By David Joel Miller
How do you get past those fear and anxiety feelings?
Fear likes you to think it is a roaring lion. We all have our fears, but some people let fear stop them while others do things in spite of those fears. Here are some tips to help you manage your fears and anxieties. These are techniques you might use to go about shrinking those anxieties down to kitten size roars.
1. Take a close look at the fear – what are you really afraid of?
Many fears are vague fuzzy creatures. You feel if you do something or don’t do something else, then for sure, something bad will happen. Take another look. What are you really afraid of? If you can’t identify specific, high probability bad possibilities, the chances are that what you are really afraid of is change and the unknown.
What is the worst that could happen? What is the best that might happen? Is it worth the risk?
Take another look at that fear and you may find that it is nothing you really need to let stand in your way.
2. Make an inventory of your fears and anxieties.
If you find that you have lots of fears and anxieties you need to start by learning to identify them. Write them all down by name. What are you afraid of? Give them ratings. How much do you fear each item you have listed? Arrange them in order and start by challenging the least terrifying fear. As you work your way up the list you may find that you were fearing things that are not scary once you bring that fear out of its dark hiding place into the light.
3. Is anxiety telling you the truth?
Challenge each fear. Is it telling you the truth? Just because something seems scary does not mean it is really dangerous. Gather evidence about the real risks of this thing that scares you. Do your friends and other supporters have this same fear? How do they cope despite those fears?
Fear tries to manipulate you by telling you lies. Cross examine that fear and present it the evidence you have gathered on why this thing is not the awful calamity it pretends to be.
4. Keep your eye on the goal of being fear-free.
When you have your mind set on getting something you will find that fear will get out of your way. Want to help or protect your child from danger, then you will have less difficulty with your anxiety.
How much do you want or need that job? Keep reminding yourself of your goal and the importance of getting where you need to go. Keeping your eye on the prize keeps you moving forward regardless of the fear.
5. Keep stretching your comfort zone.
Our anxieties are at their worst when you get too far outside your comfort zone. Think of the things that you have done in the past that you did not feel comfortable doing, but because of a friend’s encouragement or a real desire you did it anyway.
Having stepped a little outside your comfort zone and realizing things went well can stretch your confront zone.
Keep stretching out that comfort zone a little at a time and see how brave you will become.
6. Do not let fear steal your life.
Fear is a thief. Anxiety is a bully. They want to take your life away from you. Keep control of your life and let your fears and anxieties know that you are in charge. You can choose to do or not do something, but no fear or pint size anxiety will keep you from having the life you want and deserve.
7. Use positive self-talk.
Keep telling yourself that you can. Remind yourself of what you want and why. Words matter. We humans think in words and what we think tends to come true. Tell yourself you can’t and you create the failure. Tell yourself that you will give it your best effort and see what happens.
Occasionally you will give it the best shot you have and something will still turn out badly. Do not take this as a confirmation of your fears. Believe that no one hits 100% but that if you keep on going despite those fears there is no limit to how far you will go.
What have you done recently to give your fears and anxieties the boot? Leave a comment and let the rest of us know what works to keep the anxiety beast at bay.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books