Most of us long to conquer fear, yet, few ever take the time to understand what fear really is, much less, make an effort to conquer it. But we are going to show you how to do just that, right now… because ‘fear’ is mostly a state of mind! And the mind is the one (and only) thing over which we truly have control.
In short, there are two primary kinds of fear, the kind you experience when your nervous system reacts to an immediate threat, like a when a dog lurches at you from behind in hopes of sinking its teeth into your… ‘dignity’.
But that kind of fear happens far less often than the second kind, which is the one we’re going to chat about today because this fear has a far greater effect on the quality of your life… and… because it’s mostly avoidable.
This second kind of fear… that insidious, sinking feeling that keeps you up at night, triggers anxiety, holds you back, keeps you from taking risks, and generally eats away at your peace of mind… is little more than a state of mind.
The thing that you’re afraid of can be almost anything… from losing your job, to getting sick, to the fear of missing out.
But in the end, it doesn’t really matter what you’re afraid of because that’s not why you’re afraid. You’re afraid because of these two things:
1. You’re not ‘living in the moment‘
Fear is about the future… you can’t be afraid of something that has already happened. So aside from having a snake jump out at you, nearly every single time you experience fear, it’s because you’re focusing on something that may (or may not) happen… in the future.
In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy we call this ‘Fortune Telling’, and we remind our clients that no one can ‘tell the future’, so worrying about a future that you can’t predict or entirely control, makes little sense… which leads us to the second cause of fear…
2. You’re imagining the ‘worst case scenario‘
We have a term for that in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as well, it’s call ‘Catastrophizing’. And just as the word suggests, it’s about imagining a catastrophic outcome. The problem with catastrophizing is that things typically don’t turn out all that badly, and even when they do, we usually overcome them… and even benefit from them. So most of our suffering isn’t from the thing we’re afraid of actually happening, it’s from being afraid of them happening.
The solution of course is simple… we won’t say it is ‘easy’ but it IS ‘simple’, and with practice you can master this process, which is guaranteed to reduce your anxiety and fear, and lead to a more peaceful and fulfilling life.
Step 1: Stay in the moment
Whenever you feel yourself slipping into fear, shift your focus to the present, and think about the things in your life that bring you joy and peace of mind… which leads to… Step 2…
Step 2: Remind yourself that fear is a state of mind that can be controlled by controlling the things you think about and focus on
And while doing so, replace your catastrophic, worst-case-scenario thoughts with the exact opposite… when you simply cannot keep from thinking about the future, at the very least, think about the ‘best case scenario’ of whatever it is that’s bothering you… it seems only fair that you would at least give the Best Case Scenario as much time as worst case.
And remember this… most of our greatest gains in life, those of which we are most proud, are the result of something that started out seeming ‘bad’ or too difficult, but turned out to be blessings.
In other words… ‘Everything Always Works Out’… not only because most of our greatest gains in life are the result of overcoming something we were once afraid of, but also because you always have the final say… it’s always your next move, and so long as you keep moving, you can ultimately turn virtually everything you’re afraid of into an advantage.
Just knowing this, can make it easier to move BEYOND fear, by reminding yourself that even if this thing that you’re afraid of does happen, chances are, you will eventually overcome it and use it to your advantage… at which point, you could end up even better off than you were before it happened. In other words, there is no such thing as a ‘worst case scenario’… because even the worst case scenario, is only temporary… it’s only the worst case, until you turn it into something better!