Psychology

How to Overcome Fear



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The actual feeling of fear comes as a signal from the brain because it is the job of our brain to nurture and protect our bodies.

What basically happens is that our brain sends an urgent signal to our adrenaline glands to warn us off from performing a certain function in case we get hurt in the process. It all goes back to our prehistoric ancestors and is known as the 'flight or fight' response.

Our brain is just like a little computer, and sometimes it will formulate data so quickly that you don't even realize it has done it. This means that you get the feeling of fear without even being given a chance to rationalize about anything first.

To overcome fear you must first understand why you get these feelings and how you can differentiate between the real type of fear that you cannot live without, or an irrational fear that may compel you act in an unreasonable and unpredictable manner.

No matter what name you put to fear, whether it be shock, anxiety, strain or worry can come as a result of certain psychological and physiological response to events in our lives that upset or change our normal routine.

Over thousands of years the brain has developed to such an extent that it has learnt how to anticipate a dangerous situation based upon previous experiences, or from having certain knowledge. Modern life means that we don't normally come into contact with elements such as dangerous animals; but the brain still uses the emotion of fear to tell us to keep away from anything that may bring harm to us.

Modern human fears have become a sophisticated emotion, strongly intertwined with the fabric of society and the position that we hold within it. For example greed can be the result of being afraid of not having enough of something and then when we do get it, we become afraid of losing what we have.

Fear can cause us to become dominating and ambitious, compelling us to reach the top of the ladder, only to find that we become fearful and insecure of someone else climbing up behind us who appears more competent than ourselves.

We fear loss of control. We fear embarrassment. We fear isolation and ostracism within society. Fear pervades our very lives. It drives us to be who we are and limits us at the same time.

The trick to overcoming fear is to face what you are afraid of. You have to accept that these irrational feelings of dread are simply all in the mind. Fear exists because of the way we think. Throughout our lives we have got into the habit of using these emotions to channel our energies into motivating us into doing certain things and we can even use fear as a good emotion because it can stop us from making stupid mistakes.

The way to overcome fear is to become enlightened. Regain control of your thoughts and feelings and learn how to channel those reactions of fear into a positive energy. Our brain will be pumping all kinds of chemicals into our system warning us that we are to fear what there is, but by reassuring ourselves, and facing what we are afraid of, means that our brain will learn not to be so fearful in the future and send less of those "fear inducing" chemicals zapping around our body.

You must be determined to master your own thoughts. You have to take stock and listen and look at a situation in a critical manner, and not react instinctively.

In a stressful situation your brain will be screaming out to you to run away, the chemicals it will send to your various body processes will be designed to propel you away from harm, but you must resist the urge to react.

You have to be realistic. Examine the feelings that you have about yourself. Be positive about your life and what you have achieved. Be calm.

Some people find it helpful to attend yoga classes and allow themselves to be taught how to achieve a perfect relaxed stance. Others find it useful to listen to music to meditate to and calm the mind. The brain needs to be trained to recognize the benefits of a calming atmosphere, so that when you are facing a stressful situation in the future, by employing calming techniques, the brain will remember and respond in helping you deal with anxiety and fear in a more positive way.

Ways to control your fear:

1. To worry about things is simply a habit that has to be broken.

2. Clear your mind during a stressful situation. Look for the good things that can come out of a bad situation. Counter a negative event with a positive action.

3. Before you get out of bed in the morning. Take some deep breaths and say to yourself "I am who I am and I believe in myself". Say it three times.

4. Instead of say something negative about a situation or another person, look for something nice to say instead. Instead of saying "Another rotten day ", try saying something like; "It is going to be a great day". Believe it and it will be. Never say, "I can't do that." Try instead "I am going to do that!" Never believe you cannot do anything in life until you have at least tried it.

5. Be positive towards other people and you will soon find that your smile will be returned and a good deed will make you feel good about yourself and bring happiness to others. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.

7. What is the point in thinking in a depressed manner? Gloomy thoughts are of no use to you. They will sap your energy and will be counterproductive to what you are trying to do.

8. Cultivate friends who have a happy and positive attitude. These type of people tend to be good problem solvers and relish a challenge in life. They will keep to keep your brain stimulated and busy with positive thoughts.

9. Support someone who have depression or who needs a problem sorted. By understanding how others can be affected by fear, you will see how much they seemingly worry over nothing, it will help you appreciate how groundless your own fears are.

10. Appreciate every day that you have been given and look forward to the future with good expectations.

If you wish to live a worry free life, the change must come from within. You have to break habits of a lifetime, and learn calming techniques that are going to encourage the brain to release "happy" chemicals into your system instead of the energy sapping ones. Be repetitive, and eventually those old bad habits will be replaced by the newer good ones.

So the best thing to do when you are feeling fearful is to keep calm, understand why you are getting these feelings and to take a proper look at what is making you afraid. If it is an irrational fear then you will be able to look at it with open eyes and decide for yourself whether you have good reason to be afraid of something or to recognize that your brain is simply being overcautious.

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More about this author: Jane Allyson

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