Are you dreaming of a life and success that fears and anxiety are stealing from you? If you know you could do and accomplish more — but can’t seem to get there — you’re not alone.
In fact, research indicates that more than 40 million adults living in the US are suffering from some type of anxiety disorder that’s holding them back from the life they deserve.
Here’s the good news, though:
Plenty of studies prove that facing your fears is a key to overcoming them.
Of course facing your fears is easier said than done for most people. However, taking that first leap can make you more courageous to overcome even more fears that are holding you back.
5 Tips to Overcome Fear and Anxiety
These 5 tips aren’t magic, but if you implement them into your life and routines you will quickly begin to see a difference in anxiety levels and how you approach life.
1. Overcoming Fear is Easier With a Friend
Let’s face it: Anxiety is about as personal as it gets.
If you’re overcoming a fear of swimming it’s easy to have someone with you while you learn to swim. They can talk you through the moment and show you techniques.
But when you’re dealing with anxiety it may be difficult to include someone into your episodes.
But here’s what you can do about your anxiety:
Instead of going it alone and keeping it to yourself, choose someone you can trust, and let them know what’s going on with you.
You could call them when you’re in the middle of an anxiety attack. Or you could share all the intimate details of the delima when you get a chance.
Just keeping a running dialogue about how it feels, when it happens, and what steps your are taking to stop your anxiety with a friend works wonders.
You might even be surprised that your confidant can relate to the problem of fear and anxiety more than you thought. And either way, having a friend to encourage you and cheer for you will be a great help.
2. Learn to Boost Your Own Confidence
One way to boost your confidence when staring down a fear is to remember all the other brave things you’ve done in your life.
However, waiting until you are in the middle of an anxiety attack or fearful situation is not really the best time to start boosting your confidence.
Train BEFORE the battle — not in the midst.
The best time to get started is when you are at peace and have some alone time. You can either sit and mentally go over every smallest thing you’ve ever done that was scary, or make a written list.
Think about anytime you’ve ever set a goal, large or small, and followed it through to achievement.
Go over the list above and put the tips into action. They may sound silly or trivial, but they work.
Don’t just do this once, but several times a week — every week. You will be surprised how much your confidence grows in every area of your life when you ponder on the accomplishments of your life.
Previous acts of courage (even the smallest feats of success) will go a long way toward helping you face your next fear.
3. Admitting That You Are Afraid
Most people have a habit of dismissing fears and merely relegating them to the back of their mind. This way the fear can be ignored as if it didn’t exist.
The problem is that what they are afraid of is also ignored. They merely find ways to go around what causes their anxiety to rise.
Don’t confuse ignoring and going around fearful situations with facing them.
When anxiety turns into an attack on your self — admitting that it’s happening is the key to overcoming it. Facing anxiety and trying to feel and locate the symptoms is the route to victory.
Learn how in this post:
Learning to practice mindfulness is a great way to acknowledge that fears exist instead of ignoring them.
With mindfulness you learn awareness of your surroundings along with how be in the moment and conscious of what’s going on with you.
Admitting you are afraid is acknowledging your fear instead of ignoring it.
This gives you a chance to meet and greet the fear. Now you can see where it’s coming from, if it’s real, and explore how it feels.
4. Keeping a Gratitude Journal
You don’t have to be a writer to keep a journal. And numerous studies assure us of the positive outcomes of keeping a Journal.
These same studies indicate that the people who practice gratitude:
- Are healthier physically
- Are more emotionally healthy and stable
- Sleep better
- Have more friends
- Enjoy higher self esteem
So the takeaway here is to keep a journal that includes you listing things you are grateful for — every day.
There’s having a momentary flash of something I am grateful for, and there is the time set aside to focus on the good things about my life.
Momentary flashes aren’t helpful at all, but setting time aside daily to think about your life and what you can be grateful for is a life changer.
But that’s not all you want to include in your journal. Take the time to write about any instances of fear or anxiousness you encountered that day and what you did about it.
If you ignored it, or faced it down and overcame it — writing the details will give you a chance to go over it mentally again and either:
- Reinforce positive behaviors, thoughts and actions that you see as useful
- See how and what you can do the next time fear arises to have a better outcome
- Or both
Journaling for me is writing without punctuation, paragraphs I don’t want, and merely letting my mind unload the events of the day. So, make it fun and fill it with everything you have to be thankful for.
Keeping a journal will change your life from thinking about negatives, fears, and anxious moments to being a positive and thoughtful person.
5. Exposing Yourself to Fears
Some people don’t wait around for something scary to get in the way?
As soon as they realize they have a fear of something, somebody, or doing something — they run toward it.
Maybe you find yourself afraid of heights, so instead of shying away from those situations you could do something like sit on your roof for awhile.
Most of us aren’t controlled by the fear of heights though?
Instead, it usually winds up being things like public speaking or merely standing up in front of group of people to explain a concept.
So, for some of us it can be just as terrifying to speak to a group of people as jumping out of an airplane.
Here’s a list of the most common fears:
- Public Speaking. Public speaking is sort of a catch all term that is really much broader. There are plenty of people who don’t succeed in school because they panic at being called to do anything in front of 20 close friends. So, it’s really the notion of being the center of attention.
- Heights. The fear of heights might be even more prevalent than public speaking. And where some people suffer panic attacks from the thought of flying, others can fly but not climb a 6 foot ladder.
- Drowning. These are people who at the thought of large bodies of water begin thinking of themselves in a drowning situation. They have a lot of terrible and irrational fears of what could happen and what’s in the water.
- Being trapped in small spaces. People who suffer with claustrophobia can go into extreme hyperventilation, sweating, shaking, and more at the thought of being trapped in most any space. This fear takes their minds to fears of being trapped with no way out.
- Fear of success. This is a real fear that many people suffer with and never completely realize they are in it. They continue on in work and financial positions when they could be much more successful. They become so comfortable in their surroundings, that they experience anxiety attacks at the thought of change and if they can measure up to new heights.
The sky’s the limit when you start thinking about fears that control people’s lives?
However, whatever your own fears are the best way to get over them is to use the steps listed in this post and then find a way to dive straight into the middle of what you are afraid of.
The truth is: there’s no way to overcome any fear without facing it, and wading in to it.
You can find a friend, keep a journal, learn to boost your confidence, and freely admit you are afraid in an all out effort to prepare yourself to meet your fear.
But only when you partake in what you are most afraid of will you ever realize and know for yourself that life is much better without fear and anxiety.
What about you? Got any fears that you faced and found out how much better life is now? Tell us about your own anxiety and fears in the comments below.