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5 Ways to Prevent Fear from Paralyzing You

Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:

Get caught up with all episodes in the Developing a New Focus series.

This is part 3 in my series, “Focus on Reducing Anxiety and Fear.”
Part 1: The Cost of Obsessive Anxiety
Part 2: What is the Root Cause of Your Anxiety and Fear?

When our lives become dominated by anxiety and fear we will experience moments of panic.

Panic freezes us, and we are unable to move while our heart is racing. Anxiety keeps feeding the fear and panic with slogans such as:

  • “You’re doomed.”
  • “There’s nothing you can do.”
  • “It’s hopeless.”

We soon begin to apply a string of defeats, disappointments, or failures to those fears:

“I never do anything right, and I can prove it – look at my past.”

Our past automatically predicts our future. We imagine that whatever happened in the past will automatically happen again in the future.

  • “I will never be able to own my own home.”
  • “I will never have anything.”
  • “I am a failure.”

We embellish the negative, making it our ritualistic response to everything and eliminating contrasting positive information.

Sometimes we fear success as well as failure.

We may fear rejection or being taken advantage of.

  • We may fear getting hurt in relationships.
  • We may fear making a mistake that will cause us to appear foolish or lose our job or be judged unfairly.

When we address our fears honestly and sincerely, we can redirect our actions and motivations and find solutions.

As we peel away the layers of our fears, hidden beliefs that compromise our ability to take that next step are revealed. We may experience an “ah-ha” moment where parts of our life puzzle become clear, and we are able to understand and make corrections. It is during these “ah-ha” moments that we find humility and responsibility.

How to confront your fears

Fear can sneak up on us so fast we are caught in its grip before we process what started the chain reaction.

So, what can we do?

First, accept that you are feeling afraid.

We get so busy trying to overcome fear that we don’t stop and ask why are we so fearful. What created this fear? No denials!

Second, acknowledge fear.

It’s okay to be afraid! Everybody has fears. Often, we are fearful of letting anyone know we are afraid because people might think less of us or think something is wrong with us.

Your feeling of fear has nothing to do with your worth, your abilities or your intelligence. There is nothing to be ashamed of for feeling fearful.

Acknowledge what you are feeling – say it out loud to yourself. Give yourself permission to feel that way. Talk about it. Share your feelings with someone you trust.

Third, write down what you say to yourself when you feel afraid.

There is usually a string of thoughts attached to our fears, along with beliefs we think we can’t do anything about.

Fourth, think about the first thing you do when you are feeling fearful.

Do you run away, push the fear away, deny it, or ignore it?

Do these responses help or hinder you? Do they take you where you want to go or are they keeping you in a cycle of thoughts and emotions that aren’t helpful?

Fifth, decide what you want to do with your fear.

You can hang on to it and then you don’t have to do anything except ruminate about it.

Or you can address your fear and find a productive way to respond by changing the thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that created the fear.

We have a choice.

We can allow fear to keep us from developing the confidence we need to face our problems.

Or we can acknowledge our fear and ask ourselves questions that reveal its root cause so we can begin to work through it.

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