Fear has a way of making you feel both scared and paralyzed. Your self-talk can get caught up in a fear-driven spiral that makes success and happiness seem impossible goals. But there are steps you can take to get unstuck from your fears. Here are six ways experts recommend for overcoming fear.
- Use visualization
You can reprogram your brain by practicing seeing yourself as unafraid and successful. Whether you fear public-speaking, failing an exam or blowing a job interview, you can rewrite the script by imagining yourself doing those things calmly, competently and confidently.
Build a positive picture in your mind, and the fear will melt away.
- Practice being successful
Author Neil Gaiman talks about using this technique to get over Imposter Syndrome. This syndrome is the feeling that you’re not the person you say you are or want to be. Imagine how you would talk, move or carry yourself in a particular situation as if you were unafraid. Act as though you were already that brave, confident person.
- The Law of Reversibility
The Law of Reversibility uses psychology to set up a positive feedback loop. It says that if you feel a certain way, then you will act in a way that is consistent with that feeling. And it works backward too, so if you behave in a certain way, being brave for example when in fact you feel scared, the action creates the feeling. So, by acting bravely, this encourages feelings of courage and confidence.
Practice this over and over, and the fear eventually disappears.
- Face your fears
If you avoid or bury your fears, they will get worse. Denial feeds them even more. You’ll end up lying awake at night, needlessly gnawed by anxiety.
Conversely, if you face up to your fears and see them for what they are, you are taking control, which immediately diminishes their power.
- Write it down
Fears also grow if you lie awake at night, as they circle round your mind. Getting up and writing down your worries not only gets them out of your head, but you can also start to tackle them. Chances are they won’t look nearly as bad on the page as they felt in your head. And you can now start to plan to deal with them.
- Act on it now!
Fears create a paralyzing effect. Now is the time to choose how to deal with them. Make them simpler to tackle by identifying what’s worrying you and taking one small step at a time. Each success, big or small, makes it easier to achieve the next one. Before you know it, you’ll be unstuck from your fears and on your way to success.