Fear is a normal reaction that helps people avoid dangerous situations or encounters. In instances where fears, you experience physiological responses — flight or fight — that support you in making the safer choice.
The physiological arousals that accompany fear include tensing of the muscles, increased blood flow, rapid heart rate, and more. Your body’s physiological responses aren’t enjoyable, and you may be overwhelmed with emotions. And, as we grow older, facing our fears may become more complicated.
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In this article, we shall explain ways to face these. But first, it’s essential to understand the difference between these and phobias.
Fears vs. phobias
Understanding these concepts is vital in finding a better way to tackle your fears. These and phobias are closely related. However, the significant difference is the strength of your responses and the degree to which it impacts your life.
Phobias are persistent, irrational fears that aren’t usually based on present or upcoming situations. For instance, a person with a snake phobia may spend too much time thinking about snakes, avoid nature walks, or become too afraid to function correctly.
Both fears and phobias can affect your daily life. So it would be best to motivate yourself to overcome them.
How to face your fears
1. Evaluate your fears
It’s in human nature to avoid things that make us scared. So in the evaluation stage, you have to introspect and know if such fears should be faced or avoided.
Remember, some fears are ideal. For example, it may protect you if you fear going out in a dangerous place at night or dashing past speeding cars. But specific ones grow in your mind, causing more anxiety whenever you encounter the situation or object and hindering everyday productivity.
2. Take time out and breathe
Anytime you experience that flood of emotions overwhelming you, you can take a 2-3 minute break and sit with your fear. Speak to yourself encouragingly like you would speak to a troubled friend “Yes, I feel bad now, but calmer times are coming.”
Deep breathing is also helpful in many situations that involve anxiety or anger. Huge deep breaths may promote calmness and help your mind relax to cope with panic. It goes hand in hand with mindfulness because once you take the time to analyze and understand your fears, you can find solutions.
3. Take it as a teachable moment
The truth is, whatever your age, you’ve conquered countless fears to be where you are. From childhood monsters under the bed to adulthood fears of starting life on your own.
Also, people mostly become wiser from bad experiences. So, ask yourself what is this scary moment teaching you. And what’s the worst that can happen if you face it?
4. Do a little research
Sometimes, a little research can be an eye-opener when overcoming your fears. For instance, if you fear dogs, you can research the number of dog-related incidents in your area. Chances are the probability of encountering or being harmed by something you fear is slim to none.
If you are helping someone with a fear of something, don’t dismiss or force them to do something because you think their fears are irrational. Yes, the chances of being bitten by a shark are slim but don’t force your child or spouse into the water. Instead, let them make slow progress or research the answers by themselves.
5. Don’t try to be perfect
Most of us would like life to be predictable so that we see the dark times coming. Or at least the ability to overcome every moment without worry. But life is full of surprises for everyone. So don’t go for perfection at the start; make the first stride, do something about your fears, and you’ll perfect it along the way.
Humor is also an excellent tool when conquering your fears if you can make light of the situation or crack a joke when sad, why not.
6. Seek a therapist
If you can’t face your fear alone and it’s taking a toll on your well-being, find a reliable therapist. Most mental health specialists or therapists are adept at treating fears and phobias through cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and more.
Step by step, they will help you conquer your fears.
It’s better to overcome your fear rather than avoid it. But do it healthily so that it doesn’t become a traumatic experience. Also, don’t forget to appreciate yourself when you succeed.