Do NOT Overcome Your Fears
Read through any self-help book or magazine and you’ll quickly see that one of the hot trends is being able to overcome fear. There are tons of methods and principles to conquer stage fright, deal with a fear of heights, or even be able to face spiders without fleeing in terror. However, there’s a big problem – they’re all completely wrong.
It may be partly based on semantics, but overcoming fear is not healthy. Fear is one of the most basic emotions and it’s what has kept humans and animals from going extinct. Think of it this way. Did the humans who ran away when they sensed danger survive or was it the ones that stuck around without any fear of potential predators, severe storms, and other dangerous situations. Obviously, it was the former group. Fear is a completely healthy reaction.
On the other hand, anxiety is not.
Anxiety is about your interior self, whereas fear is focused on the external environment. When you have a bout of anxiety, it can be about anything, but the most common situation is when your past life experiences inform what may happen in the future. One of the best ways to identify fear versus anxiety is how it is felt. In most cases, anxiety will largely be a mental affair, with all of the doubt and dread taking place in your own mind. On the other hand, fear has a physical response that can be felt all over the body, from hair rising on the back of the neck to tightened abdominal muscles.
Taking the previously mentioned fear of speaking in public as an example, maybe you had difficulties in the past when asked to speak publicly and felt embarrassment at not performing as well as you would have liked. Now, when faced with a new public speaking opportunity, your initial reaction is one of anxiety, filling your expectations of what will happen in the future with your past experience.
The big problem with anxiety is that your brain is not equipped to deal with it correctly. There will be countless times in your life when you feel anxiety and it turns out to be nothing, with the feeling being instantly forgotten. However, when your premonition of dread does correspond with what actually happens, it is remembered well and becomes deeply ingrained in your psyche. Thus, you build up many different situations that cause anxiety, but the false alarms are never removed. This means that unless your anxiety is overcome, there will be tons of times when false anxiety is present.
In many cases, the best course of action for getting rid of unhealthy feelings of anxiety is cognitive therapy that helps to teach how to realign your thought process when faced with certain situations. You can visit a professional therapist and there is also a great deal of printed information dealing with anxiety. Just remember, skip those that promise to give you a sure-fire way to overcome your fear and look for those that focus strictly on anxiety.
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