How to overcome fears with these 22 tips
If you want to know how to conquer the fear that’s preventing you from living your life to the fullest and stop being afraid, keep reading!
The truth is that we can never live fully without fear and anxiety.
We’ll never be able to improve our economic, social, and political climate in a way that completely eliminates conflict and insecurity, not to mention everyday human challenges.
And that’s okay because fear isn’t bad; it’s just a warning flag. Your mind tells you, “It doesn’t look good! Something could go wrong!” What matters is what you do with that signal.
When dealing with fear and difficulties, you realize that you can actually cope with them.
It gives you a new perspective: the confidence that when bad things happen, you can find a way to cope with them.
You’ll be able to better distinguish between what you should really be afraid of and what you should not.
In order to change your relationship with fear, you need to change the way you perceive it. If you can see the values that fear offers, you can change your reaction.
I read a book by Pippa Grange where she said that fear is one of the main root emotions. It affects our choices, beliefs, and actions on a daily basis.
According to Grange, all, or at least most, of these fears come from one big source. And she calls this source “the not-good-enough fear.”
We’re afraid that we won’t be appreciated, either in our own eyes or in the eyes of others, or both, that we will be thrown out of the group, that we won’t be valued enough, and so on.
And this, so to speak, mother of fears manifests itself broadly in four ways:
- When we feel jealous (someone is better, more beautiful, etc.), we’re afraid that others won’t like us and we won’t be loved.
- If we tend to have excessive perfectionism, we’re afraid of failure.
- When we judge other people or feel strongly affected by what other people think of us, we’re afraid of being inadequate or insufficient.
- If we feel the need to stay away from others, to keep a part of ourselves hidden, we fear being rejected.
You might also like: How to stop being a pessimist and start thinking positively
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1. Analyze your fears
To stop being afraid, dive deep into your fears. First, some superficial fears arise.
Stick to the exercise, asking yourself, “What am I really afraid of?” and greater and deeper fears will come to light.
Answers don’t usually come all at once. It usually takes time to get from the upper layers of fear down to their true roots.
Be prepared for the answer to show up over time, perhaps not even during meditation or some other focused activity.
Maybe one day you’re picking apples at the grocery store when the answer suddenly arrives. That’s how people just work.
Fear makes you focus on the past or worry about the future. We’re afraid of things that are beyond us and that we have no control over.
We fear illnesses, being left alone, abandonment, aging, dying, losing the most important things, and so on.
Fear is very often associated with being connected to past events or beliefs—thoughts that may come from common consciousness, other people, or general perceptions of society.
By releasing them, you will create clarity, peace, and the ability to see the truth for yourself. This, in turn, allows you to adopt the best solutions and move forward in any situation.
Give your fear a name—what fear do you want to get rid of? Thank your fear; it has actually kept you safe. Think of 3–5 things about how this fear has been helpful to you.
Then think about why it would be helpful for you to get rid of that fear. Then think about 3-5 things you could start doing, achieving, or feeling if that fear didn’t guide you.
2. Accept your fear
Learning to work with fear is not just about doing an exercise that solves everything; it’s about changing the relationship with fear and realizing that fear has something to offer us.
All four ways of directing attention away from fear—panic, freezing, running away, and hiding—are different ways of expressing a single activity: refusing to accept your fear.
So the first step in changing fear from negative to positive is to accept it. To get closer to fear, you have to admit it.
Walk toward your fear. Get to know it. This way, we become completely vulnerable to fear.
If we deny fear, problems will follow. Actually, these problems will grow bigger and bigger, and at some point, something will force us to work with them.
But when we face our fears—we stop, we deal with the fire, we have a difficult conversation—we will only become stronger.
It’s often said that if the fear of remaining the same outweighs the fear of change, then we will finally change.
3. Find your fear patterns
Along with accepting fear, you need to get to know it personally. This means recognizing situations where fear occurs regularly.
One powerful question to ask your fear (kindly and sincerely, as many times as necessary) is: “When do I feel you?”
Recognizing your fear patterns will help you stop being afraid by getting to the root cause of the fear.
Based on that, you can decide whether there is really a reason to hurry or whether your fear can actually lead you to recognize opportunities so that you can live in greater harmony with your values, passion, and purpose.
