We're all human; therefore, we all have fears. Some of us fear death; others fear being alone, while others fear social situations. But fear is a normal part of life! It's what protects us and keeps us safe. There are times, though, when fear can hinder us and stop us from enjoying life and experiencing new joys.
When your fear starts to limit what you do in life, you need to conquer that fear. Does your fear of flying stop you from traveling to visit family members or prevent you from taking the vacation of your dreams? What about socializing with co-workers after work? Have you turned down social invitations simply because you were anxious about not knowing anyone in the group?
If your fears are stopping you from taking advantage of the new opportunities in your life, then it's time to regain control of your life and disallow your fears from paralyzing you. After all, you can't live in a bubble! It's time to start living your life instead of watching life pass you by. Try these three simple steps to get rid of your fears.
1 Identify Your Fears
Get a piece of paper. Write down exactly what you're afraid of. It doesn't matter how long the list is, whether it has one thing or 15 things on it.
It doesn't matter if these fears sound irrational. No one needs to see the list other than you. This is about you taking control and getting over your fears.
2 Figure Out Why You Have The Fear
Try to remember a specific incident that might have caused the fear. Maybe your fear of flying intensified because you've been on a turbulent flight. Maybe your fear of dogs stemmed from being bitten as a child.
If you've blocked out these memories because they're too painful to remember, a professional can help you reach those memories and decipher their meaning. A professional can also advise other forms of treatment, such as hypnosis or the emotional freedom technique (EFT). Now, the hard part begins: overcoming or conquering these fears. Be patient and be prepared to do some work because, just as the fear took time to manifest, it will take time to conquer.
3 Take Baby Steps
In the movie "What About Bob?" there was a therapist who had a patient who was afraid of everything. The therapist used the "baby step" approach with this patient to gain more confidence and eventually overcome the fear, which means taking small steps one at a time. What would your baby steps be? It depends on your fear.
If you're afraid of social situations, slowly start going to different events or small groups in very open environments, then transition slowly into larger gatherings. The purpose here is to prove to yourself that there's nothing for you to fear. Socialize with a small group of friends you already know, and polish your social skills among people who already know you. You have less to lose and won't feel like you must say the right thing at all times. If you're afraid of dogs, take this same approach by visiting a friend who has a dog; small dogs are much less intimidating, although they might bark more frequently; if your friends don't have dogs, ask your local vet's office or animal shelter if you can visit.
Fear of flying is much more difficult to conquer because of the expense, but you can look into hypnosis. Also, some airports or flight schools might have classes in airplane simulators that help you feel like you're in an airplane. That type of plan will take more research but will open the world to you.
Fear is what protects you and keeps you safe. By facing your fears and finding a way to overcome them, you will open up your life to many more opportunities. Take control of your life and take action!
Jackie Wing is an Alaska native, who enjoys snowboarding more than is probably socially acceptable. She lives in Anchorage with her two dogs Reese and Peanut, or as she likes to call them "Thing 1" and "Thing 2."