Here chickens, chickens, chickens.
Are you tired of being afraid??
You should be because fear is awful, and it holds you back from so much. To recap some of the things increasing your courage can do for you, visit this post.
Now if you’re ready to squash your fear and do the awesome things you’ve always dreamed of doing like pursuing your dream job, trying a new activity like skydiving or surfing (which I’d never do because no matter how well I conquer my fear, I’m just not taking the chance of having a shark take a chunk out of me!), saying what you really think no matter who’s listening or eating pounds of cheesecake – wait, that has nothing to do with fear, just self-control – check out these tips:
7 Tips for Squashing Fear
1) Admit your fear. You don’t have to tell anyone else, but just say it out loud. Verbalizing the fear can actually make it less scary.
Ex) I’m scared of spiders because they’re so creepy and I’ve never been bitten by one so I’m not sure how much it hurts. BUT realistically, I’m probably not going to die from a spider bite and they’re not going to become giant 8 legged freaks who want to eat me. I can just step on them.
FYI, I’m not afraid of spiders. I think they’re (mostly) beautiful. Prince Eric, on the other hand, hates them.
2) Get inspired by others’ bravery. Find a role model that you can look up to and do some research on them. See how they overcame fears and obstacles in their lives. Bonus if you actually know this person and can ask for advice! Read biographies of brave people in history. This can also help put things in perspective for us sometimes as in, “Hmm, I guess my fear that everyone will mock my idea isn’t as bad as worrying about hiding from the KKK. Who knew?”
3) Get fed up with fear! Fear is an incredibly paralyzing emotion, but there is another emotion that can kick fear’s butt: anger! Think about how your fear is destroying your goals, holding you back from what you really want and making you a person who talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk when it comes to your beliefs, i.e., “Yes, it’s so important for Christians to pray together! Oh, you wanted me to lead a prayer for all of us now. Um, never mind; prayer isn’t that important.”
When you get angry, you can do things you wouldn’t normally do. Word to the wise: Don’t go crazy with this one. If you hulk out and do everything in a state of anger, you’re just going to be an idiot, not brave.
4) Relax. Fear loves itself so it makes more and more fear so they can go crazy having a fear party in your brain. Even when you are afraid, you can work on controlling your body so that fear reactions, such as shortness of breath, tight muscles, etc., decrease. If you can calm yourself down, you can still choose to act despite your fear.
5) Expose yourself to things that cause you fear. Kind of sounds like Fear Factor, but no, the key is to do this safely and slowly. Not like this …
Fear Factor Moments
Research has shown that fears do decrease when a relaxed person (See! Relaxation is important.) is exposed to what scares them in stages. I mentioned before how I’ve decreased my fear of singing in front of people by first starting off with karaoke at a family venue and am now taking a group class.
5) Realize that bravery is several tiny decisions instead of one big, scary decision. Don’t get overwhelmed. If you want to find a new job, don’t think you have to turn over your boss’ desk and quit today in a spectacular blaze of glory. Think baby steps. Search for a new job (which can be broken down into smaller steps as well). Write your resignation notice (or whatever your business’ policy is). Turn it in.
Each step you take pushes you further toward the big goal and before you know it, the scary thing you dreaded is over. I know for a fact this works because I’ve done it several times – not quitting my job, but the small steps trick.
6) Focus outward rather than inward. Obsessing over self feeds fear. “If I share my idea and the rest of the office doesn’t like it, they’ll think I’m dumb;” “If I stand up for that nerd, the cool kids might turn on me;” “If I try this and fail, people will think I’m a failure.” But if you turn your focus on God and others, those fears aren’t as important. The consequences of not doing the think you’re afraid of actually becomes greater: “If I don’t share my idea, I might miss an opportunity to help my team;” “If I don’t stand up for that nerd, I’m not loving him the way Jesus would;” “If I don’t try my idea, I’m wasting the talent God has given me.”
7) Reduce the uncertainty in the situation. This is one of my favorite suggestions. It’s so helpful! Humans fear the unknown. The more you can learn about a scary situation, the less scary it becomes. For example, if you were auditioning for a play and had never done so before, you could Google auditions to learn how it will most likely go. Most plays have multiple days for auditions, so you could go the first night just to watch. You can apply this practice to almost anything.
Now you have 7 ways you can battle fear, so get out there and start squashing those fears!
The rest of the Bravery Series:
Basics of Bravery
Practical Ways to Practice Bravery