You might also like: Learn how to change your negative inner voice into a positive one
4. Measure your fear
Draw a line with zero at one end and ten at the other. What is the worst thing you can imagine? Maybe it’s an injury that ends in paralysis or the loss of a loved one. Place it on the number ten.
Now measure your current fear against it. Doing this alone will help to create perspective. If you feel fear emerging, measure it. Where does it stand next to something really scary?
5. Want to stop being afraid? Take action
If you know a scary thing will help you grow, make a decision: “Whatever happens, I’ll do it!” By making a choice, you can focus all your inner strength on taking action.
Doubt and deliberation cause confusion and fear. Choices always create new opportunities and give us strength.
Fear never ends. The only way to start doing exciting things is to decide not to let fear guide your life and to make informed choices that make you face your fears.
Accept all the scary challenges and consciously create situations where you’re forced to conquer the fear you have.
For example, if you’re afraid of talking to strangers, just go and do it, no matter how scared you are.
Being brave is truly trainable. Decide that you want to take responsibility for your own life and start doing the things you’re afraid of.
If you’re offered the opportunity to develop yourself but you find it scary, still say yes. The best way to stop being afraid is to face your fears, even if it ends in failure.
You might also like: Strategies for managing and overcoming relationship jealousy
6. Take small steps
Dare to speak up at the meeting (even if it’s just one sentence), and do something new if you are afraid of going out alone: just walk through three cafes in the city, wander around them, and leave.
In other words, make safe micro-contacts with your frightening places.
Grow your tolerance. Dare to take these steps alone. If you really need a companion, choose someone who really understands, supports, and encourages you.
Someone who’s ready to push you tenderly. Talk to yourself before each micro-step: “I know I’m scared, but I’m really trying now. Let’s do it!”
Use logic to calm your disastrous thoughts. Talk to yourself, or better yet, try to anticipate the situation and prepare a story and sentences to tell yourself. For example:
“I’m trained and ready for that. I’ve done it 100 times before. I have a really good chance of success. Other people are so busy with themselves that they have no time to think about me. Hundreds of people have done this before me. There’s no reason I can’t do it. I don’t really know the facts, and I can’t draw any conclusions.”
By the way, if you’re looking for workbook recommendations, I have two great ones for you.
These workbooks are the ones that finally made a difference in my life and the relationship I had with fear and anxiety.
1. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook (it’s therapist recommended)
2. The Anxiety and Worry Workbook: The Cognitive Behavioral Solution
The purpose of replacement is to change the interpretation of fear. Replace it with a story, a vision, an image, or a belief that would help you overcome fear.
This sometimes requires experimentation, a little dreaming, imagining, and making sense of its meaning.
In other words, what or who in your mind is this “secret weapon” that helps you overcome fear by interpreting it differently for yourself? Maybe new doors have opened. Which ones?
Maybe it’s time to make an old dream come true. What is the imagination that helps you?
The images, the dreams, and the imagination—not logic and facts—give you the strength to deal with fear.
For example, maybe some self-affirmations would help to conquer the fear you might have:
“Difficulties are my advantage. I am better prepared than others. I’ve always stood up again, no matter what. I’m like a train that finally wipes out any obstacles because I’ve always done it and I’ve always succeeded.”
It’s not easy. Learning how to overcome fears is like a series of many attempts with strong emotions, most of which are certainly not pleasant. And the end date of the process is unknown.
However, according to psychologists, there is only one thing that is more or less certain: avoiding fear increases your sensitivity to it.
9. Avoid triggers
Avoid certain people, topics, conversations, and the news—anything that feeds your fears. Read and watch less intimidating news because it can really feed your fears.
Spend your time reading about topics that you enjoy and that boost your mood.
10. Distract your brain
Experiment to see what works best for you. Listen to music and podcasts, and watch Netflix. Talk to people, play computer games, and solve sudokus or puzzles.
Do anything that grabs your attention and keeps you away from the triggers that evoke fear in you.
11. Live in the moment
Practice living in the moment, because everything is always good in the present moment. Watch how you speak and react.
Start to notice how you feed your own fear. Talk to yourself in an encouraging, supportive way. It takes time to get used to it.
