How to beat fear
If you are battling severe and traumatic fears you should seek professional assistance. Fear is a learned behaviour and consequently can be unlearned, although this takes time, willingness and patience. Most fearful people think they are naturally or organically fearful, however the lifestyle effects of fear can be unlearned with the right methods. Fear is often connected to loneliness so learning to love yourself can be part of reconditioning. You can read more about this here. Start by reconditioning on a daily basis and cultivate love toward yourself on a daily basis.
In addition to seeking help, read books on fear and anxiety and journal every day to record your mood and see links and patterns between fears. Most importantly, do things which are normal and healthy that you might be afraid of, like making phone calls and socialising. It doesn’t mean you need to go to extremes, just be sensible and forge a relationship with someone you can trust and confide in. See our articles on loneliness and mutual support groups for more information about how to do this.
Learn to feel emotions
Fearing emotions is part of fear. Fearful people sometimes construct elaborate psychological defences enabling them to bury emotions in an effort to avoid painful memories.
Mindfulness meditation and other meditative practices are proven effective at processing emotions. Always remember that running away and avoidance of emotions causes further fear, anxiety and painful emotions. Meditation is absolutely crucial to beating fear. When properly done it can bring up a lot of intense fear which can be watched, felt and then released.
Terror management theory:
That is, some individuals can readily maintain awareness of their feelings, sensations, and environment, called trait mindfulness. When individuals exhibit trait mindfulness, they process information about themselves in a balanced, considered, and insightful manner. Because of this mindset, feelings of anxiety are not as likely to initiate a series of defensive responses. The usual responses to mortality salience, such as defense of worldviews and self esteem striving, will tend to dissipate.*
Meditation is a discipline like anything else and for fearful people stuck in their head it may take one hour a day for a year or two to start seeing proper results. Be patient and let meditation teach you.
Keep meditating even when things start to feel better, going deeper and deeper in spite of all external circumstances will teach you to find and rest in that place which is completely free of all external circumstances. This is the bedrock of peace and stability from which all love and loving actions grow and are executed, may you find and rest in that place for as long as possible on this earth.
Seeking a higher power
As a committed Christian I totally advocate seeking a higher power, meditating and praying with God. Getting on your knees and praying to God is one great way to beat fear. God provides an avenue of comfort from the fear of death.
One of the keys to breaking out of emotional pain is to look at the condition as a way to deepen the experience of life. This is hard as the cessation of pain and resumption of lost activities are first priority for most people. However there are benefits from being in this state if one allows oneself to learn and grow out from these states, look at this quote:
Specifically, after individuals reflect upon their mortality, they become more aware that life is scarce or bounded. Individuals tend to inflate the perceived value of scarce commodities or entities, called the scarcity heuristic (see Dai, Wertenbroch, & Brendl, 2008). Hence, after their mortality is underscored, individuals perceive their life as both scarce and valuable. They perceive their life as meaningful and satisfying. *
Scientists and some psychologists rationalise all belief in God as a way of coping with fear and anxiety as a crutch for the weak and something only vulnerable people do. I don’t believe that at all. Being in these states of vulnerability gives us a great chance of asking the large questions of life. Developing conscious contact with God empowers us in a completely new and different way, not just as a crutch.
Mutual and peer support groups are an invaluable base for articulating and working through fear, especially when social rejection and social fear is quite pronounced. The psychiatric technique of flooding, expositing yourself fully to fearful may work for some fears but for most people it takes time to build real and lasting confidence.
Connect with in your local area, join commit and watch how community and meaningful relationships begin to wash away your fear and loneliness.
Persistence and perseverance
Overcoming fear is not and easy or overnight process. There will be setbacks, road blocks, hiccups and moments of sheer frustration, but overcoming fear will give you amazing experiences of newfound joy, liberation peace and possibilities. It takes courage do things that challenge you. You don’t get better in your comfort zone, you need to stretch and try
If you or a loved one are trying to beat fear, we hope you are able to break into a full and content life.
Thank you for reading this article and please be aware that all information on this site is covered by an important disclaimer. Please leave a comment if you’ve read this story for affirmation, feedback and discussion and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to submit a story which can change and influence other lives please send it via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org We really hope you or someone you care about beats depression.
References and further reading
How Stuff Works on fear – Excellent article
Psychology Today on Fear
12 steps to become less fearful of emotions
Wikipedia on Fear
Brain Connection on Fear Conditioning
Photo by WTL photos on Flickr