Friday, 9 September 2011

How To Address Your Fears

Do you have a fear which you want to address that causes you negative emotions and make you feel bad on a semi-permanent or permanent basis?

Most people have something they are fearful of: whether physical - for example, spiders, confined spaces or flying - or emotional - for example, change or failing or not being good enough.

How can you best address these sorts of fears?

I think the starting point is to imagine what your life would be like if you did not have these fears.

What will you be doing then? How would others know that you no longer had the fear?

This is your outcome or goal - your 100% - although you may want to aim for 80% or 90%.

Also, what would be the pay-off - or pay-offs - of resolving your fear? With a strong driver for the change you want to make you increase your intent to take action.

Next, identify times when you do not have the fear and what you are doing then. You will be wanting to do more of this because it works well for you.

Now scale everything from 0% to 100% where you are now. If you are currently at 30% - what are you already doing to overcome your fear? This is something that you can build on.

What resources have you used to get to 30% and can any of these help you to move gradually from say 30% to 80%?

Typically, small steps work to help you to help yourself gradually overcome your fear and it's unrealistic to expect to move from 30% to 80% in a week.

Although some people achieve this, they often slip back into old ways having not had time to consolidate and get used to their new patterns of behaviour and turn them into new habits.

Techniques which work well as small steps include the following:
  • Extended breaths - Challenge yourself, how many of these can you take each day whenever you think of of your fear?
  • Exercise in the morning - A short walk helps to put a fear into perspective because being outside literally expands your perspective on things.
  • Be kind to yourself - The next time you are in a situation which you find uncomfortable talk to yourself in a kind tone and give yourself what you need.
  • Be responsible for how you feel - If you start to feel stressed, fearful or worried, see how quickly you can turn your feelings around by turning your attention to something else or by aiming to think about the fear differently. For example, if you are afraid of failing ask yourself what you can do to deliver your best piece of work.
  • Aim to just focus on today - Most fears come from negatively forecasting the future. We do want to plan ahead and we want to see things going well but if you find this difficult being more present in the now will help.
If you have found this useful please let us have your comments or if you would like help to address a fear please get in touch via our West of England Coaching and Counselling website.

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