Learn to be aware of your fears and understand that, right now, everything is okay. By recognizing your fears and discovering where they come from, they can no longer control you.
Realize that you can do a lot to stop being afraid and be free from fear.
The more aware you are, the more opportunities for change you have. Remind yourself in a difficult situation that it’s always possible to change everything.
There is also a solution to every difficult situation. Fears, tension, and stress are obstacles to finding solutions.
If you don’t know what to do next, don’t stay alone. Just ask for help and see a therapist if necessary.
You might also like: Monthly comfort zone challenge to push your limits
Visualize or imagine doing this avoidable thing you’re afraid of to the extent that it’s tolerable for you. If you’re afraid of mice, you don’t have to touch the mouse.
You can just imagine that you are sitting in a room, and the mouse runs by, and you feel good.
Imagine you’ve made a change you really wanted to make, or that you’re standing in front of a small audience and smiling. Visualize your success, and you will succeed.
13. You are not your own emotions
When we talk about emotions, we usually say that we are that emotion. “I’m angry.” “I am sad.” “I’m scared.”
Talking to your fear separates it from you and helps you understand that fear is not who you are; it’s just something you experience.
It’s the same way with emotions: they are something you feel, but they are not who you are. Try to say “I feel anger” instead of “I’m angry.” Or “I feel sad” or “I feel scared.”
It’s a simple but deep change because it puts emotions in the right place. This perspective calms your initial reactions and gives you room to explore your judgments.
You might also like: Learn more about successfully fighting self-sabotage
14. Be grateful because everything happens for a reason
If you want to learn how to overcome fears, think of some great things that have happened to you.
Maybe it was the birth of your child or getting a new, desired job. Let yourself feel that happiness for a moment.
Now go back in time to the events that took place just before that. What happened in your life before the birth of the child or before you were picked for that job?
Maybe it was months of trying to get pregnant or getting a negative answer from the other three jobs you applied for.
Now try to see this story as a whole—from bad to good.
Open yourself to the idea that maybe what happened during the challenging time actually cleared the way for what you are celebrating now.
Now take a moment to express gratitude for these challenges. If we’re currently experiencing difficulties, it’s difficult to say to ourselves, “A good thing can finally come out of this!”
But the more we practice looking in the rear-view mirror and finding gratitude for the difficult times we experienced, the more we start to change our program.
The gap between patience and gratitude is getting smaller and smaller, and the intensity of our fear in difficult moments begins to diminish.
15. Well-being and peace are also related to the whole body
If you want to conquer the fear you might have, cleanse your physical body. Drink enough water. Eat consciously and mindfully.
Eat foods that suit your body. If necessary, change the diet. The way you feel and your health indicate whether your current diet is suitable for your body.
Spend more time in nature. Move around and take up a sport that suits you. Try to regularly release stress and tension from the body.
Stress and tension are related to your mind and your mindset and, therefore, many health problems.
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16. Who do you really want to be?
You know exactly what you want to be. Therefore, if you can imagine it, it already exists within you.
What would happen if you looked in the mirror in the morning and saw the person you really are?
What if you’re perfect just the way you are? What if you’re already the person you think you need to become?
17. Whose fear is that?
When you’re insecure or scared and want to conquer the fear, ask, “Who does this fear belong to?”
You often find that fear doesn’t belong to you. You have taken most of your fears from other people, so you have never doubted whether this fear is really justified.
To deal with fear, ask who the fear belongs to and decide that you are ready to let go of everything that created it. The choice to let go is what creates change.
18. What is the scariest thing that can happen when you choose it?
When you’re offered an opportunity that seems scary, ask yourself what the scariest thing that could actually happen to you if you choose to accept that offer is.
You’ll find that no terrible thoughts come to mind, and the fear that used to seem so big and paralyzing becomes small and powerless.
19. What are you afraid of losing?
If you want to learn how to overcome fears, ask yourself, “What am I afraid of losing?”
Start with external things: is it your car, your house, or your appearance? Write down everything that comes to mind.
Now think about your inner qualities: your reputation, status, and sense of belonging. Write them down too.
These lists are probably the biggest sources of pain in your life. You fear that these things will be taken away.
Now start thinking about how to change your spiritual relationship with things so that you are less attached to them.
