Overcoming Fear and Taking Bold Action


  Overcoming Fear and Taking Bold Action

Take a deep breath, step out of your comfort zone, and take action.

We often find ourselves in situations where fear is keeping us from making things happen or preventing us from following our dreams. Fear can make you stagnate and miss opportunities for future growth which could potentially change your life for the better.

How do you conquer fear?

Holding yourself back because of fear is a common issue that almost everyone faces at one point or another in their lives — but whether through avoidance, ignorance, inaction, or perhaps even unconscious patterns inherited through the generations — it's never too late to change this pattern.

In this post I'm going to share a few tips that helped me overcome my fears and take bold, decisive action.

What is Fear?

Fear is the feeling or emotion that typically occurs when we perceive a threat or danger. It's a basic survival instinct that keeps us on our toes, and it is absolutely necessary for us to stay out of dangerous situations that might cause bodily harm.

Our body responds to fear with chemical reactions that help us either fight off the "threat" or run away from it, allowing us to survive as a species. For example:

Our heart beats faster to transport more oxygen to our muscles for a quick, powerful response in the event of a physical threat.

Our breathing rate increases to bring in more oxygen, which can help us fight or run for longer periods of time.

We sweat more to cool off and better maintain body temperature if we have to exert ourselves.

While these reactions are helpful in the short term, they become problematic when they occur as a result of situations that do not pose a threat or danger, such as an upcoming business presentation or an argument with our partner. Our body's natural response to fear can be damaging if we are in a situation where a "fight" or "flight" response is not necessary — and it can even be deadly.

When our bodies react to fear, we can become shut down, unable move past these emotions and take action. Fear can lead to avoidance behavior, physical illness, depression, and even death.

So how do we overcome fear? Here are a few tips I've learned along the way:

Understand Fear

The first step you can take in overcoming your fears is to observe your own thoughts and emotions. When you feel fear arising within you, pay attention to the way you are thinking about the situation that has brought up these emotions. Are you making assumptions about what might happen in the future or telling yourself stories that make this situation seem impossible?

Our minds have a tendency to be very creative and imaginative — sometimes even exaggerating our experiences for dramatic effect. This is actually quite common during our conditioning as babies as well — it's called "seeing in order to be seen." The idea being that you can hide from them so they won't be able to hurt you.

This instinct still exists in adults, but we must learn to use it for our own advantage and put the brakes on its tendency to distort reality.

Be Mindful of Your Thoughts

It's important to understand that your mind will naturally fuel your fears with emotion and exaggerate their intensity. We may think things like: "I don't have enough money," "I'm not talented enough," or "she's too hard to get along with," but these are all just thoughts, not facts.

The first thing you should do when you notice yourself becoming overcome with fear is to stop and pay attention. Are you telling yourself a story about what might happen in the future? Once you've become aware of this, change your perspective and think about the situation more objectively.

For example, if a friend asked you to meet him at your favorite coffee shop at 2pm, but it's currently 2:15pm and he hasn't gotten there yet, chances are he isn't coming. Try not to get caught up in him being late — instead, recognize that he isn't coming (even though he hasn't let you know yet) and move on from this situation with a positive mindset.

Stay in the Present Moment

When we are feeling fear, it's because we're imagining a possible future outcome that may or may not occur. Try to quiet your mind and focus on the present moment, rather than worrying about what might happen later. Imagine how you would feel if you were able to spend this time and energy on something positive or productive instead of being stuck in the past or worrying about the future.

Get Perspective

Ask yourself: "what is the worst that could happen?" If you're concerned about a situation at work or with your relationships, reflect on what might be the biggest consequences of whatever fears have been bringing you down. This can help put things into perspective and bring some comfort to your worries.

Answering these questions can help you realize that there is no need for you to be afraid. In most cases, whatever might happen will not be nearly as dramatic or terrible as your imagination leads you to believe. Even if things do not work out the way we planned, we will always have the benefit of knowing we gave it our best shot instead of sitting back and doing nothing.

Stay Mindful of Your Breathing

Staying in the present moment is easier when you're mindfully focused on your breathing pattern. When you're imagining all kinds of dire outcomes, your breath tends to become shallow and ragged. Our breath is often our first and only connection to our body, so paying attention to it can help us stay present and receive strength from within. When you notice your breathing becoming shallow or irregular, bring your attention back to the present moment.

This exercise can be used in a variety of ways — as a way of manually creating the conditions for mindfulness; as a mindful meditation practice; or simply to bring some awareness into any situation that has been giving you trouble. With practice, you'll find that you can feel more relaxed, confident and capable when dealing with difficult situations.

-Sarah Algom

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I'm a 17-year-old high school student who is passionate about writing, politics and pursuing a career in the arts. I try to be as open and honest as possible and my goal is to empower others to gain the same sense of strength that I have found in myself. Feel free to contact me through any of the contact methods listed above! Also, make sure to check out "What's Up?" (my blog) for more updates on my journey as an introvert.


How do you overcome your fears and manage your stress? Please share your insights with me in the comment section below.

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More information about this article can be found at Positively Positive .

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