Ten Ways to Conquer Your Fears

It has happened to all of us. You stand in front of Mayfield students at community, ready to make an important announcement, and no words come out. You are one of the actors in a theater production and your face burns with embarrassment–you just forgot your lines. In class, you watch your classmates go up and present their oral presentations; your anxiety increases, for you feel that yours is not an A+ presentation.

Learning to overcome fears can be challenging for everyone. No one is born without fears; we all come face-to-face with our fears at one point. 

And while it may be possible to conquer our fears by practicing some of the following tips, if you are experiencing a fear or anxiety that practically controls your every move, consider working with a therapist.  

Here are some methods that have helped people cope with their fears:

  1. Understand your fear and embrace it.

We need fears to keep us safe because they are great tools we can use to make wise decisions.  Fears help us to act in ways that can produce the results we need and want.  Embrace your fear as guidance and let it have a connection with your actions but make sure it does not completely control them.

  1. Educate yourself on your fear.

We are afraid of nothing but the unknown.  If your fear is based on a lack of information, then get the knowledge you need to familiarize yourself with your phobia.  This will help you examine the situation based on facts and not speculation.

  1. Get help.

You should never feel as though you should cope with your fear alone.  Find a guidance counselor, mentor, or support group to help you through it.  Athletes have coaches; students have teachers- there are examples of strong relationships that contain a mentor supporting someone every step of the way, no matter what.  Your friends, even if they may not know much about the fear you have, can be by your side to support you.

  1. Have a positive attitude.

People who have positive attitudes are successful because they keep trying after others give up.  Do not feel discouraged if you do not succeed the first time; we have all been there.  If you are afraid to do something because it did not work out the first time, figure out what worked and did not work, and try something different before you give up altogether.

  1. Prepare, practice, role play.

The most popular fear in the United States is public speaking.  Death comes in second place next to suffering stage fright in front of a group of people.  In the book Talk Like TED, Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor practiced a TED talk more than 200 times.  If time is limited, then practice your oral presentation, student council speech, or morning announcement at least 10 times.

  1. Reframe your fears into excitement.

Find an aspect of your fear that is fun.  For example, think about the last time you rode a roller coaster.  You felt scared but were also having a great time.  A life without fear and without the courage to overcome it would be bland and dull.  Feel excited when you discover something that you are afraid to do, for something wonderful may happen when you look out for the call to action.

  1. Get some exercise.

Exercise can help your mind focus on one thing at a time.  Take a short walk, do some YouTube workouts, or turn to a 15 minute yoga video.  Exercise is good for you and will ground you and help you feel more capable.

  1. Allow yourself to sit with your fear for 2-3 minutes at a time.

Sit up straight, take a few deep breaths, and say, “It’s okay. You may feel scared, but emotions are like the ocean- the waves come and go.” Do something comforting once you have taken a moment to catch your breath: FaceTime one of your friends you have not been able to see in a long time; snuggle with a pet; engage yourself in an activity you love and enjoy.

  1. Appreciate your courage. 

Every time you prevent your fear from doing something that scares you, you are making yourself stronger and stopping your fear from taking complete control over you,  One of the most important ways to cope with your fear is to be kind to yourself.  Do not listen to the inner voices that whisper, “Be afraid. Don’t try anything new.”

  1. Visualize yourself as unafraid.

By imagining yourself performing with confidence and proficiency in an area where you are afraid, this image of yourself will eventually be accepted by your subconscious mind as instructions for your performance.  The way you see yourself and think about yourself is formed by feeding your mind these mental pictures of yourself doing your best.