The point is to understand and accept that all things are temporary and you can’t really own or control anything, so you can fully appreciate these things, and they can improve your life rather than be a reason for whining and fear.
It’s a lifelong exercise, but as you become more and more accepting of the fact that we really don’t own or control anything, you’ll find that you actually enjoy and value people, things, and experiences more and care more about who you choose to involve in your life.
20. What else can you add to your life?
Let’s say you want to become a businesswoman.
In order to make yourself believe it, start wearing clothes that make you feel like you’re already an entrepreneur, reading business books, attending events that entrepreneurs go to, and building relationships with people who are already active in the business world.
It’s very scary at first, but if you don’t let your fears win, you will succeed in everything. So, ask yourself every day, “What else can I add to my life to get where I want to get?”
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21. Conscious breathing to relieve the tensions
Practicing conscious breathing helps you experience joy and peace, which therefore helps you conquer any fears you might have.
When you focus on your breathing, your past and future thoughts don’t carry you away from yourself.
You’re free from all your thoughts. If you’re lost in your thoughts, you can’t really be present.
When you focus your attention on inhaling, you don’t think about inhaling; it’s more like an immediate experience. You’re experiencing inhaling. Inhaling is not an idea but a reality.
If you consciously breathe in this way, you can understand a lot of things. You perceive the miracles of life because, by consciously breathing, you realize that you are alive.
Being alive is a great thing. It’s a miracle that you can breathe and be here and now. Life is one of the greatest miracles.
You can create an energetic state of consciousness anytime, anywhere.
By consciously breathing, you perceive this energy and deeply experience the wonders of life, and that is what brings you happiness.
When you breathe in and really focus on breathing, there is an immediate change. You’re immediately more present, and you perceive reality much more deeply.
That’s how you start living your life much more deeply. How deeply you are connected to reality depends on your breathing and vision.
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22. Breathing exercises to overcome your fears
You can do this exercise while sitting, standing, or lying down. Be in a position that’s comfortable for you.
Close your eyes and kind of look in front of you (with your eyes closed). Keep your back straight while sitting.
It’s an effective exercise that helps to restore harmony and peace in your body and mind by creating a space between fear, panic, anxiety, and related thoughts.
You can also imagine that you breathe out fears and anxieties and breathe in peace, harmony, and confidence, which takes you further away from negative thoughts and tensions.
Let’s start the exercise:
Breathe through your nose. Make a connection between inhaling and exhaling, which means don’t take breaks between inhaling and exhaling.
Take four breaths in and out, and let the fifth breath be longer and deeper.
Perform three more rounds of five breaths in and out as described above. You can use your fingers to count if necessary.
When you’ve breathed in and out 20 times, start breathing normally and notice how you feel.
Has the strength of the fear changed, or has the fear disappeared? Do another 20 breaths until the fear is gone or it no longer bothers you and you feel better. You can do this exercise every day.
Bonus tip: A role-playing exercise with an empty chair
I was googling how to overcome fears, and I stumbled across this really good exercise that I’m now going to share with you. All you need to do the exercise is an empty chair.
Sit in an empty chair and pretend to be your anxiety. To do that, describe yourself as follows:
- What do you look like?
- What color are you?
- Where are you?
- How old are you?
Then be yourself again and ask your anxiety some questions:
- Why are you with me?
- Why don’t you leave?
- How could I reduce you?
- What’s in it for me?
- What harm do you cause?
Go back to the empty chair and be your anxiety again. Answer these questions as your anxiety.
Then be yourself and tell your anxiety that it may leave you alone (it can go on a long holiday) and that you can handle things yourself.
If you are more familiar with your anxiety and know why it’s visiting you, you can cope with it better. You can also look at your fears this way and understand what your biggest fears are.
If you know what triggers you, you can change roles and take charge of your fears and anxiety yourself.
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what are your favorite tips to conquer the fear that’s holding you back?
I’m a personal growth and self-care expert, as well as an avid motorcycle enthusiast and coffee and sweets lover. Through Lauraconteuse, I provide insightful and practical advice on topics such as self-care, self-love, personal growth, and productivity, drawing from my very own extensive experience and knowledge in the field. My blog has helped countless people achieve their goals and live more fulfilling lives, and my goal is to continue to inspire and empower others.