There Is No Reason To Be Afraid: 10 Tips To Help You Manage Your Fear
Post written by Dr Carlo Carandang.
Fear can be looked at as a normal thing for a human being, as something that is necessary and manifests itself instinctively to protect us from danger. It’s a contextual matter, from one person to another and the causes can differ as well: some people are worried about the next day, some worry about their workplace while others feel that they are not fulfilled and that they will never succeed in life. Oh and the list goes on and on. We are living in a society that produces fear and brings it to the surface by giving us the impression we are not in control.
A research on the effects of limbic system arousal on prefrontal cortex functions (author Amy Arnsten) revealed just how important it is for the brain to be in control of a certain situation (source). When facing a situation we feel we can’t control, the brain loses its prefrontal function. The prefrontal cortex is transmitting us if we are in control of the situation or not. Even if we falsely believe that we are in charge, our cognitive functions are frozen. This is why fear comes out all of a sudden, without us being able to understand it.
Throughout my 15 years experience of working with patients I have always insisted on the fact that medication is not the solution for fear and that the cure is inside them. So I have come up with 10 useful tips that can help you let go of your fear.
Tip #1: Awareness
Be aware of what is the cause of your fear. Write down your thoughts and try to identify what exactly you are afraid of. Try to become an observer of yourself. Why are you afraid? What are you afraid of? What do you have to lose if you let fear get the best of you?
Tip #2: Try New Things
Be open to try new challenging things. Push your limits! Remember, fear is only in your mind and is only made stronger by your imagination. Once you fight it and take action, fear starts losing its power and its control over you. Ask yourself: How bad can it be if I try this new thing? What do I gain or lose if I try it?
Tip #3: Everybody Fails
Don’t be afraid of failure as failure is part of who we are and evolution comes by learning from mistakes. You have to understand that failure is not the end of the world and it is just a stage of life. Even if you fail, you will gain power and more knowledge because you have confronted your fear and conquered it. Encourage yourself constantly and set your mind on it.
Tip #4: Music Heals
Make a playlist of positive songs, songs that encourage you and make you feel more powerful. Get empowered by listening to them every now and then.
Tip #5: Encouraging Quotes
Take some post-its and write on them encouraging quotes and place them all over the house (on the fridge, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, fridge etc).
Tip #6: Eat Properly
Choose a healthy diet. Maybe this will sound unbelievable, but what we are feeding our body has a huge impact on our mind, our wellbeing and on our feelings. Sugary and chemical filled foods have a powerful negative effect on our mental equilibrium and moods.
Tip #7: Smile
No matter what, try to stay positive. Whenever a negative thought pops up eliminate it by thinking about a positive outcome instead of a negative one. Humans are created to have hope and they live with hope. Fear kills your mind and your dreams along with it.
Tip #8: No Negativity
Avoid watching the news and stay away from the negativity promoted by television as their goal is to make money not to think about your wellbeing.
Tip #9: Breathing Technique
When you are facing a situation that produces fear, try to control it by breathing deep and relaxing all of your muscles. When dealing with fear the brain transmits to the body that it should take a danger position, therefore the muscles get tensed, breathing becomes heavier and so on. If you are aware of that moment and take control of your own mind and body, relax your muscles and slow down your breathing.
Tip #10: Hope for the Best, Be Prepared for the Worst
Prepare yourself to know every step of what can happen. Once you have realized what your fear is, it’s time to deal with it. For example, before NASA sends astronauts for the first time in space, they recreate the day of launch and prepare the astronauts over and over until it becomes something ordinary. They get familiar with everything that might happen and is supposed to occur when setting off into space. This is the main reason astronauts appear so fearless, as they are in control. With practice, comes habit.
Also remember: courage does not mean lack of fear, it means taking control of what you want and reaching for it. The lack of any signs of fear would be out of the ordinary for us human beings, as it is in our nature. We have to acknowledge our feelings in order to succeed and to understand that we shouldn’t let our fears define us. The way we manage to get through them should reflect however an important trait of our personalities.
Dr. Carlo Carandang is a Psychiatrist, MD. He contributes on many medical journals and blogs at AnxietyBoss.com
photo source: thebreastcaresite.com