Fear, anxiety, and phobias can be crippling, and stop many people from living full and happy lives. Avoiding scary emotions and situations is human nature, but when we start to experience fear in more mundane situations and try to hide from them, it often means we are also avoiding good experiences that help us grow as people. Here are 5 ways that you can confront and overcome your fears:
1. Sit with your fear for 2 minutes
Take the time to let the irrational fear thoughts give way, at least a little, to more rational thoughts. It’s okay to feel terrible, but emotions ebb and flow, and you can learn to sit with this process and get used to it. After you have sat with your feelings for a couple of minutes, pick up something enjoyable and engrossing to take you away from that emotion completely. Calling a good friend or doing a hobby you love are both great examples of this.
2. Make a gratitude list
Reminding yourself of everything you love in life is a sure-fire way to bring you out of fear. You can make a new list every time you feel anxious, or you can write one list and keep it with you to read. Try to feel the feelings of gratitude as you work through the list, which will help put you in a completely different frame of mind.
3. Think about what anxiety can teach you
This might seem odd or counterintuitive, but fear and anxiety can teach you a lot about yourself. Many people find it helpful to write a letter to their fear or anxiety to express that they are not in control, but instead just learning.
4. Work out
You’ve probably heard this advice before, and although it can feel unhelpful and annoying if you’ve heard it too many times, the reason it’s such common advice is because it’s true. Exercise is a great way to get you to focus on your body instead of your mind and to get a sweet hit of endorphins. The good news is you don’t have to do a 5k run to get great exercise. You can go on a walk or do a fun active activity to get a lot of the same benefits.
Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself, or your problems or anxiety. If you are spiraling and thinking about worst case scenarios, it can be helpful to take a step back and acknowledge the ridiculousness of your thoughts. You could even make a game of it and think of the very worst, most ridiculous thing that could happen to give yourself a good laugh.
If you have intense and overwhelming fear or anxiety, and none of these tips work for you, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional who can help you work through your fears in a healthy way. Feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org