She could hear her beautiful baby crying but the snow in the doorway could not move. The crying was very bad and she knew that unless she comforted the baby soon the baby would be helpless, and yet her feet would not move. He did not look at the bed but on the floor in front, where sat a poisonous furry monster…. .okay it was a UK spider so it wouldn’t have killed him at all, yet his body was frozen as tears rolled down his face. “What a useless mother you are” she scolds herself.
That bad mother was me 14 years ago. My fear of spiders was uncontrollable for many years and I was in a phase where I would not open the newspaper until my husband read it and removed the spider pictures. I hated homes with wooden floors or sliding boards because all the wooden knots could be a spider that would crawl across me.
When I became really nervous, I tried to get out of the moving car. Apparently this harmless 8-legged creature had great power over me but now that the fear is gone, I will never like spiders but I will not leave the room for one and I can read the word without hesitation come out and cry.
If you think fear is absurd, what about the fear of going to airports? Or afraid to ask for help?
Today I want to look at how our irrational fears affect us, how they can destroy (and I don’t use that word lightly) our success. They can damage our health and prevent us from living our lives. And then I will share the benefits of fighting that fear and most importantly how you can fight your fears.
How Unjustified Fear Affects Your Health
The absurd thing to fear is that we are not willing to look. It makes us feel unworthy, weak, and powerless because we cannot do the things that everyone seems to be doing. That gives fear of power.
Fear loves negative emotions and eliminates yours which makes your fears bigger and worse and more powerful. It is not good to say a little. Fear can cause us to:
Avoid situations where you may have to deal with that fear. Escape parties, new jobs, new experiences where we are not sure we will be able to defend ourselves.
We stopped him from sleeping for fear of something we feared would “catch us at night.” For me this was great, and I stopped sleeping which had a big impact when my job was to look after the baby and the baby. I felt half dead most of the time!
Feel sick with stress. Depression can be the cause of poor decisions. Drinking alcohol inappropriately, eating chocolate because it makes us feel better, the long list of excuses we hold so we can avoid the cause of our stress.
Create stress as our minds overpower negative thoughts of inadequacy. This can damage our confidence. As I have trained thousands, I know that insecurity often contributes to the success of many people in all areas of their lives.
Danger that seems distant or arrogant because we will not participate like other people. Our fears can even separate us from our personal and professional lives.
Feel paralyzed. Needless to say, this fear may seem absurd and should not be present in the outside world but for the patient it is debilitating. Even affecting their leadership potential, love life, hobbies, travel and personal and professional success.
Why Bother Fighting Fear
Couldn’t you just make sure you live your life in such a way that you don’t have to deal with your fears?
I had a client who was so scared to fly that they couldn’t even take their partner to the airport, one who had avoided public speaking for more than 20 years but now that their work was high they had no choice, what would you do? What? There was one who would never ask for help and another who was afraid of people finding out who they really were.
All of these fears and many more can be fixed but only if we can see the benefits of fighting fear.
Let’s look at the benefits of dealing with your fears:
If you are going to change the way you do something, something that has affected your life, thoughts and actions for years, it can be hard to believe that change is possible.
The first thing you need to do is give yourself a big reason why. Go back in your life and remember all the times when this fear was there.
I can still see the spider stuck in my hair because it was obviously in my hair. I also remember that I probably looked funny in the south of France wearing my underwear down the line crying and brushing my hair everywhere. The poor spider was not only swallowed a long distance from my head but was probably destroyed in a plane.
Remember the feelings, actions, negative emotions you felt after that, to me it meant that every time I picked up a hairdresser I could see a spider creeping towards my ear in my hair. Guess how that helped to strengthen my reaction to my irrational fears?
Know the fear. It hurts so much that you probably notice your heart racing, your shoulders shrink and your mood changes. That fear causes a change in your body, doesn’t it sound good, does it?
When unreasonable fears are challenged and destroyed, they can have no power over you. So new opportunities can come to you and instead of being afraid that people will think of you as your choice, you can open up;
For financial security
She is happy
She is healthy
The list is long, so what can you do to remove your fears?
How to Cope With Your Unreasonable Fear
In my book Fight the Fear: How to Beat Your Negative Mindset and Win in Life, I list 12 of the greatest fears I see affecting success and happiness. Not all of this is obvious but it all has far-reaching effects on our lives.
Here are some ideas to help you fight your fears and get the most out of your life:
Why Did It Happen?
For some people they really need to know why the fear started, for others you need to get rid of it. If you need to understand your own, don’t skip this tip. Learn how your fears are made and appreciate where yours came from. If you don’t care how it got there, you can jump to the top 2.
I’ve seen some clients who aren’t ready to look at how to get rid of fear until they understand how it got here in the first place. It is not my place to tell them what is right or wrong, just to help them find the right steps to lead them on the path to happiness.
When fear begins, we do not allow fear to take over our lives. It is only after a few moments that we begin to realize that there is a strong negative feeling associated with this “thing”. That is the fear that is allowed to grow because as human beings we have built-in responses that keep us safe throughout our lives. This means that we are designed to detect fear and run or fight, any of our bodies jumping into action that creates the body’s responses to the visible threat.
Look when you first notice rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, handshake, and redness. You have created an automated way to deal with this fear. It may have seemed logical to fear this because it had an unpleasant consequence, or it is often the case that your head is real and your heart is not ready to hear it as it creates a kind of event that is more frightening than it actually was.
Learning to remove emotions and feelings will help you change your body’s response. The first time I overcame the fear of public speaking, they told me that it was physically closing their throat, and I wondered if it was possible in words to change our bodies? The answer is yes! For the tools and techniques I share below.
