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8 Key Coping Skills for Facing Your Fears: How to Overcome Fear

by A Hospidales
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“Nothing gives a fearful man more courage than another’s fear.”

Umberto Eco

Fear is an emotion that stems from the perception of impending danger, pain, evil, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.

From an evolutionary standpoint, fear is a survival mechanism designed to help us survive.

In response to fear, adrenaline is pumped into the bloodstream, causing a series of biological reactions.

The muscles receive more blood and oxygen, the pupils dilate, and the blood flow to other areas is reduced.

During this ‘fight or flight’ response, our senses and reflexes are sharpened to prepare us to escape real and physical danger (Celes, 2009).

Nevertheless, we need to be prepared to deal with fear, whether real or imagined, in daily life when fighting or fleeing is not necessary.

In this blog post, we will discuss 8 key coping skills for facing your fears.

We’ll also discuss how to turn your bad feelings into good ones, so you can persevere and achieve your goals!

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.”

Baruch Spinoza

1. Face your fears head-on.

Fear is one of the main emotions that can hold us back from achieving our goals.

Fear is usually created by our thoughts.

It can keep us stuck in our comfort zone, paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake or of failing.

The key to overcoming fear is to recognize that fear is just an emotion, and that like all emotions it can be managed and controlled.

Just because we feel afraid doesn’t mean we have to let that fear dictate our lives.

“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”

Napoleon Hill

We can choose to act in spite of our fear, and with time and practice we can learn to become less afraid.

The first step is acknowledging that fear exists and that it’s normal to feel it in certain situations.

Fear is a survival mechanism that helps us stay safe in threatening situations.

The next step is identifying the fear.

What specifically are you afraid of?

Once you know what your fear is, you can start to come up with a plan to address it.

Finally, take action!

Face your fears head-on and see them for what they really are.

This takes courage, but with time and practice, it becomes easier and less frightening.

Remember, the only way to overcome fear is to confront it.

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

Abraham Lincoln

2. Determination

The key to overcoming fear is determination. 

When we’re determined to achieve something, we’re willing to do whatever it takes to reach our goal.

When we think about what could go wrong, our mind starts to generate fear.

The key to overcoming fear is to start focusing on what could go right instead of what could go wrong.

And the best way to do that is through determination.

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.”

Og Mandino

Determination comes from within.

It’s that inner voice that tells us we can do it, even when we don’t think we can.

It’s the flame inside us that burns bright no matter how hard life gets.

So whenever you feel fear creeping in, tap into your determination and let it help you push through.

3. Turn your bad feelings into good ones.

Bad feelings are often caused by fear.

Fear can be caused by many things, including anxiety, stress, and uncertainty.

To overcome fear, it is important to understand what is causing the fear and then take steps to address the underlying issues.

Often, simply changing your perspective on the situation can help reduce fear.

Additionally, deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques can help to calm the body and mind.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

Marie Curie

4. Gain Understanding

Many of our fears are rooted in a lack of knowledge.

When we don’t know something, it causes us to exaggerate potential negative outcomes and fixate on worst-case scenarios.

Knowledge, on the other hand, is power.

When we take the time to research and get informed regarding a particular issue or situation, it takes a lot of the mystery away and helps us understand the scenario in a manner that allows us to feel more informed and empowered.

With increased logic and reasoning gained as a result of increased information, we can often dismantle the fear and become more courageous (Steimle, 2016).

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”

Kofi Annan

5. Support

It can be very scary to go it alone but gathering support from others can help make a very fearful situation seem far less scary.

The help of others can be physical, mental, financial, or even emotional.

The idea is simply to rally the resources of others in a way that helps you feel less alone.

When you know you can rely on other people and fall back on other people, going into uncertain territory loses some of its footing (Steimle, 2016).

If you find yourself feeling afraid frequently, it may be helpful to talk to a therapist or counselor who can help you identify and work through your fears.

“The best advice I can give to anyone going through a rough patch is to never be afraid to ask for help.”

Demi Lovato

6. Outlook

Your perception will often determine your outcome.

If you go into a scenario expecting something to be especially scary and terrible, chances are the situation will meet your expectations.

However, if you are intentional about having a positive outlook and choosing not to let fear define you or the situation, you can overcome it (Steimle, 2016).

Instead of a focus on the worst-case scenario, a focus on the potential positive outcomes can keep fear from having any power in our lives.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Helen Keller

7. Emotional Control

Fear is a negative emotion that we can learn to control.

It is about taking a moment to pause and implement techniques that will help us calm down, refocus, and reassess the situation.

Such techniques can include meditation, breathing exercises, going for a walk, journaling, or anything else that allows us to break from the stress response fear causes long enough to reason through the situation and regain control (Towey, 2020).

“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.”

Judy Blume

8. Role Model

A final way to cope with fear is to model after someone who has already overcome it.

Finding a person who has held the same fear as you and has overcome it can encourage you and give you tools and resources to work through it.

When you see that it has been done before, it can give you the boost needed to do it yourself (Henri, 2020).

Coping with fear is something that can be achieved.

With the right mindset and the right tools, you can conquer fear and go on to be successful at the thing trying to hold you hostage.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

Final Thoughts

You can’t get rid of your fears by avoiding them. Your goals and dreams can’t be achieved if you are afraid. You must face your fears and be determined.

Though you cannot control your emotions, you can choose to see your feelings positively. We hope that you will be encouraged to face your fears.

References:

Celes. (2009, May 30). 4 reasons we should overcome fear. Personal Excellence. https://personalexcellence.co/blog/fear/

Henri. (2020, January 8). 33 powerful ways of overcoming fear … Right now. Wake Up Cloud. https://www.wakeupcloud.com/overcoming-fear/

Steimle, J. (2016, January 12). 14 ways to conquer fear. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshsteimle/2016/01/04/14-ways-to-conquer-fear/#307b44861c48

Towey, S. (2020). How to deal with fear and anxiety. Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing. https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-deal-fear-and-anxiety

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