Fear is the core source of any emotional illness and directly leads to anxiety, self-doubts, negative thinking, depression, wrong decisions and any self-limitations. Its basically the only thing thats stopping you. If you are scared of something for a longer period of time, your fear turns into automated thought patterns and behaviours that may lead you to avoid situations or into defence mechanisms that distract your perception of reality.
The reason why your are struggling with yourself, why you stopped dreaming big and why you don’t dare to live your dream is not because your not intelligent or creative enough. It is also not because your not good enough or because you can’t do it. It is because you let your fear win. You actually have lots of good ideas, but you are too scared to act them out so you rather stay in your safe comfort zone instead of creating the life you want to live. That’s not just me saying that, but evidence from many different studies.
Whether you are scared of the unknown, of death, of flying, of failure, of breaking out of the social norms, of quitting your 9 to 5 job, of doing what you want, of leaving your relationship or of speaking up for yourself…we all know how it feels…it sucks and it holds us back from what we actually want.
Fear can take two different paths in the brain: The short cut and the long way. The short cut activates your fight or flight response, where your logical thinking is shut down and you instinctively react. When fear takes the long path in the brain you can still think logically, but you automatically try to consider every option that could possibly happen. Imagine you hear an unknown noise at home, that wakes you up in the middle of the night. If your fight or flight response kicks in, you would expect the worst case scenario and automatically jump out of bed to protect yourself. If your fear takes the long path, your alertness kicks in and you automatically think about all the different options that it could be before you actually act out on in.
Either ways your thoughts take control over you, but it should be the other way around. If you want to win the mental game, you need to learn how to control your fear mechanisms. Positive thinking alone doesn’t help. You actually have to take action and reprogram your brain. But a positive mindset is definitely key and a requirement in order to dare to become active.
To overcome your fear follow these 3 Steps:
- Define your fear
- Reprogram your brain with different thoughts
- Rebuild the neutrons in your brain by taking action in direct opposition to your fear
For example: when I moved to Australia I had to overcome my shark phobia, because I really wanted to learn surfing. I followed the steps and became stronger than my fear. I realised I wasn’t actually scared of sharks, but of the pain, if I would get bitten. I defined my fear as ”I am scared of physical pain”. I reprogrammed my thoughts with: “The chances of getting bitten by a shark are way lower than having a car accident”. I know this isn’t the most positive thought, but it helped me personally to get a better feeling about my shark fear. So you really have to reprogram your brain with those thoughts, that help you to feel better and less anxious about your fear. I took action by going into the water a little bit further and longer each time. I also tried to consciously focus on something else than sharks to keep my mind off my fearful shark thoughts. Taking action is the hardest, but most effective part.
The whole process doesn’t happen over night, but everyone can learn it in every circumstances and any fear. Your brain is a muscle, so you need to train it. Only persistence creates existence. If we never learn how to reprogram our brain to overcome our fears, we will never be able to be successful with our missions in life. You are stronger than your fear!