“Fears are nothing more than a state of mind,” Napoleon Hill once said.
True enough since all of us have our own fears to fight mentally, “brain battles” to win. And even though it’s just a state of mind, sometimes fear is hard to wrestle with. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines fear as an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. Fear is constant, present most of the time in our lives. It’s something that holds us back from doing the things we want to do, or from becoming the people we are meant to become.
But what causes us to fear? How are we going to face it?
Thinking about it, I couldn’t find a reason why I have my own fears. (Or maybe I’m just too embarrassed to tell you.) So I’ll just share to you what science says. Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things, also known as the fight-or-flight response. So it starts with a stressful stimulus. Stressful stimulus could be your previous failure at work, your recent breakup, your scary childhood memories–things like that. So when the golden opportunity to become a better version of you knocks, sadly fear also comes in so suddenly.
But luckily I was told (by self-help books) that our fears could be conquered. Come. Let’s discover some trick and together let’s brave our fears.
1. Scare away your fears. Trick it. Make it think that you’re bigger than it, that your faith is larger than it is or than whatever it could become. I remember an Indian student in a world renowned Bollywood film say, “Our hearts easily scare. So when your heart starts pounding fast, always tell yourself ‘All iz well, all iz well.'” He’s right. When you come face to face with your fear, whatever it is–fear of heights, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough for people–face it. Don’t let it pull you down. Calm yourself. Breathe. Look at it straight in the eye or you can even look down at it. Walk towards it until the gap between you becomes smaller. Until such time that you get used to it being around. In that way, it will have no impact on you anymore. It will just be like the normal situations in your life–no more heart-pounding, no more breath-catching.
2. The Law of Reversibility. According to a website, by disciplining yourself repeatedly to do the thing you fear until that fear eventually disappears (and yes, it will), you develop the courage you desire. That is the law of reversibility. This is actually another trick, only that it involves movement. Move. You have to move. But you must have the desire to move forward if what you want is action. If you are afraid of public speaking, then engage in small group discussions as a head start. Then start little conversations with people you’ve just recently met. By sharing your thoughts and ideas to them, you don’t only give them a little piece of your mind, but you also subconsciously develop the courage to brave your fears.
3. Remind yourself that your anxiety is a storehouse of wisdom. I also got this trick from a blog, and I find it helpful to the emotional and mental aspects of our lives. The blog says that we could use some pens and papers to write a letter or note to our anxiety, telling it that we are no longer intimidated by it, and eventually asking it for the wisdom or learning it has in store for us. In that way, we welcome fear but in a more mature and calm way. We welcome fear with positive greetings. And that’s a pretty good thing to try.
4. Unleash the brave soul within. “You with that sad eyes, don’t be discouraged, though I realized, it’s hard to take courage…” Heard this song on the radio. Its entitled True Colors. Why am I sharing this with you? Because the thought of the song tells us to take courage even when it’s hard, even when it seems like nothing’s going right. Unleash the brave soul within. Explore the possibilities. Get rid of overthinking. Just jump in, fly high, run free. Unleash that brave soul within. Push yourself until you’ve reached beyond your limits. And I’m telling you now, it will all be worth it. Just give it a try, little fighter.
5. Seek God’s help. And when everything else fails, don’t be embarrassed nor ashamed to seek Him. If no trick works out for one great fear, seeking God would be the best thing to do. When the battle for greatness is just so hard for you, there’s a Big God who never runs out of reasons to love you, to encourage you, to help you through.
I know it’s hard to overcome our fears, take it from my own experiences. As the song says, “We’re all in this together.” No one out there is literally fearless. We all have our fears to brave, our own storms to surpass. But one thing’s for sure, I know we can make it. We can get through it. And when that time comes, we’ll be the best version of ourselves we never imagined we’d become. So acknowledge your fears, brave it, and get out of it alive.