We all experience fear of some kind — usually announced by that voice in your head knocking you down or making you doubt yourself. “What will happen when I die?” “Will the plane stay in the air?” “I am too old, too fat, too insecure to ask for a raise, speak in front of a crowd, or socialize at a party.” Here are four words to change your outlook: Fear is an illusion. Relax, face the fear, and move beyond it using these six suggestions.
Just do it.
For many, simply facing the source of fear can eliminate it. To empower yourself and show your fear who’s boss, take Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice: “Do one thing a day that scares you.” Once you’ve proven to yourself that you can indeed do what you thought was impossible, you’ll be surprised at the surge in confidence that follows.
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Accept your fears.
Steven C. Hayes, a professor of psychology at University of Nevada-Reno, developed a technique he called ACT — Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. In practice, ACT uses mindfulness to help people accept difficult emotions such as fear by breathing deeply, observing and acknowledging the sensation of the feeling, and letting it go.
Get tips on incorporating mindfulness into your life >>
Meditation is a proven method of improving mood; it can even change brain function for the better. To use the power of your mind to conquer your biggest fears, find a quiet moment to be still, and to recognize and make peace with your fears.
Check out this meditation exercise that can help you cope with negative emotion:
Some say it is impossible to feel fear while you’re filled with gratitude. To start cultivating an attitude of gratitude, just look around you. Is the sun shining? Are your children healthy? Is your almond butter on toast super-delicious? Start a gratitude journal and jot down everything for which you’re thankful.
Get more ideas for making gratitude a part of your everyday life >>
Get professional help.
If you’ve tried but failed to conquer your fears through these methods and others, consider professional help. If ACT appeals to you, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science offers a searchable database of ACT therapists from around the world.
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