A Tool to Fight Your Fear
From the many people who have contacted me after learning the Fear of Fear from my clients, I know that I myself make the right tool. This is not a bag you should carry physically. This is about learning tools that really come in handy so that when you feel that fear is starting to affect you, you are ready for your kit to take it.
I don’t have space in one article to share all of those tools so let’s visit a few:
- Why Am I Afraid?
Creating a two-page handwritten document on why you’re amazing can help. This document will be full of success, achievement, overcoming adversity and all of that will be filled with positive emotions, actions and feelings. It is not easy to write, and I get a lot of messages that tell me but it is a powerful reminder that you can stand up and accomplish it.
- Draw Your Feelings
Earlier we looked at how unreasonable fear can harm every aspect of our lives. If you were to follow a bad wind down you could follow a good wind up again.
I draw individually with clients and with each action, thought or feeling we put an arrow between them. Each arrow is an opportunity to do something different. If we know that irrational fear is a natural way of thinking, then we can begin to see that we need to think, act or feel differently. Top Tip 3 will help with that.
- Acknowledge the Need for Change
It is not easy to change, and that is a belief held by many. The top 4 tips can help continuously, but with this tip, remember that when you want to do, think or feel differently, you have already achieved the first step and that is to see that something has to change (you don’t need to know what). But if you are unsure right now if there is something different you want to do, this story about Nancy can help you find it.
Then it’s about acknowledging it. That means not only accepting but feeling that it is yours that you can take and change.
Then for 2 weeks, decide you won’t let the thought be in your head. Often there are bad thoughts allowed to grow in your head. At this stage, just say “No I would like you to stop.” After 2 weeks choose a new thought that you would like to hear in your head, either “I can handle scary situations” or “I’m stronger than I know”.
There will be times when you fail. Don’t blame yourself because that’s another bad idea that allows your head to process it. Just start again and at such times read your list “Why I’m so good”.
- Choose Your Words Carefully
I have heard many clients tell me “It will be difficult to change” “I do not remember a time in my life when I would not be intimidated” or “This is a lot I have to ask”. Any thought that gives strength to your fears takes away your strength to fight back. Therefore, choose how you state your goal to overcome your fears carefully.
Think of thoughts like “I remember when I got xxxx and that reminds me that I am very strong and able to do more than I am proud of”. (Take your xxx why I’m a good writer.)
- Believe That You Have Control
Only man can control what we think and feel. I know it may sound like other people are touching us, but they can only do that if we give them permission to do so.
If you really think about this for a while, do you realize that you have the right to think and hear whatever you want right now? I am sure you will not choose pain, fear or anxiety. So, what can you choose to think about your fears?
- Set Body Reminders
For each activity, I can find fear, work through it and build a toolkit of thoughts, feelings and actions that will help them fight that fear and remove it. For some, they do not need material help; others do.
For example, a CEO who was intimidated into speaking out but could not handle a conference call with 300 without thinking twice, thought the microphone was a phone when they spoke in front of 400 people to help reinforce the good ideas and ideas we created.
Or a client who is always worried that they are cheating and “someone else can do this better” is posted on the wall of their office a cloud of tags of all the words that make up their “Why am I scary” document.
So they had a daily commemoration. They were well qualified for the job and could do it. These daily reminders come down to one important point – they helped you get into the Loop Loop.
What are your visual cues that remind you that you can overcome this?
- Physical Support
Music, nature, and even smell can affect us. You know the music that makes you feel alive and ready for anything. Try aromatherapy oils to feel confident and strong. Even choose a place where you work or clothing to give you energy.
Changing these things physically and giving them physical ideas in action can help rejuvenate your attitude.
- Don’t Go Alone
The fear of asking for help is real (and there is a whole chapter in my book) so I know people are struggling hard with this. The fact is, we all need people. We are not alone in construction and as a result it can be difficult to admit that you have fears that affect you.
However, sharing your fears with a trusted friend, coworker or loved one can mean that when you feel scared. you can talk to someone. You may be sharing with them the contents of your toolbar and requesting their permission to be added to it. That way they know what works for you and how they can best support you.
It is not a sign of weakness to tell people about your fears. It takes a lot of energy to say, “I’m scared of you, and I want to get rid of you.”
- Get the Body
One of the reasons why fear may increase is because we have already accepted that answer. Our body reacted in a certain way, once again repeating that behavior and becoming a well-established habit accepted.
Challenging fear can be done through our bodies and when we understand that fear is actually a way of responding within our bodies. We don’t need to understand what’s in our brains or what chemicals are running through us to use our body to help us challenge our fears.
While I was writing my book, the Cuddy Superhero pose was confirmed and challenged by various investigators around the world 3 times. Whether real or not, the truth is the way we stand, the way we breathe and the pace we speak that can affect us and those around us.
If you are afraid to speak in public or you are afraid of people thinking you are stupid or afraid of what people think you can look at the way you speak, stop and move. When you compare it with people you see confident and happy in these situations, what do you look like? What can you learn?
The study around placebo reassures us that if you find yourself working, then move on! What can you use to help strengthen your strengths and fears?
A little fear can be good. As the famous man once said:
“It’s not fear, it’s power.”
Although I have a complete hatred for public speaking 10 years ago, I now love viewers but I have a living level of fear. That level of fear is “Are you well prepared?” “Do you know your audience?” “Did you relax your voice?” “You want to bring these listeners what they need” And those thoughts make sense.
So as you reduce your fears, be aware of a good level of fear.
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