quality of your actions. Give the people you are with your full presence and attention; listen actively and closely. Communicate consciously on every level. Notice the details of what is going on around you; expand your situational awareness. These are just a few of the many ways you can bring yourself back to the present.
Really, the present moment is all there is, and it’s a beautiful place to be. You can transform your whole life, and accumulate a lot of other great benefits from practicing this regularly.
PS: Regular practice of meditation is one of the most effective ways for training yourself to remain in the present moment at all times
The breath is an incredibly valuable tool. Through its proper use you can do all kinds of amazing things. Just breathing alone can release negative emotion and energy, increase mental clarity and physical vitality, bring your attention back to the present moment, and bring your consciousness into higher levels of awareness.
In terms of eliminating fear from your life, the breath is your most accessible means of changing your state from one of fear and anxiety to one of relaxation, confidence, and peace of mind. A large cause of fear is the biological “fight or flight” response. Whenever we are faced with a threatening situation, or even with a situation that is misconceived as a threatening situation (and this misconception happens a lot to the modern human being), the body almost instantaneously tenses up, releases adrenaline into the system, and restricts the breathing mechanism.
The end result of this hair-trigger reaction is fear and anxiety, possibly anger, and the redirection of all mental faculties to the physical activities of either fighting or running away.
By learning to breathe deeply, evenly, and consciously in the face of fear and anxiety, you immediately begin to reverse the fight or flight response, and replace it with the relaxation/acceptance response. The added oxygen to your brain brings its full capacity back to the frontal lobe and areas associated with intelligence and reasoning. The added oxygen to your muscles and body releases tension and allows you to relax again.
By practicing this regularly, you can instill it as an unconscious habit, and then, before you know it, you’ll be automatically taking deep breaths in times of stress or anxiety, which will greatly decrease the amount of fear you experience in your day to day life.
Mastering the power of the breath is in fact a life-changing skill and the central subject in my Complete Change Your Life System.
#3 Eliminate Stressors in Your Diet
Eating consciously is very important. Many people have no understanding of the full extent to which unhealthy ingredients like artificial sweeteners and preservatives can affect their mental state. Too much sugar, artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and high fructose corn syrup, too much caffeine, and too many carbohydrates can all cause a great deal of anxiety, fear, and stress to you.
One very simple secret that many public speakers and other performers know is that eating healthy lean protein, and minimizing carbohydrates, sugar, and caffeine before a presentation is a great way to keep themselves calm and confident when faced with a high-stress situation.
I would urge you to take a good look at the bulk of what you are eating/drinking every day and ask yourself if it may be affecting you emotionally. This may sound overly basic but I promise you can make a big change with some simple diet adjustments. I’ve seen this work for people over and over again.
#4 Atune Yourself to the Truth
The deepest truth of our reality is that all is One. There is no exception. You and everything else is included in this oneness. Because of this, you are infinitely safe and abundant. You are also eternally invincible and permeated by the most powerful and profound Love you could ever imagine.
Usually our day to day experience of life is far removed from this truth, but through dedicated practice, and a desire to experience this truth, one can realize it, and draw strength through their connection to it. This is certainly something that you must experience to fully understand.
The majority of the spiritual paths on the planet today can lead to this experience. Certain forms of Yoga have been the most instrumental in my life, but there are people I know that have attained this understanding through Christianity, Buddhism, and Judaism as well. It is more about the practice, desire, and dedication than anything else.
And again, regular meditation is also one of the easiest ways to bring about an experience of this happy truth.
#5 Maintain Focus on the Positive
You mind will go wherever you direct it to. It can be easy in today’s society to unintentionally focus on negativity when there is just as much positivity to focus on instead. Your moment to moment focus will determine your overall perception of the entire world, and your own life. It can be easy to feel like you are trapped in a scary, heartless, hopeless world if you spend more of your time thinking about the downside of things rather than the positive. It can truly shape your whole world-view.
On the other hand, if you make the small effort it takes to help direct your thoughts to the happy, compassionate, positive, and beautiful aspects of life, you will maintain a happy, peaceful and positive outlook on life and the world around you. Forget fear. Be too busy thinking about happiness, beauty, friendship, love, and anything else that makes life worth it to you.
There are a lot of things you can do to help keep your mind in alignment with joy. Play music that uplifts you. Minimize TV time, or at least be more selective about what you watch. Include more comedy and less drama. Stop watching the news. Look up things online that make you happy (or check the Images to Inspire section on this site). Put up pictures of beautiful things in your home, or display inspirational quotes. Anything you do makes a difference!
#6 Know Where you Are Going
Not knowing where you are going in life or what you can expect in your future can lend to fear and anxiety. You have the power to direct your own course to a large degree.
Set goals! Take the time to imagine things you want to accomplish, skills you want to learn, places you want to see, and things you want to have.
One exercise I like to do is to sit down with four sheets of paper and a pen. On the top of each piece of paper is a different title. One is My Home. One is My Work. One is My Body. And the fourth is My Relationships. Then I’ll just write everything that I can think of that I would like to do, have, or be in each of those areas.
Once you’ve gotten in touch with what you want for yourself, set some goals. They don’t need to be overly ambitious if you don’t want them to be. Just make some basic ones and have them in a place where you will see them regularly. Make them measurable so you can see yourself moving in the direction you have designated for yourself. Once you accomplish them, make some more.
Doing this will give you the realization that you have the power to direct your future, which will minimize the fear that can come from not knowing what will happen to you as your life progresses.
#7 Come to Terms With Death
This is a big one. It can also be a controversial one. One of the most fascinating books I have ever read on the subject is “The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker.
The large majority of us are in a certain sense of denial about one of the most undeniably proven facts of our existence: we all will certainly face death one day. This is a deeply unconscious thing that, once uprooted, provides a path for a HUGE degree of freedom from fear. It can be hard to fully explain how profound this is. Again, it’s one of those things you’ve just got to experience to fully understand.
In a basic sense, this has to do with the large amount of fear we experience strictly because we are human. We are still biologically wired as animals, with an insatiable urge for survival. Really, in terms of the biological organism, the absolute worst thing that can happen is death. The fear of death is behind many of our fear reactions as human beings, even hidden within fears that would seem to have no connection. Aside from biology, there is also the fear of “what happens to me when I die?” along with other deeper questions.
The bottom line is that death is inevitable, and there is a large degree of release from fear that comes with the acceptance of this fact. If you are really looking to go on a journey of growth and expansion, I recommend exploring this concept further.
There are many spiritual and philosophical opinions that would designate fear as the number one enemy that we face in our life. It can stop us from succeeding, from taking the necessary risks to become wealthy, to shy away from making friends and reaching out to people to form relationships. It can contribute to us making rash and unkind decisions in the relationships we already have. Really, it can be found as a part of the root of any negative or limiting belief, thought, or decision.
And yet, it is not nearly as big as it may sometimes seem. Fear is simply a product of our mind. And it is not the only product, nor does it have any more precedence than anything else, and no justified use or reason to be dwelt upon. So use these tips and tricks to forget about it! It’s amazing how fear can simply “cease to exist” if you are not holding it in your mind. This is your birthright!
You have the ability, and the natural inclination to live free of fear in peace, joy, abounding love and success. Your life is meant to be an adventure. One that is safe, secure, enjoyable, intense (in a good way), and full of discovery and excitement. Do not ever let anything or anyone convince you otherwise. Through your holding on to this ideal, you can achieve it.
I wish you the best, and am always here to help and support you in any way that I can.
Here are the other articles from the series: