How to Eliminate Fear in 3 Easy Steps
According to Wikipedia “fear is a distressing emotion induced by a perceived threat.” It is a natural reaction to foreign, sometimes uncertain, experiences, and it can be induced by positive or negative situations. Biologically speaking fear is intended to keep us safe from jumping off cliffs and getting hurt. Fear is also why we may have a difficult time falling in love after heartbreak or taking a solo trip after a dear friend experienced a rape or another type of abuse.
But, what about the times when we want to do that very thing that makes us afraid? I still recall sweaty hands and cold sweats the first time I went rock climbing. I also recall my sister describing a similar experience the first time she had to give a presentation at school, something that I never had a problem with. Hence, while the feeling of fear is universal, the causes of our fears are individual. Which leads me to conclude, that we can actually eliminate fear.
So I set out to experiment fear reversal during times when the fear is real but the danger is in our heads.
I recently tried this method with my acting debut (clip coming soon).
Step 1 - Prepare
This is a two-pronged process. First, figure out the root of your fear by listening to yourself. Is it a fear of embarrassment or humiliation? Is it fear of change? Is it previous trauma? Did you try this activity before and had a major fail? Secondly, evaluate the task. By understanding the task you learn exactly what’s expected of you. For example, if you are terrified of public speaking but you must give a speech for your new job, look up speeches, discuss with the organizer what the audience expects from you, and ask about what previous audiences have complained about.
Step 2 - Practice
Practicing allows you to be spontaneous and witty because it gives you confidence. After you complete the internal and external research you must use that information to practice. If during your preparation phase you discovered that participants complained about length, then make your speech shorter or add an interactive portion. Similarly, if you discovered that your fear comes from your mother’s constant criticisms when you were a child, you must remind yourself you are not a child anymore and even speak to your mother if you have to.
Step 3 – Be Proactive
Always try to go first. The longer you wait the more nervous you make yourself. This helps a lot at the beginning of fear reversal. In my case, I arrived at my acting job before everyone else and I asked the professional actor to rehearse with me before we were asked to do so.
Finally, NEVER ADMIT THAT YOU ARE AFRAID. I did not mention to anyone on my set that it was my first acting job nor did I mention my internal panic attack. To reverse fear we must first learn to act fearless. That includes practicing the art of keeping your fears safe and that means keeping them to yourself.
Fearlessness is a state of mind, are you there?
Yaromil Fong-Olivares is a life coach and personal power blogger residing in New York City. Contact her for coaching, trainings, and speaking gigs at firstname.lastname@example.org.