Release the Fear
There’s so much that can be said about Fear and there are thousands of scientific articles written about it. At its most basic level Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger. Physiologically, it’s crucial to our physical well-being and without it, we would set ourselves up for all types of dangerous situations and real threats. However, sometimes the scenarios we imagine become irrational fears, those that are not likely to happen and cause unnecessary worry, stress and bad decision-making.
A definition that I often use when discussing FEAR is that it is False Evidence Appearing Real. I first heard this years ago and think it adequately describes Irrational FEAR, the type of self-limiting beliefs we feed ourselves everyday that are counter-productive to positive action and an optimistic outlook on life.
Many types of Fear have a basis in past negative experiences we have been through. Example: If situation X was really bad the 1st time we experienced it, we make the correlation that experiencing situation X will produce the same result next time. I encounter this with my patients quite often. I’m amazed at how calm kids are when I have to give them injections for things such as removing a foreign body from their foot or administering local anesthesia to remove an ingrown nail, while adults are usually the ones who take much more convincing because they’ve often had previous negative experiences that have translated into Fear moving forward.
Fear holds us back. It causes anxiety. Fear wastes our valuable time. Fear is stressful. Most of the things we have irrational fears about never actually happen!
Here are some steps to help you overcome irrational fears:
❐ Identify It – This involves figuring out WHY you have the fear in the first place? Was it a previous experience? Does it stem from something you heard or saw happen to someone else? What triggers your fear?
❐ Name It – Naming your fear removes its power! Write the fear down and eliminate the confusion surrounding the exact fear. Many times simply admitting out loud that a fear is irrational allows you to acknowledge it as such…irrational.
❐ Rewrite the Story using faith in the positive, instead of fear, as your fuel – The possible negative outcomes to any given situation are usually what drive fear. So, instead of imagining the negative outcomes, re-write the story using possible positive outcomes. Every time the idea of a negative outcome pops into your head, counter-balance that with a positive affirmation instead. Refuse to allow the negative energy to manifest in your psyche….it’s too large an emotional burden to bear!
❐ Fight Fear Consistently by addressing it head on – Immersion therapy is a method commonly used to help people overcome irrational fears. This involves placing people in the exact scenarios that scare them so they can experience the fact that the irrational fear actually never manifests. Another way to address this is to take any given situation and say, ” Yes, Negative Result “X” May happen, but Positive Result “Y” is also an option.
❐ Attract Positive Situations into in your life and leadership roles by putting positive energy into all you do – If you believe in the law of attraction, this makes complete sense to you. It essentially mean this–> If you are constantly fearful, doubtful and have a glass half-empty mentality, negative energy is what will return to you. Moreover, if you live and lead with confidence and a positive, glass half-full outlook, positive energy is what will return to you. The impact of many of the situations you encounter on a daily basis boils down, in large part, to the outlook you have on them! (Tweet this)
Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.