3 Tips to Help You 'Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway'
"Feel the fear and do it anyway" is a popular motivational phrase, but its wisdom is often difficult to actually implement in your life, especially if you deal with anxiety. Fear and anxiety are huge, overwhelming emotions, and many of us struggle to even allow ourselves to feel them, let alone feel them and then continue functioning like a healthy person. Still, that doesn't mean it's impossible. It just means we may need some help to "feel the fear and do it anyway." These are three tips I've developed through years of living with anxiety.
How to Feel the Fear Without Letting It Take Over
- Say aloud "I am afraid." When I'm feeling anxious, I waste a lot of time and energy trying to deny it, because I feel like I "shouldn't" be anxious. Of course, denial doesn't change the fact that I am, in fact, anxious, and instead, it can actually deplete my emotional resources and make it even more difficult to deal with my anxiety. To help with this, I've started saying, "I am afraid," out loud to myself. I will say it over and over until it's almost comforting, which makes sense, because in a way, acknowledging my emotions is comforting. Usually, it takes me a few minutes (and sometimes some crying) to accept my anxiety, but once I've "felt the fear," I can move on to the "do it anyway" part.
- While in a safe space, make a plan. Once I've felt my fear, I don't immediately jump into doing whatever it is that was scaring me. Feeling my fear is a good first step, but to actually do the scary thing, I need to make a plan. Half the time, the intimidating concept of making a plan for how to accomplish my goals is actually what's making me anxious in the first place. But once I've accepted that I am afraid, I can meet myself where I am and make a fear-friendly plan. For example, If I'm too anxious to meticulously plan every step, then that's okay, I'll make a very basic, easy-to-implement plan.
- Reach out to a trusted friend. Whenever possible, I reach out to a friend whenever I'm trying to "feel the fear and do it anyway." Even after I've acknowledged that I'm afraid and accepted it as a perfectly okay emotion and made a plan for tackling the scary thing, I'm sometimes still stuck. At this point, I've done the work, I just need a little push to actually get started. I typically text one of my close friends who also has anxiety and understands how easy it is to get stuck on little things because I know she won't judge me at all, she'll just do her best to help. Simply knowing someone out there knows what I'm facing and thinks I can do it makes all the difference in the world some days.
What to Do When Feeling the Fear But Not Doing It Anyway
Even with these handy tips, there may be days where you simply can't "feel the fear and do it anyway." And guess what? That's okay. It's not fun, I know, but by definition, anxiety disorders actively interfere with our lives and make it harder for us to function. That means that even if you're working toward recovery, even if you've improved in so many ways, there will still be days that you struggle. The important thing is to remember how much you've improved and know that recovery isn't linear. Sometimes you might have backslides or relapses, but that doesn't negate all the great progress you've made in the past.
Do you have any tips for feeling the fear and doing it anyway? Be sure to share them in the comments.
Griffith, M. (2019, October 8). 3 Tips to Help You 'Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway', HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2019/10/3-tips-to-help-you-feel-the-fear-and-do-it-anyway