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Overcoming Fear with Self Care

Fear is a totally normal feeling. It’s our body’s way of alerting us to real danger. However, often for many of us fear can be the outcome of any extra energy we’ve given our self-doubt, fuelling it to take control of our mindset.

Overcoming fear can be incredibly difficult, and sometimes feel impossible, but by learning to take control and push through what you’ve told yourself you cannot do, you’re likely to find there was nothing to be afraid of in the first place.

GIVE YOURSELF TIME AND SPACE TO LISTEN

It can be so easy to ignore the things that makes us fearful. If we ignore them, we don’t have to confront them, right? Wrong. By ignoring them, they’re only going to keep cropping up. The only way to overcome your fears, or at least manage them is to truly understand them.

In an ideal world, we’d identify the issue that causes the fear, fix it and then fear gone, but in reality that’s not always going to work. Instead, we need to learn to work with our mind and body to control the fear.

The first step is to notice what happens when your fear starts to set in. Are there physical signs? Does your heart start to race? Do you feel more stressed?

Instead of running away from the fear and trying to ignore it, next time it happens, sit with your fear and understand how you and your body reacts.

BREATHING

Breathing is probably one of the most undervalued tools we have available to us at any given point and there are many techniques, which means if you don’t find one works for you, there’s always another to try.

Some breathing techniques have been shown to calm and relax the body and nervous system, while others will draw your focus and attention on your breath rather than what’s going on around you or within your body and can actually reduce anxiety and pain.

The simplest breathing technique is exhaling for longer than your inhale and can be done in any position. Breath in through your nose for 4 and out of your mouth for 8. Repeat this as many times as you need until the feeling has passed. This technique is actually used for pain management during labour!

Another great option is breath focus, which can help reduce anxiety.

You can do this sitting or lying down in a quiet, comfortable location.

  • Notice how it feels when you inhale and exhale normally. Mentally scan your body. You might feel tension in your body that you never noticed.
  • Take a slow, deep breath through your nose.
  • Notice your belly and upper body expanding.
  • Exhale in whatever way is most comfortable for you, sighing if you wish.
  • Do this for several minutes, paying attention to the rise and fall of your belly.
  • Choose a word to focus on and vocalise during your exhale. Words like “safe” and “calm” can be effective, or even phrases directly connected to your fear.
  • Imagine your inhale washing over you like a gentle wave.
  • Imagine your exhale carrying negative and upsetting thoughts and energy away from you.
  • When you get distracted, gently bring your attention back to your breath and your words.

GUIDED MEDITATION

Some people use guided meditation to alleviate anxiety and fear by interrupting patterns of thinking.

You can practice guided meditation in a place that’s comfortable and familiar to you which will encourage you to relax. Then, listen to calming recordings while relaxing your body and steadying your breathing.

Guided meditation recordings help take you through the steps of visualising a calmer, less stressed reality.

This is particularly useful if you find that fear is driven by negative self-talk. By redirecting your thinking, you’re not giving your inner critic the opportunity to fuel the fear.

TALK ABOUT YOUR FEARS

Sharing fears with friends, family or even a professional takes away a lot of their scariness. You could try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for more ingrained fears, and if your fears aren’t going away, you can ask your GP for help. GPs can refer people for counselling, psychotherapy or help through an online service.

REWARD YOURSELF

Finally, give yourself a treat. When you’ve faced your fears, even if it wasn’t perfect, reinforce your success by treating yourself to a massage, a country walk, a meal out, a book, a DVD, or whatever little gift makes you happy.

TAKEAWAY

Get the fears out into the open. Once you recognise what they are, the next time you are faced with them, it will be easier to use the techniques above to take small steps to banishing that fear for good!

 

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