Anais Nin once wrote: Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. If you’re longing to expand your life by going after your dreams, here are 7 ways to overcome fear which may be keeping you stuck.
7 ways to overcome fear and live your dreams
1. Shine the light on your fear.
Pinpoint the fear that’s plaguing you the most — about your body, finances, love life, career, dreams or yourself — and hold it up to the light of your awareness.
Ask yourself honestly: Is this thought really true? Can I know for sure? Is there another way of looking at this? What would the highest version of me say about this?
Remember, the word thought is not synonymous with the word truth. Your thoughts are not necessarily true or important and you don’t have to take them so seriously.
Think of them like passing clouds in the sky — they come and they go. Your true self is the ever-present observer who watches your fear-based thoughts as they pass by.
2. Reframe fear as excitement.
To your body and nervous system, fear and excitement are almost indistinguishable. So feel your fear as excitement running up and down your body.
The most successful people in the world don’t feel fear less than everyone else — they just don’t interpret fear as a stop sign. They feel the fear and proceed anyway, because they want their dream life more than they want to avoid the feeling of fear.
3. Use a mantra.
The phrase “this too shall pass” is a great mantra to use whenever you feel fear rising in your body making you hesitant to take action.
It can help you remember that fear is a natural and temporary response in your body which rises and falls away like a wave in the ocean. When you realize it will pass, you don’t have to feel so afraid of experiencing it anymore.
Of course you’re probably going to feel fear in a new situation or when you’re taking a chance on a dream or goal — that’s okay. Use the mantra to center yourself and move forward anyway.
4. Remember the bigger picture.
Fear feels uncomfortable but in most cases, it won’t really harm you — but attempting to avoid the experience of fear will — because you are robbing yourself of the chance to experience the deep satisfaction which comes with listening to your heart and soul and creating a better life full of passion and purpose.
Check in with your future self. How will you feel a year from now if you don’t take action towards your dreams? How about five or ten years from now?
Remembering the bigger vision for your precious life can help you step out of your comfort zone and into the unknown.
5. Take bold opposing action.
One of the quickest and most effective ways to overcome fear is to take one single bold step forward in the direction of your dreams, to prove to yourself that you are willing to do what it takes.
It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Sending one email, making one phone call, pitching one idea or writing one page can be the catalyst you need to spark massive change in your life.
6. Write a gains list.
Our minds are often wired to focus on the ‘cons’ of our actions instead of the potential ‘pros’ or gains.
To help counteract this negativity bias, write a list of all the things you stand to gain if you go after your goal or dream — like feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment, self-growth, being of service to the world, and being an inspiration to others.
7. Anchor in the present moment.
The feeling of fear in our body is often triggered by thoughts in our mind — we are worrying about what may happen in the future, or we are creating our own negative stories about something that happened in the past — when nothing is actually threatening or disturbing us in the present moment.
You can take your focus away from your thoughts by switching your focus to what is going on in the present moment. Pay attention to the sounds, sights and smells around you. Feel the energy in your hands and feet. Notice the sensation of the air on your skin or the clothing against your body. Take a few deep breaths in and out.
You should immediately experience a sense of relief, relaxation and growing inner peace. You can use the present moment as a safe haven all throughout the day, whenever your mind is triggering fear.
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