How to Combat Your Fears

4 Mar

“The key to change… is to let go of fear.” –Roseanne Cash

I’m not a big fan of flying. Actually, I’ll be specific, I hate take-offs. In recent years, I’ve become so anxious about take-offs that I become quiet and skittish hours before a flight. If I have an early morning flight, I have trouble sleeping. If I have a flight in the evening, I can’t concentrate on simple tasks during the day. My fear of flying (or take-offs) is just like any other irrational fear, it’s been put in place as a protective mechanism of some sort. My sub-conscious reasons that by pumping out anxiety about take-offs, I’d probably hesitate to travel, keeping me safe and sound on the ground. But if I had listened to my sub-conscious I would have missed countless Christmases, weddings, adventures and graduations. Basically I would have missed out on life. While fears are often put in place to protect us in some way, it’s important that we figure out ways to confront the fear and move past it, if not we run the risk on missing out on life. Here are four tips for tackling your fears – whether they are big or small.

  1. Identify your fear – in order to properly confront a fear, you have to first understand what it is and why it’s there. Do you constantly doubt your talents and feel you’re not good enough? Your fear of taking risks may be protecting you from rejection and failure. By not trying, you’ll never get rejected, right?
  2. Prepare for the fear – a large part of my uneasiness about take-offs is the loss of control I feel. In order to combat this I prepare to the best of my abilities. I make sure I have my iPod and my books and my stuffed hippo, Tubbo (more on him later) ready to go. If you’re afraid of public speaking, make sure that you practice your speech and are prepared to field whatever questions may arise. Preparation takes away a lot of uncertainty and may ease some of your nerves.
  3. Be realistic about your fear – I know that the odds of getting into a car accident are far greater than those of being in a plane crash. Ask yourself “what’s the worst that can happen?’ Usually, it’s nothing you can’t handle. If it helps think of the worst thing that can happen and then prepare for that. Now you have no real reason for the fear.
  4. Comfort yourself about your fear – I travel with a stuffed hippo named Tubbo that I literally squeeze the stuffing out of during take-offs. It’s silly but it really helps in calming me down if my nerves get too frazzled. Learn how to soothe yourself when confronted with your fear. The sooner you learn to comfort yourself, the sooner you can move past the fear and start living life.

We all have fears so remember to be compassionate with yourself about your own. And like with anything, practice makes perfect. So practice confronting your fear. The more you stare your fear in the eye, the less scary it becomes.

I’m actually practicing confronting my own fear right now – I’m typing this post from 30,000 feet up as Tubbo rests peacefully in my lap.

Do you have any irrational fears? How do you practice moving past them?

Until Next Time,

Nailah

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