Healthy Living

5 Ways to Manage Fear

Fear. That four letter word that can enter your life and stick around, even though you don’t want anything to do with it.

It doesn’t feel good to be anxious or scared. In fact, it feels the complete opposite of good. So, what’s the plan? How do you deal with fear when it creeps into your life? This is important to know because sooner or later, fear wiggles its way into everyone’s life. Even yours.

We all have things that trigger us. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel anxious every now and then and the cause is different for everyone. What sets me off might not impact you, and vice versa. My husband Jon, has an aversion to snakes that you wouldn’t think a man as big and tall as he is would have. I’m not crazy about heights. I know people who are terrified of thunderstorms, spiders, bees, vomit and tornadoes. Then there’s the fear of getting a serious disease, something happening to someone you love, or being in a terrorist attack. If you google phobias, you’ll see there’s a list a mile long with big words that describes the fear of virtually everything. For example, Amathophobia is the fear of dust. Seriously!

It’s not hard to find something to worry about.

That isn’t the issue. The issue is, what do we do about it? How do we live our lives and not let fear get in the way? What do we do when we start to feel scared and afraid?

Here are 5 ways you can help yourself deal with fear:

Identify what causes you to feel afraid.

You can’t work on overcoming something unless you know what it is that makes you feel scared. Once you determine what it is, you can then start working on how to deal with it. You have to be honest with yourself. Try not to be judgmental or put yourself down.

You can learn how to manage your fear.

Decided you’re ready to overcome your fear.

After you know what you want to work on, you have to decide to try and work through it. How do you do this? Often, this involves facing your fear and then realizing it isn’t as bad as you thought. For example, if you’re afraid of being in social situations, the only way you’re going to overcome this fear is to have positive social experiences. Allowing yourself to go to a party, and face the fear head on, will build your confidence. Sometimes, you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. It will take time, patience and work, but you can overcome your fear.

Be objective.

Fear doesn’t have to make sense. However, if you can step away and look at the big picture, it might make it easier to overcome. For example, are you worried about something that statistically isn’t very probable? Often, asking the questions, “what’s the worst that could happen,” will help you see that even if whatever it is you’re worried about happens, it will be OK. Keeping perspective will help you manage your fear.

We all grow up.

I’ve always been afraid of heights. Recently, I was in Switzerland, up very high (we’re talking over 10,000 feet,) and I realized I wasn’t really afraid. I just assumed I would be scared because in the past I’ve been fearful of heights. But, I had outgrown my fear. Don’t carry around a fear just because it’s one you had when you were younger. As we get older, we grow and mature, and it’s very possible your fear is part of your past. Leave it there!

Take action.

Journaling, talking to a friend or professional, exercising, and meditation are tools you can use to help manage your fears. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You can also focus on faith instead of your fear.

When you start to feel scared, instead of giving your fear power or thinking about whatever it is that’s causing you to feel afraid, try to think good thoughts. Look for the positive in whatever situation you find yourself dealing with, and try to be a glass half full kind of person. Living with gratitude can help you in so many ways, even when dealing with fear.

Remember, we all have things we worry about that cause us to feel afraid. Don’t be too hard on yourself or judgmental. Instead, help yourself work through the fear, expect good things to happen, and look for ways to build yourself up. You deserve it, don’t you think?

Find meaning each day,

Dara

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