The number one rule to conquering fear.
‘Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will’ – thanks to Suzy Kassem for this quote. A little blunt, but sadly very true.
The one thing that can stop us from living the life that we want, is fear. It destabilises us, confuses us, makes us mess up at work & in our relationships and stops us from having the things in our life that we know we deserve.
So, how to we destroy fear? Well a good place to start is by not making fear the enemy or something to destroy. Eckhart Tolle says ‘whatever you fight you strengthen and what you resist persists’. As with all pointless battles in life, if we fight something we can’t learn from it.
So what can we do? What’s the number one rule to conquering fear? – understanding it, it’s the only way to go. If you want to have more power over your fear you must learn to understand it. Psychologists call this the confidence to competence model. Once you know & understand something – you’re more confident with it.
For example my dog Giacomo doesn’t understand fireworks, they terrify him so every so often I play a youtube video of fireworks so he becomes more confident with the sounds through understanding that he’s safe & they’re not a threat.
There are 4 things you MUST know & understand about fear to become confident with it.
1. Fearlessness does not exist. Unless you are unconscious or have a damaged brain it’s impossible to be free from fear. It’s hardwired into your DNA. Sorry.
2. What is this emotion fear anyway? Our brain is like a living computer that is specially programmed to look for & assess threats to our safety. Which is great, it keeps us alive. A little area of the brain called the AMYGDALA gets stimulated every time that computer senses a threat, like if a wild animal is running towards us. This stimulation causes our breathing to get faster, Our heart rate to increase, our blood pressure goes up & we begin to produce the chemical adrenaline in the body.
The issue is that in the modern age, unless there’s been an escape from a zoo nearby, it’s highly unlikely that you will experience a wild & dangerous animal running towards you. But your brain is still programmed to look out for for wild animal danger. Another issue of the modern age is that fear is something that is now in your every day thoughts, it’s something we think about, a lot. Which takes me to number
3. Worrying. Why do we worry so much and have fear on our minds so much of the time? According to research there is a biological benefit to worrying. Our brain thinks it’s helping us. Worrying actually relaxes the AMYGDALA by refocusing on & stimulating another part of the brain – the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is responsible for decision making. You brain thinks that taking action – even if that is in the form of worrying – is better than doing nothing. In short you worry to trigger and motivate and inspire you to DO something, to take action. Which takes me to
4. The importance of taking action. And here we go, This is the biggest trick to conquering fear. The number one rule – Taking action. Any action towards what you want will calm your fearful brain. Action reduces fear. It’s as simple as that. And the action doesn’t need to be huge, it can be the tiniest step forwards and your mind will thank you for it.
The next time you feel fear ask yourself – What action can I take to reduce this fear? Do I need to prepare something better, do I need to sleep more, talk to somebody, move my body, have a glass of water, learn breathing techniques, make a plan to reduce stress in my life, meditate, listen to music, watch some comedy?
The only thing that works effectively to reduce fear is understanding it & taking action.