How To Win And Instantly Start Overcoming Your Fears

It’s much simpler than you think

Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash

There’s something I know about you even though we haven’t met yet.

Somewhere inside of you, there are amazing ideas, passions, and talents just waiting to be unleashed.

The problem is that most of them are imprisoned behind the walls of one great enemy.

Fear

Maybe you’re stuck in a dead end job and you’re too afraid to leave it because you’re barely getting by as it is.

Maybe you have a good job, but it’s not great. And the security is enough for you to be willing to sacrifice passion for comfort.

Maybe you really are trying a lot of different things out, but you get easily distracted and chase after the next shiny object because you’re too afraid of missing out.

But at the end of the day, you don’t make the impact you want.

Every time you get excited to work on something that inspires you, anxiety begins to kick in.

You might be afraid of being judged, looking stupid or failing.

So you decide to stay in your safe zone.

You feel comfortable and the fear dies down, but you’re not any closer to where you want to be in life.

You’re stuck.

If this is you, keep reading to learn about some insanely important things you can start doing right now to help you win against your biggest fears.

Fear Doesn’t Help You Live Your Life.

The problem with fear is that unless it’s there to help you survive, it will only lead to regrets.

Think about the person who liked you but you never asked out.

Or the trip you once in a lifetime trip you never went on.

Or the family member you never got to say I love you to before he or she passed away.

These kinds of regrets can feel really strong when you think about them.

And let the truth sink in for a moment.

Fear caused these regrets.

If it wasn’t for fear, we’d be living much more interesting lives and feel much more alive then we’ve ever been.

Where Does Fear Come From?

The feeling of fear is triggered by a small piece of your brain called the amygdala. For the purposes of this article, I will be referring to it as the more commonly used phrase, the Lizard Brain.

The only real thing fear is good for is your survival. It served the cavemen well when they needed to run away from sabertooth tigers, but we’re no longer running away from wild animals.

When your lizard brain is activated, it’s what makes you go into survival mode.

This is commonly known as the fight or flight state. This state of fear is what gets your heart pumping faster, your eyes opening wider to scope out the area, and more blood flow to your muscles so you’re ready to fight or flee.

You know what this feels like because it also happens when your brain feels like your emotional survival is at stake.

Think of a time you were nervous because you’re about to go on your first date. Or giving a public speech. Or feeling unsure about your future.

The problem is that there is a huge disadvantage when you are in this state.

If you’re lizard brain is on, your thinking brain is off

When we are in lizard brain mode, the thinking part of our brains that are capable of important cognitive functions like critical thinking, logical reasoning and emotional regulation are all shut off.

When you are in the state of fear caused by the lizard brain, you don’t make the most rational decisions.

Its often rushed actions without much thought put into it because you are just reacting based on your survival instincts, which are to either run, fight or freeze. These are usually horrible options when it comes to handling non-survival based decisions.

Why Your Lizard Brain is Always On And What to Do About it

We now live in a society where we are overstimulated. Many of the environments we live in causes our lizard brains to become hyperactive.

The key step here is to start calming the lizard brain down so that your thinking brain can begin to wake up.

Here are some quick ways to start creating the safe environment that helps you do that:

Stop watching the news — Majority of the content you see on the news are always focused on negative events. While this type of news keeps you engaged and at the end of your seats, it is constantly activating your lizard brain and stimulating fear and anxiety.

Hearing about more shootings, natural disaster, and political corruption will only trigger your lizard brain to go into overdrive.

Get off of Social Media — Social media is a great way to stay up to date with friends, but the biggest trap people fall into is playing the comparison game. You might see a friend posting about a cool celebrity he met, or an amazing country she’s exploring, or a new level of success he’s achieved.

This only makes you start comparing yourself to these people and questioning your own self-worth because your life isn’t as glamorous. This triggers your lizard brain to fight for your social survival so you become afraid of missing out and you start to try and post things in an attempt to portray a version of yourself that you think makes you look better.

Have regular detox periods — It’s enough we hear about bad things on the news. The digital age we live in now gives us 24 hours a day of events that are happening everywhere all throughout our social media feeds. This overstimulation will cause your brain to go into survival mode.

Meditate — Mindfulness meditation helps you focus. When you are in lizard brain mode, science has shown that meditation can literally calm the fear centers of your lizard brain and activate the thinking center of your brain.

Spend time with loved ones — Being around people who you feel safe and connected with is a perfect environment to help calm your lizard brain down. Being able to be in an environment where you can put your guard down can enable you to really just be able to look at things from a clear-minded perspective.

Name it to Tame it.

No matter how many safe spaces you try to place yourself in, you can never avoid hardships that normally come in life.

Eventually you will have to build up skills to be able to handle your fears and anxieties in an effective way.

Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one — Bruce Lee

In times of high emotional stress and anxiety, you won’t be able to think straight. This is why we often say things we regret or make irrational decisions that do more harm than benefit.

The moment you identify an emotion as fear or anxiety, it can actually help you start slowing down to calm your lizard brain and activate your thinking brain.

Simply starting with telling yourself “this is fear” or “this is anxiety” can help calm your lizard brain down.

Doing this will help increase your chances of having a moment of clarity and being able to proactively solve a challenge rather than react to it.

It’ll be like one of those epic moments in a movie where the hero is losing to the villain and he takes a moment to slow down, activate the thinking brain, and figure out how to outsmart the enemy.

You can do the same for the hard moments of fear, anxiety or anger.

How to Find Courage When You Need it Most.

Maybe you’ve grown tired of losing to fear.

Maybe the feeling of regret has become so unbearable to the point you’re finally ready to do something about it.

Well, things won’t become all better overnight, but if you take it to step by step and apply the actions mentioned here, you’ll be on your way to living a life that’s more true to yourself.

Getting yourself out of survival mode is a great start to utilizing your thinking brain to overcome challenges rather than using fear to figure out how to avoid them.

And simply raising awareness little by little during these emotional moments of what kind of feeling you are experiencing will help you separate yourself from the emotion.

You are not your thoughts and you are not your feelings.

The sooner you realize that the sooner you will find all the courage that already exists inside of you.

Feeling Stuck?

Do you feel like you were meant to do something with your life, but still having trouble figuring out how?

I believe every individual has a unique set of passions and talents that can help fulfill an important need that exists in the world. And I love helping people become more aware of how to do so themselves.

You can download my free workbook, “What’s Next? Four Insanely Important Steps to Finding Your Unique Calling”, for some practical things you can immediately start doing today to find the clarity you need on how to best utilize your potential.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by + 373,685 people.

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