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Take Control of Your Life: Think Positive & Overcome Your Fears

Career & Business, Health & Wellness
overcome fear

FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real

FEAR: F#@% Everything And Run

We all have fears.   Each and every one of us.  Some fears are good and healthy to have.   It is wise not to put your hand in a fire because you’re afraid of getting burned.  It’s a little much to avoid lighting candles at dinner because they are a fire hazard.  The difference is the level at which fear dictates how one lives.

What separates those who seem to have bulletproof confidence, and are those who over-react?   The thoughts behind the fear and the meaning that is attached to them.

Take, for example, someone who hates their job but won’t change.  

The underlying fears might be:  being too old, not being good enough to do something else, disappointing someone else, giving up the illusion of security for the unknown. 

Underneath those fears are still more fears and lies.

“ My friend was 50 and changed jobs, and she was the talk for months.   No one expected her to succeed.   She almost lost her marriage; her husband was furious.”

And so on.

A confident person also has anxious feelings about a change.  Their thinking is more like:

“OK, I’m 50, but I could be working for a minimum of 15 more years.  

If I love it, I might do it till I’m 80

They either don’t care what other people think, or they consider what others will say but know that those worthy of their friendship will support them, and those who don’t aren’t.  They understand there will be an adjustment with their relationship, but they work it out with their spouse and find a way to prioritize tasks and get it done.

One person spends another 15 years surviving, and the other creates a life they love.

That is what separates the two scenarios above.   

Check it out: Crush Self-Doubt and build Super-Confidence, a workbook.

The core of fear

At the core of fears that do not serve us and yet have control in ones, life is a negative thought pattern. That negativity is likely not even conscious, making it harder to manage and move past.

Thinking positive will take some commitment and practice, but you can turn irrational fears around if you are willing to make a conscious effort to be better.  When you get better at focusing on your strengths more than your shortcomings you gain confidence; when you expect the best outcome more than the worst, you gain motivation; and when you chose to act in the face of fear instead of allowing it to dictate your life, you gain courage.   All of these lead to a life of greater peace and happiness. 

The tips below are not necessarily easy, but they are simple, practical suggestions that you can use to develop more positive thinking patterns.  When you change the way you think, you will be able to take control during times of fear and be more productive and successful in reaching your goals.

Take care of yourself first.  

Taking control of your life requires a strong baseline.  Make sure your basic needs are met. It’s hard to have clarity and focus when you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.   Eat well, get enough exercise, make sure you have healthy social interaction, and get enough sleep.

Look at the fears behind the fears; they tell you more about yourself than the “surface layer” thoughts.  To gain this insight, you’ll have to slow yourself down and find a way to dig below the surface or conscious thoughts.   If you’re not sure how to do this, here are a couple of suggestions.

Identify what you are really afraid of.

  • Talk it out with a trusted friend or mentor.   Try and uncover your “why’s”.   Why are you afraid to (for ex:) change jobs?   Why do you believe you’re too old to?   Why does that matter?   And so on.   If you can do this 3-5 times, you should be able to uncover a more deep-seated, core level fear.  
  • Try quiet mindfulness or meditation.   Sometimes when we try and sit quietly, the thoughts come racing fast and furious.    Notice those thoughts.    Think of what your heart’s desire genuinely is and pretend you already have it.   Chances are your knee jerk reaction will be all of the reasons that it is not possible.   PAY ATTENTION TO THOSE THOUGHTS, they are clues to your core fears. 
  • Grab a pen and paper and start writing.  Don’t try and censor your thoughts; no one is going to read this.  Just start writing about what you want and what stops you from getting it.   Similar to meditation, the underlying blockages are likely to present themselves.   Write anything that comes to mind, regardless of what it is.   After about 15-20 minutes, go back and read it.   You’ve probably got some new self-awareness on the paper. 

Crush your Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANT’s)

Famous author and mental health expert Dr. Daniel Amen describes ANTs as the unconscious thoughts that bring you down.

Ask yourself: Is this really true? Maybe it was true in the past, but is it still true today?  Do you know someone who defies this?    What do you really have to lose if you try and things don’t go exactly as planned?    Has catastrophe ever really entered your life because you took a chance on your goals?

Everyone has fear, but successful people feel the fear and do it anyway.   A great book by that title, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, by Susan Jeffers offers excellent ideas to overcome crippling fears. 

Remember, negative thoughts only have as much power that you give them.  When you recognize them, don’t give them credence.   Try to detach from them and replace them with something empowering.     One way to diffuse their strength is to laugh them off.   If you notice yourself thinking “I’m not smart enough to be a _________ (dream job)”  instead of believing that lie, laugh at the fact that some small, childish part of you is silly even to think that, but there is a stronger, healthier part of you that is wise enough to know the truth and simply dismiss it.   Move on to something else so that you don’t continue the story in your head.

Thwart fear with an attitude of gratitude.  

When you focus on what you do have instead of what you don’t, stress and fear are deflated.   Take a few moments throughout the day to notice the things you do have, the things you’re doing great, the people who you support, and support you.   The positive feelings that come from gratitude will crush the negativity that fear generates. 

 Create a new story.    

Don’t get analysis paralysis, but consider different outcomes.  Sometimes fears take over, and we start practicing terror, imagining all kinds of unlikely events.  Thinking about the “worst-case scenario”  is helps some people muster the courage to take the plunge, but we find two flaws in this strategy.   First of all, it often cripples action, and it rarely comes to pass.  Second, it is based in negativity, and negative thoughts lead to more negative thoughts.   Try thinking about the best-case scenario.   The ultimate may not come to pass either, but positive thoughts lead to more positive thoughts, and you’ll still go farther than you would otherwise go.  Think about what it means to be successful.  Who do you need to be to get there?  What do you need to do to make it happen?   What supports do you have in place?  

Take Action!   

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.    Nothing great will ever come from a comfort zone.   Reading books, watching videos, writing journals are all great ways to learn about yourself and what to do, but they mean absolutely NOTHING if you don’t take action.    Changing your thoughts and behaviors is a process, and miracles won’t happen overnight. However, if you start now, and push yourself just a little bit every day, in a month, you’ll see a difference, and in 6 months you’ll be amazed.  A year from now, you might just have a brand new life!! 

Now, try this on for size     FEAR: FACE EVERYTHING AND RISE

If you ready to take control of your life and believe you’ll go further with support than on your own, why not try working with a professional Life-Coach?   Life Coach Library makes it convenient to find the best coach for you, and the process is risk-free!

By WendyC

I help people get "unstuck" and pursue their hearts desires. I specialize in helping anyone affected by addictions (personal recovery, adult children, or codependents) or dysfunctional upbringing emerge from limiting belief systems so that they may live beyond GOOD and find GREAT.

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