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A Simple Skill to Overcome Fear

January 9, 2019 Heidi Green, Psy.D.

You can overcome fear by defining your values. It's not complicated, and you can learn about how to overcome fear by defining your values at HealthyPlace.

Is one of your goals for 2019 to overcome fear? Everyone experiences fear and anxiety at times, but these emotions can create significant distress. Often, people allow their fear to stop them from doing things that are important to them. We must reconcile our relationship with fear, so it doesn't keep us from living the life we desire. That's why I use one simple skill to help me overcome fear.

I have an extreme phobia of flying. I've been afraid to fly for as long as I can remember. I've tried a myriad of coping skills and therapeutic techniques to reduce my anxiety but have had little success overcoming this fear. I went over a decade refusing to get on a plane at all. I thought never flying again was the answer, but I was wrong. There was another major issue at play: my love of travel. I have a strong sense of adventure, and my quality of life suffered when I stopped traveling.

Define Your Values to Overcome Fear

One simple skill to overcome fear is to define the value or desire competing with it. Perhaps you want a promotion, but you fear the interview process. Once you are clear about your desire, you can decide if facing your fear is worthwhile. If the promotion is going to increase your quality of life and allow you to achieve your career goals, you might decide you want to confront your fear of the interview process.

That's how I convinced myself to start flying again. I defined and prioritized my values. For me, travel, adventure, and having unique experiences were high on my list of values and priorities. If I wanted to live the colorful life I desired, I had to face my fear. I decided that my love of travel and adventure was stronger than my fear of flying. I told myself if I wanted to have a life worth living, I needed to overcome my fear.

Overcoming Fear Doesn't Mean Eliminating It

I'm still afraid of flying. I wish I could tell you I found a way to make flying easy or comfortable for me, but I haven't. I still have obsessive thoughts, tons of anxiety, and I'm still subject to panic during periods of bad weather and turbulence. But here's the good news: my fear of flying no longer controls my life. It doesn't stop me from doing the things that are important to me. I'm not missing out on the life I want to live because of fear. Instead, I feel afraid, and I do it anyway. Facing my fear makes me feel powerful and even proud.

I've learned to accept the feeling of fear and work with it, instead of running from it. I know my fear is trying to keep me safe. I also know that flying is safe, despite what my fear tells me. Now I engage my fear. I thank it for wanting to protect me. I remind myself that even though I'm afraid, I am safe.

I recommend creating a cost/benefit analysis to help you decide how to respond to your fear. Write out the benefits of listening to your fear. Then write out what your fear is costing you. In another column, write out the benefits of overcoming your fear, along with the possible risks. Now you have objective information in front of you to help you decide how to move forward. I wish you success on your quest to conquer fear in 2019.

APA Reference
Green, H. (2019, January 9). A Simple Skill to Overcome Fear, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/livingablissfullife/2019/1/a-simple-skill-to-overcome-fear



Author: Heidi Green, Psy.D.

Heidi Green is a clinical psychologist and self-love aficionado. She lives her blissful life in Arizona where she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and snuggling her rescue pups. Find Heidi on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and her blog.

Please note: Dr. Green shares her personal opinions and experiences and nothing written by her should be considered professional or personal services or advice.

Dr Musli Ferati
January, 20 2019 at 2:08 am

This challenging observation on pathological fear incites great opportunity to overcome this frequent and stubborn emotional disturbance, with many implications to global mental welfare. Indeed, it presents a guideline to face with numerous face of fear, beginning from common daily anxiety to most frightening type of fear such are phobia, panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. In a word your provocative suggestion refer to careful brainstorming of causal/outcome connotation of respective fear that substantially compromise personal. professional and social functioning of person with pertain emotional disorder, of anxiety circle. However, it ought to try to confront the hotness of respective fear against the ruinous consequences of avoidance conduction that cause pathological fear. In this direction an appropriate psychiatric treatment would improve also the definitive course and prognosis of any form pf anxiety disorder. In addition, when it is known that different entities of anxiety disorder are still beyond of complete and satisfying psychiatric treatment and management of these common emotional and mental difficulties.

January, 20 2019 at 4:11 pm

You bring up an excellent point about avoidance, Dr. Ferati. Often we think we are protecting ourselves by avoiding that which we fear when we are actually reinforcing false beliefs. That's why leaning into our fears to expose and desensitize us to the fearful experience is so important.

Morgan
January, 12 2019 at 7:36 pm

That's awesome, Heidi. Love that you're able to pursue your dreams and have a more self-expressed life, despite fear!

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