4 Ways to Let Go of Fears
Anxiety can cause many different feelings, including a sense of fear. The emotion encourages you to proceed with caution in potentially dangerous situations. But when fear crops up in response to situations that hold little to no danger, it can affect your quality of life.
Fortunately, treatment can help you overcome your anxiety and the sense of fear that may accompany it. Connect with mental health professionals through Confidant to develop a treatment plan tailored to you, your symptoms, and your goals.
In the meantime, try these tips for when you feel afraid.
Understand Phobias and Irrational Fears
When you are calm and unafraid, use logic to determine if your fears have a basis in reality. Anxiety typically stirs up irrational fears -- ones that don't make sense when you pause to think about them. For example, many people feel afraid of spiders even though the average house spider poses no threat to human health and safety.
Likewise, the thought of getting on the phone causes many people to feel anxiety, fear, or panic, but talking over the phone is harmless. Think about the worst-case scenario for your concern so you understand whether or not it represents a genuine threat. The next time you start to feel afraid, remind yourself of the facts.
Re-frame Your "What If?" Thoughts
Fear commonly makes us think, "What if something bad happens?" Anxiety and worry make it easy to imagine a hundred different terrible scenarios to justify your fear. To combat these thoughts, ask yourself, "What if this goes well?"
What if you enjoy yourself at that party and end up meeting new friends? What if you make a great impression at that job interview and get offered your dream job?
Positive thinking represents a powerful tool that can stop the fear and worry in its tracks. Practice it as much as possible -- even when you don't feel afraid -- to make it even easier to generate positive self-talk when you do feel frightened.
Face Your Fears
You have to face your fears to reduce or eliminate them. It takes courage, but you're far braver than you realize. In a matter of seconds, you can replace the feeling of fear with one of pride and accomplishment just by forcing yourself out of your comfort zone.
If "face your fears" sounds easier said than done, start by getting organized. Take a moment right now to jot down some of your biggest fears. What holds you back from enjoying the quality of life you want?
Next, break each of those fears down into "less scary" actionable steps until you discover an easy thing you could do in the next 24 hours to build your confidence and squash your fear. For example, if the thought of driving a car makes you feel afraid, you can practice getting into the driver's seat and turning on the car. Once you feel less fearful, consider backing the car out of the garage or to the end of the driveway.
Or if you are afraid to talk on the phone, try something straightforward -- order a pizza. The more you practice, the faster you'll make progress.
Fear doesn't have to rule your life. A combination of treatment for anxiety and things like positive thinking and facing what makes you afraid may be all it takes to improve your quality of life.