When we experience fear, it can leave us feeling fragile, weak, uncertain and frustrated. However, our fears are actually amazing opportunities for us to be just the opposite. When we feel fear, we are in fact receiving an invitation to ACT, to grow, and to expand our thinking.
Fear presents us with two choices. We can run – however our fears always find us again – or, we can turn to face them, snuggle up to them, get REALLY friendly with them and explore every facet of what they have been sent to teach us. When you turn fear into your friend instead of your enemy, you will set yourself on a path to achieving more than you could have ever imagined.
Have you ever found yourself overcome with an amazing idea that you’re really excited about but then found yourself procrastinating, putting it off, and eventually talking yourself out of it? That’s fear doing the talking! If you let it, it completely takes over, pushes your enthusiasm right out of the way, and stops you from pursuing your dreams.
SO, how do we overcome all of this? There are several ways, all of which once you begin to use regularly, are extremely effective. Below are 7 simple tools I use, with clients and in my own life, to overcome fear whenever it crops up.
Listen! – Fear is an invite to the most exhilarating ride of your life in terms of your personal growth. Don’t shut it out. Otherwise it’s like an annoying child constantly whining on repeat in the back of your head. It will really grind you down if you don’t manage it. So instead of ignoring it, let it in and listen to what it has to say.
Breathe – When I become fearful or nervous I have to access my deepest possible breath. As soon as you begin to take deep breaths, you regain a sense of feeling grounded and spacious and let go of the tightness in your body that fears can cultivate. Breathing deeply begins to lower your blood pressure, calm your nervous system and brings an acute sense of clarity to the mind. It’s much harder for fears to be so vocal when you’re centred and calm.
Walk Straight Ahead – If something scares the complete crap out of you, it usually means you should go for it. So walk straight towards it, put your hand up and volunteer yourself, but most of all, have fun and play with it. If you had told me I would become a yoga teacher a few years back, I would have laughed in your face. I wanted to quit the training 3 days in, and the overwhelming fear I felt before leaving became so bad I had nightmares and considered not getting on the plane, but it was the greatest adventure of my life in terms of where it led me to next. If I hadn’t faced my fears head on, I would never have achieved so much.
Swap fear for curiosity – Instead of supressing your fear and viewing it as a monster in the cupboard, get really curious as to how you can use it as a tool in your life instead. A good way of doing this is to use opposites. Take the ‘worst case scenario’ for your situation, or the most negative statement you have in your mind that surrounds it. Write it down on a piece of paper. Then find the complete opposite of it, so the most positive outcome or statement. Write that one down on another piece of paper. Now look at both sheets of paper, read them out to yourself, and notice how excited you are by the positive one, and how ridiculous the negative one sounds now it’s written down and you’ve said it out loud. This will help you become more curious than fearful about how your next steps.
Challenge Your Beliefs – our ‘beliefs’ are often a set of rules that we have been conditioned to believe by our family, friends, partners, colleagues, society, etc. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of our fear comes from because we go through life listening to these ‘beliefs’ thinking that they are correct, and not acting in a way that is actually aligned with what WE believe in. To overcome your fears, you have to start challenging these beliefs and changing them. This can be done by tuning into your intuition more. Take two pieces of paper again, but this time, one represents your current feelings and situation and one represents your future situation and your feelings. On the first piece of paper, write down the following questions and answer them:
What am I thinking or believing about this situation?
How am I feeling?
What am I doing?
On the second piece of paper write the answers to the same questions, but this time you are answering as if you have NO FEARS and you are currently experiencing your future ideal situation/life/best outcome. NOW ask yourself what you are aware of that you weren’t before. This is a great way of showing ourselves what limiting beliefs we might be carrying around. Look at your answers and see what isn’t serving you, and what you don’t need to BELIEVE anymore.
Use Positive Affirmations – If you don’t do this already it’s time to start now. Affirmations are a great way to change our habitual negative thought processes and lift the limits we so often impose on ourselves. Try writing things down that are the opposite of your thoughts, for instance, ‘I’m not clever enough to do that’ will translate into ‘I am extremely intelligent and capable of handling anything that comes my way’. If this seems like too much to start with, just try something simple like “I am strong, confident, successful and fearless”. Repeat these out loud to yourself every morning.
Listen To Your Gut – many of our fears stop us from moving forward because we simply can’t decide how we feel about something. We begin to ask other people for their opinion or look outside of ourselves for answers, when actually the answer is always within us. You have probably heard the phrase ‘listen to your gut’. Well that’s because our gut, or stomach, is literally our second brain and it’s where many of our fears manifest themselves. It’s a huge processing organ, and when something doesn’t feel good or aligned with us, many of us get tummy ache, IBS issues, etc. I had chronic stomach problems for years from stress and being trapped in a bad relationship, as soon as I dealt with these things, the mysterious health issues which no doctor had been able to identify vanished. So listen up! Your body is very powerful and is often trying to tell you something. Next time you’re frozen with indecision, tap into your intuition, get connected to your core and see how it makes you feel. If your stomach tightens, the thing you’re deliberating over might not be right for you, however, maybe you get a very nervous BUT excited feeling in there instead, like somersaults in your belly – now THAT’S fear to listen to and grab with both hands!
It takes constant work on yourself to overcome your fears, as new ones will crop up throughout your life, and it isn’t easy, but its work that’s worth doing every single day. So, how are you going to play with fear today?
This beautiful blog was written by Natalie Edwards who is a writer, coach, yoga teacher, and wellness and nutrition devotee. To find out more about her and her lovely blog visit: www.nateedwards.co.uk.