Fear is a powerful emotion. If you let fear take control, it will confine and restrict you. Fear is the No. 1 factor that holds people back from chasing their dreams and ambitions. Therefore, it is important to not let fear run your life. If you base your choices on fear, you will never live up to your true potential. But before you can face your fears, you must understand them so you’ll know if your fear is legitimate or irrational.
Fear is a primitive emotion rooted in instinct, as a part of the flight-or-fight reaction. Triggered by the primal part of your brain when it perceives a threat, fear forces you to focus on the perceived danger. You begin to breathe rapidly to get more oxygen to your muscles, which makes you stronger and enables you to run faster, but it also becomes hard to think rationally. This was a useful mechanism for keeping people alive, back in the days when the dangers were real. But today, fear often comes up when there is no real threat.
It is important to determine if the situation you fear is indeed a real threat. Not knowing can end up putting you in danger. Once you decide your fear is real (or not), you can handle each situation safely and confidently.
Look at the situation objectively. Ask yourself if the object you fear could harm or endanger you in any way. If not, the fear is irrational, and you need to face it.
Relaxation techniques are a great way to manage fear. When you are afraid, try to step away from the situation and focus. Take 10 deep breaths, then remind yourself that your fear is unfounded. Become aware of the tension in your arms, legs, and shoulders, and then relax and let it go. While this will not eliminate the fear, it will reduce it, and thus enable you to regain control of yourself. It will be easier to think clearly, and facing the fear will be less difficult.
Now that you understand fear, it is time to embrace it. Rather than looking at fear as an emotion to avoid, learn to love and accept it. The primitive part of your brain perceives the unknown as a threat. However, fearing the unknown now will only restrict your behaviour. Fear will be a part of anything new you attempt, so if you want to grow as a person, you have to accept that fear will be right there with you.
Fear will control your life only if you let it. But by understanding and embracing it, fear will lose its power over you. Then you can follow your dreams and live the life you have always wanted.