Fear. It can paralyze you, and it can consume you. It can further make you feel out of control, overwhelmed, and straight-up upset.
For some, they can even struggle to leave their home due to fear of the outside world.
Now, maybe your fears aren’t quite as severe. Yet, overcoming your fears could lead to an array of opportunities and experiences that you feel you’re missing out on, or at the very least, not fearing that “thing” could substantially improve your life.
So, what can you do? In this article, we’re going to dive into exactly what is happening in the state of fear and how you can use five powerful coping skills to overcome it and convince your brain you’re safe.
Anxiety and fear tend to go hand-in-hand. When you fear something, anxiety can build, leading to dysfunction in certain parts of your life. And fear isn’t useless. In fact, it can be really useful.
For our ancestors, fear was ultra-useful. In many ways, it was a means of survival. Fear is essentially an emotional response to something or someone that seems dangerous. It’s telling our bodies to get the heck out of there!
For example, fear drives you to run away from that bear when you need to. It helps you get to safety so that you survive. This is basically the sole purpose of fear: survival.
And fears can actually be really healthy. For example, if you don’t know how to swim, being afraid of deep water makes sense. If you fall in, you could end up in a pretty dangerous situation.
Then… there’s those other times where fear just isn’t helping you. In many cases, it can hinder you. For example, being scared of public speaking is common but it often only adds stress to a person’s life.
And then… fears can develop into phobias. Phobias happen when you’ve had an intense fear reaction. The amygdala in your brain actually keeps track of these reactions. and when that circumstance, object, animal, or person appears again, your amygdala triggers the fear response.
Again, this comes back to survival. You live and learn what is safe and not safe. Yet, the brain doesn’t always understand that certain things aren’t always unsafe. And this is where overcoming your fears is useful.
Fear is different from anxiety since anxiety is worrying about something that has yet to happen. Meanwhile, fear is an intense and immediate response to potentially present danger.
They are both very similar though. And in different circumstances, both can be useful or not.
The goal is learning how to control your fear with coping skills. These mechanisms can also be useful as coping skills for anxiety, helping you lead a more calm and peaceful life.
Related Article: 7 Easy Ways to Stop Anxiety & Chronic Stress From Ruining Your Life
Basically, finding a coping mechanism for fear comes down to convincing your brain you feel safe.
Your brain needs to know it’s in control, or at the very least, that you have control over something in your life.
So, next time you are feeling scared, trying using these coping skills:
This means taking deep belly breaths.
This naturally calms your nervous system, signaling to your brain that you’re a-okay. In fact, studies show that this is really all about controlling your breathing. In turn, you are telling your brain and body that everything is okay and you are in control, rather than simply letting fear take you on a wild ride.
Visualization is a powerful technique that you can use to achieve a lot in your life, including letting go of fear.
When you feel really scared (if appropriate), close your eyes. Imagine a place where you feel calm and content. The goal here is to engage as many senses as possible to really make the place feel real.
These are all important questions to fill in the blanks to so that you can truly calm yourself and your mind through this visualization technique.
Logic trumps our feelings every single time.
Your feelings are real. But you control your thoughts and behaviors, and you can easily do this by examining the facts.
For instance, if you’re scared of heights and standing on the edge of a cliff about to jump into the water but are paralyzed, think about it.
These are all good things to measure and examine before letting fear control your actions.
The truth is that we can never truly control everything.
Accept this at times and divert your attention elsewhere. Remember, fear is useful sometimes. Our brain can easily trick us into thinking we might die if we step outside of our homes but we know this isn’t true. At the same time, we know it’s not not true and that there is some risk.
Control what you can, let go of what you can’t.
This combines a few of the coping mechanisms above. So, fear has taken its hold. You feel it’s all-consuming. Here’s what you can do right away:
Babe Ruth once said, “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”
Gain back control over your fears.
It’s entirely possible. They don’t need to rule your life. In fact, you have much more control than you might think. Take it and use the above coping mechanisms to help you do so. You are more than the fear you feel!
May 25, 2022