Fear is a negative emotion that appears when we feel danger. Knowing how to face fears is important because it can stop us from achieving our goals, small or big ones. It is a paralyzing emotion that can be transferred to aggressive behavior or lead us to act like a victim.
There are many different reasons why fear occurs. It can be trauma, phobia, bad memories and experiences or some sudden situation we do not expect.
However, it is not easy to fight fear as it is in our nature and it is one of the survival mechanisms that follow us from our ancestors.
Fear is not only an emotional response but also physical. When we perceive danger our body responds accordingly. The physical symptoms of fear can be different which almost every person has experienced at least once. It can be increased heart rate, trembling, pain in the chest, high adrenaline levels or sweating. Obviously one cannot fight this type of biochemical reaction as it is in our nature.
On the other hand, we have emotional responses to fear which varies from person to person. Some people control fear more than others. For example, people who like extreme sports and love high adrenaline, perceive fear in a different way. However, there are people who fear specific animals, for instance, and they cannot control this fear. Basically, fear can be positive or negative at some point.
In this topic I will not be able to help you with traumas or phobias to fight the fear however from my own experience, there are many other harsh situations when fear takes place and stops us from taking action.
Fear of change, fear of doing something unusual that is better for your future, fear of getting out of your comfort zone, fear of expressing yourself or being yourself around people, fear of not being good enough or fear that you do not look great as you lack self-esteem.
Fear can paralyze your actions and thoughts and leads you to failure.
There are the things I have experienced and I wish I knew back then how to control all of these. Now when the amount of fear has reduced I know for sure what I can do to reduce it.
Related: Quotes About Fear
Let’s see what are some small steps you can take today to face your fears:
Analyze your fears
In order to know what you need to work on, the very first step to deal with your fear is writing. You can write down the list of fears that always stop you from doing something you really want. Write every single detail because even the smallest fear is important. If you will not be able to remember everything, take your time, there is no need to hurry.
You can also try to remember the situations when you had to face fears. Remember how it felt like and why specific fear occurred. Where does this fear come from? Who or what is causing it? How does it make you feel? Most importantly, try to be as objective as possible.
Create a plan to fight fears
Once you identify your fears in more detail, come up with the ideas and plans on how you can face these fears. Ask yourself what would help you at that moment the most. What actions you can take to reduce that emotion. Maybe there is a person who can help you to reduce the fear at the specific moments or any specific thinking patterns.
Do not avoid fear completely
While you are trying to analyze your fears or learning how to deal with them, never try to solve this problem by just avoiding it completely. You should not wait until your fear gets worse. Avoiding something will not help you to move forward in your life.
If you fear, for example, that you might be left behind in your romantic relationship and it is affecting your daily life, do not wait until you do something that worsens your relationship. Do not wait until the issue resolves itself. Because the chances are, it will never happen.
Very often, when I fear something, I start plotting and planning what will happen next. And the more I think about it the worse my fear gets. This type of thinking will never help you to face your fears. Stop imagining and planning things that are out of your control. You cannot control everything in your life and that is fine.
Remember situations when you tried to plan every single detail, did everything work out? Of course not. Especially when there are other people involved! Yes, you might try very hard to act exactly how you planned but you cannot plan others’ actions. Accordingly, you cannot plan how you will react to the reaction of other people.
Change your perspective
We love to dramatize things. If you ask someone what is your worst fear and for what reason, they might get stuck on the second question. Sometimes we have no idea why we have this fear.
Ask yourself, is that really as bad as you perceive it? Are you at risk because of this fear? Will it do any kind of physical damage? What will happen if you expose yourself to it as if you do not have fear? Do other people survive this type of fear? Try to analyze your fear from a different perspective. Maybe it is not as bad as you think?
There are many things that we fear and it made us a strong person. We became more resilient and we learn from it. Fear is not always something negative if you learn how to perceive it from a positive perspective.
