Fear is a natural emotion. A very natural one, in fact, as it’s come from the hindbrain. The subconscious automatic part of ourselves that is designed to help us survive. Fear can be useful as it gets us out of potentially dangerous situations or can prepare the body to cope with them in a way that means survival is more likely. However, when fear blocks you from fulfilling your full potential in life, it became problematic and needs to be dealt with. With this in mind, you will find some techniques to help you do just this discussed below.
A life dominated by fear isn’t a very pleasant one, and as a response to this many of us push our fears down and hide them away. However, this is likely to result in difficulties with anxiety and depression because it’s a very difficult trying to be in constant control of our inner emotional landscape. An alternative to this is to allow such sensations of fear while meditating. Meditating is a simple activity where we direct the attention gently towards the breath. It’s expected that certain thoughts, feelings, and sensations will come up including fearful ones and during the meditative process, we acknowledge that they are there and we just return our attention to the breath.
The benefit of such an exercise is that we learn to accept our inner experience and also not to put too much stock by it. Yes, we can be afraid, but we can choose to not act in line with that fear and do the things that will help us fulfill our potential anyway. In this way, we neither push away the fear sensations or let them dominate our lives.
Another useful strategy for dealing with fear in our life is to practice a skill like Ericksonian hypnosis. This is a process of finding a positive emotion, one where we feel confident, happy, and calm and transferring this to a situation that we may be struggling with.
For example, you may have a lot of fear about visiting the dentists to get that root canal done, but with Ericksonian hypnosis, you can recall and anchor a time when you were calm and in control to use during your dental appointment. Thus allowing you to do what needs to get done with less discomfort.
Lastly, another useful way of dealing with the fear that is preventing you from doing things that are important to you in your life is CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is primarily a way of reframing our thoughts to remove some of the fearful charges from them. The idea is that we identify the automatic thoughts we have in a fearful situation such as: “I can’t do this,” “I’m too afraid,” “I can’t take the pain,” and “what if it goes wrong?” Challenging these with a more balanced view.
It’s not about removing the fear completely and kidding yourself that you are OK with something that is a little scary, but it’s about having a more realistic, less distorted view of the task ahead of you. Something that can make doing scary things a lot easier.