Fear is a potent emotion. It can cause people to falter, give up, and allow opportunities to slip by them. Perhaps it can even stop someone from being able to live life to the fullest. Life would be so different if everyone stopped allowing fear to be their guiding force.
If you find that you are often held back by fear, then there’s good news for you: you can break free from this mentality! Here’s how experts reveal 6 ways to overcome fear and live life to the fullest.
1. Stop Looking For Negatives
There will always be negative things in life. People who live in fear often hold a spotlight on those negative things, using them as a reason to not step out of their fear. You might even actively seek out bad things as a justification for why you’re too afraid to live fully. Here are some ways you can stop looking for negatives in your life, according to life coach and author Chris Ellis:
Small stuff will go wrong all the time, and little things will be out of place often. While some of them are worth your attention, the fact is that genuinely significant issues are ones with enormous stakes behind them. Small problems with small consequences often iron themselves out!
· Stop Looking For Things You Can Fix
It’s tempting to seek to improve absolutely everything in your life, claiming that you can only really move forward if you fix it all first. But not only is that impossible, but it’s also just unfair! There is beauty in being happy with what you currently have, and there is wisdom in knowing what to work on and what doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t need to keep fixing things before you’re worthy of success.
· Don’t Fixate On The News
You can and should keep yourself up-to-date on current events. But you shouldn’t use bad news – which the world is full of – as a reason to not live your life to the fullest. In fact, if news programming affects your fears significantly, you may want to cut down on home much of it you consume. Studies show that reading or watching the news can reduce positive thinking. So make sure you balance out your bad news with good!
2. Address Your Fears Directly
You cannot live life to the fullest when fears hold you back.
Many people try to ignore or even repress their fears, either in denial or to hope that they’ll go away. Of course, this isn’t something that happens. The more you bottle up your fears, the more likely they are to come out to bite you.
Studies have found that naming, confronting, and being honest about negative emotions can lead to the resolution of those emotions or even decrease their intensity. Basically, if you want to approach your fears in a positive way, you have actually to admit that they exist – and even address them! This can seem a bit frightening at first. Life coach and writer Elyse Santilli recommend the following methods to address fears directly:
· Hold Fears To Scrutiny
Find a fear that plagues you the worst out of all others in your life. Then, hold it up to the light of your mind. Talk to yourself about your fears – why do you believe this fear is true? Is that realistic? Can you know this thought is accurate? Are there other perspectives? What would the best version of you say?
· Compare Fears To Gains
Instead of focusing on your fears about something in your life, try writing a list of all the gains you could earn if you stepped outside of that fear. How will you grow? What achievements will you have? How much wiser will you get? You may find that the gains far outweigh all your fears.
· Reframe The Fear
Did you know that the human nervous system cannot easily differentiate between excitement and fear? So the next time you feel fear, change the narrative – you’re afraid, yes, but you’re also excited for the opportunities and the lessons you’ll learn from being brave!
3. Find Inspiration
When you’re overwhelmed by fear, your thoughts are governed by it. All you can see and think of is that fear and the anxious things you think will happen as a result. It’s time to break out of that and find positive thinking. How? Through inspiration!
Being inspired by the world around you reminds you of all the great possibilities that await you outside of your bubble of fear. Mentally Strong People Podcast host and mental strength trainer Amy Morin outlines these great ways to find inspiration in your life to overcome fear:
· Find People To Look Up To
Lots of people can inspire you in different ways. Some will have the perseverance that makes you strive to do better. Some have achieved goals that you want to reach. Others have tales of how they rose from the bottom. Finding a wide variety of people you can look up to is a great way to find inspiration.
· Find Support
Talk to people you trust and care about you and tell them about your fears and goals. You can also seek communities of people who are working towards similar dreams. Not only will the people in your life keep you accountable, but they’ll also be there to support you.
· Remind Yourself Why You Do It
Whenever you’re tempted to throw in the towel, stop and think about yourself and why you decided to go on this journey. Why do you want to achieve these goals? Why are you willing to do all that it takes? Write a list of reasons that you want to keep going and use that to inspire yourself. As it turns out, sometimes great inspiration comes from within!
Fears are part of your thoughts, and they take up a lot of your mental energy. Instead of wasting your thoughts on them, try and spin your beliefs to more positive ground. Here are some ways that counseling psychology expert, courage coach, and author Tess Marshall recommends you positively use your thoughts:
· Don’t Devote Excess Energy To Fear
It’s okay to feel bad sometimes. But there’s a limit to how much energy you should give to fear. Please don’t give it excess attention, time, or energy. Save all of that effort for finding solutions and living your life!
· Make Positive Thinking Dominant
Negative thoughts only attract more negativity. By making sure your dominant thoughts are usually positive, you’re attracting more positive thinking into your life.
· Think Of Victories
Whenever your fear gets to you, think of your achievements. Please think of how well you did, how capable you are, and how amazing it felt to succeed. Hold onto that and use those thoughts against fear.
· Don’t Get Stuck On What You Lack
You’re always going to be “missing” something in life. Instead of being caught up in scarcity, fill yourself with gratitude. Gratitude is known to work wonders on positive thinking, according to studies, so live your life that way and leave fear behind.
5. Make A Plan
So, you now know that you definitely want to leave fear in the past and truly live your life. Great! But how can you go about it? Morin recommends making a plan of some kind or listing down goals. It’s common knowledge in academic circles that goal-setting is crucial to positive success! Here are some tips for making plans:
· Make A Timeline
Generic goals like “I want to publish a book one day” are too loose and vague, and there’s nothing in them that boosts productivity. Create a general timeline of when you want to achieve different steps along the way to that big goal. “Someday” isn’t a definite time, and your fear can allow you to always keep “someday” in the future.
· Set Short-Term Goals
Breaking down big goals into smaller chunks is a great way to ensure that you don’t get overwhelmed. It allows you to easily follow a path towards success made up of small, easily noticeable checkpoints. Your fear will be less powerful when you can clearly see the progress being made.
· Look Before You Leap
Before you make huge decisions or take big risks, make sure you have a plan for what you’ll do in the event of failure. For example, you shouldn’t quit your job right away if a failure in your goals would render you homeless. Think about things and formulate a plan before going for your dreams. There’s a difference between being brave and being foolish!
· Take Steps Daily
Find ways to make little steps towards your goals every day. Turning goal progress into a habit helps relieve some fear as you see just how well you can work towards something!
6. Respect and Believe In Yourself
If you truly want to overcome fear, you must believe that you can, and you must value yourself enough to try. A lack of self-esteem and constant self-deprecating won’t get you anywhere. Here’s how Ellis recommends taking steps to respect and believe in yourself to overcome fear:
· Trust In Yourself
You’ve had your fair share of bad days and bad experiences, and yet you emerged through them all unscathed. You have overcome all the struggles of your past, and you can continue to break through obstacles and barriers, even if it’s difficult.
· Know Your Power
You have strengths, skills, and abilities that make you a capable person. So whenever your fear rears its head, remember how strong and amazing you are. Reassess negative thoughts about yourself – why do you have those beliefs? Isn’t it time to put them to rest?
· Know Your Worth
Over the past years of your life, you may have received many subliminal or even direct messages that degrade your worth. But no matter what anyone says, one thing remains true: you are worthy of love, success, of your dreams, and happiness. You, just as you are, are enough.
Life is beautiful when lived to the fullest. But fear, anxiety, and worries of all kinds can stop people from seeing that beauty. It’s easy to get lost in fear and allow such emotions to hold you back. You deserve better than to be trapped in one place forever. So step out of your comfort zone, face your fears, and go live the life you’re worthy of.