Stop being a victim
Facing fears is not an easy task, on the other hand, acting weak and victimizing yourself is not an option either. Sometimes we are scared of the feeling itself and we start denying everything and acting as if we cannot control anything. This leads to more fear eventually. Understand that you are not a victim and everything is in your hands. Your emotions are yours and you can control them.
Confront your fears
The key to facing fears is having the ability to deal and fight with them. We all have the ability to confront our fears as long as we let ourselves. In order to be successful and happy, sooner or later you should be ready to face your fears and not allow it to ruin your life. Once you analyze your fears and create a plan to fight it, you can start taking action. There is no need to confront something big.
Start with something small and step-by-step learn how it works the best for you. Face your fears directly, whether it is a specific person that you fear or situation. Understand that fear is just a feeling and the way of thinking, which can be changed. Once you get comfortable with one fear, continue practicing and gradually you will manage to confront the fear that makes you unhappy.
Distract yourself physically
Whether you are having fear symptoms physically or mentally, physical distractions can do wonders. Maybe it will not help you long-term however it will be a great deal for some time. There are many options you can go with.
If you want to live a healthier life go out and exercise. The more physical activity and attention are required, the better because you will not have time for your fears. You can also try to exercise with your friends if that helps, or go out for a walk, practice yoga, boxing or just ride a bicycle.
Find support to face fears
Not many feel comfortable sharing their negative experiences and seeking help. Your friends are supposed to be by your side even when something is going wrong not only when you are having fun. Same with the family. Do not hesitate to ask for some help and do not assume it is a sign of weakness.
We all need support and encouragement from time to time. I am sure you would support them if they were not feeling okay, so you should expect the same from them. Find one person that you trust the most and open up. Share with them your thoughts and discuss your fears. Maybe they could even find a solution for you.
Act “as if”
Acting “as if” mean pretending that as if this and that happened or is happening. So, let’s say you fear a specific situation and you have to go through it again. Instead of being stressed out, as usual, act as if everything is fine. Imagine you are playing some role in a movie and you have to act in a different way, not like your usual self. Next time fear occurs again try to pretend that you are a different person and you are not scared of this situation. It might be difficult to last long but once you practice a little more, you will start noticing the result.
Acting as if might sound silly however it does work. I have used it many times and not only to face fears. When I am stressed or in a terrible mood I pretend as if everything is fine, I smile to myself in the mirror, I tell myself everything is great and it already affects my mood in a positive way. Give it a try. It might feel uncomfortable and strange at first but after a few tries, you should get used to it.
Visualize being fearless
Visualization is the process of creating a mental image. It is one of the great practices to face fears as you have the possibility to imagine anything you want. Visualize a situation where you feel the fear and imagine that you are completely a different person. Imagine that you are fearless and confident. Picture yourself in action, how you react, what you are doing, how you are feeling.
To make the visualization process work more, imagine every single detail, what you are wearing, who you are with, how it smells or feels. Visualization is a difficult practice at first, however, if you practice it daily at least 5 minutes, you will notice some progress. If you have trouble visualizing yourself, there are plenty of guided visualization videos that help you to create images much faster.
Affirmation is a practice of words that is essential for rewiring your subconscious mind and changing your thought patterns. There are many ways to practice positive affirmations. You can write them down, pronounce them out-loud, listen to affirmation audios and so on. For me listening and repeating works the best.
You can find many affirmations to face your fears or you can create your own. Most important about affirmations is consistency. If you do it only once a week that will not help. You need to spend at least 10-15 minutes on it every single day. Also, note that it takes time. I needed more than a month to see results, however, it is individual.
Fear is something that can be changed and directed any way we want. It does become a pattern as we age however there is nothing impossible. Your fear is in your own hands, you simply need to find the ways to fight it.
You can fight fears with different practices like acting as if, visualization or affirmations. You can face fears by writing about them and creating an actionable plan to act accordingly.
The most important thing when you want to change something in yourself is belief, courage, and consistency. Do not fear the change as it pays off eventually.