Five Tips for Overcoming Anxiety and Fear

Being stuck in endless cycle of anxiety and paralyzing fear is no way for anyone to live… I know, I’ve been there.

Worse yet, it keeps us from moving forward and becomes literally crippling. Forget about goal achievement, constant fear and anxiety turns into a battle just to get through the day.

It’s easy from the outside to see how this sort of thinking can be so damaging to one’s growth— but, from the inside, it’s another story and can be truly debilitating!

Here are five tips you can use to instantly destroy and eliminate those anxious feelings fearful thoughts— to move yourself from literally paralyzed to a place of greater peace.

#1: Take Inventory of the Situation

In Buddhism there is something known as, “right understanding” or, “right view” derived from The Noble Eight-fold Path.

When you become extremely anxious and fearful, ask yourself while your in the moment— what is truly terrifying you? It’s likely that the moment itself is actually quite safe and that you are projecting out into the future with negative visions?

What, in the present is so dangerous?

Unless you are being car-jacked or chased by a bear through the woods or perhaps some similar immediate danger, chances are good, you are crafting a story about your impending demise!

You are using your imagination— creating visions, in your mind eye about a future filled with frightening and unfavorable events.

Thus, the counsel is simple; take stock in the moment, in yourself and your present thinking. Do your best to gain a healthy perspective about the actual situation, in the moment.

Often realizing it’s just a dire forecast (not necessarily an accurate or correct one)  and knowing that the future is in fact, unknown…  ask yourself, “Could not the exact opposite occur?” Then ask, “How many other possible outcomes are there?” The next question to ask, “Has anybody else gone through this — or worse — and made it through successfully?”

#2: Shift Your Focus

It’s been said, “What you focus upon expands”. Further, in my experience I’ve noticed that whatever I focus upon I tend to feel or have emotions about.

If I focus upon a great time, a great memory, I tend to feel great.

Focusing upon a great memory, or holding a thought of gratitude and appreciating something can instantly change your mood, emotions and feelings in the present!

And, since you can only hold one thought at a time, the quickest way to banish fear and anxiety is to replace those thoughts with something favorable.

#3: Challenge Your Emotions

Could fear just be excitement? The answer is YES – it could be…. There is a great video about this by Simon Sinek (bottom). Could your worry or fear be instead an exciting opportunity? Often a situation that presents itself as scary is a powerful opportunity for growth. There are two sides to every coin!

Think about the situation that’s giving you fits of anxiety and fear. List at least five different ways this could result in a superb opportunity if your thinking was flipped on its head.

#4: Take Action!

Fear drives insecurity, and insecurity creates inaction and hesitancy.

Henry David Thoreau says it best: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life he imagines, he will he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

This simply means we must take action and move confidently — even if it’s slowly — toward our goals. And, here’s the kicker, even if we are uncertain and not confident!

“MOVE CONFIDENTLY in the direction of your dreams.”

The truth: NOBODY knows the future, those that are moving confidently in the direction of their dreams are doing so as blindly as everyone else yet, they believe and are hopeful!

#5: Accept the Fear

Finally, accepting and understanding fear can be a useful tool.

Fear has its origins in pressure and ultimately when we understand it better we can chose to refract the pressure positively.

Don’t believe me, ever hear of Lincoln, Gandhi, Churchill?

The “reality” is, we all have the ability to refract pressure away from fear, toward a hopeful, positive future anytime we can wrap some awareness around it (by acknowledging it!).

On one end of the spectrum is hope/faith on the other is fear.

I’m sure you’ve heard Yoda’s great line:

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”

Choose hope and optimism by accepting and not rejecting the pressure and refract it toward the positive!

By acknowledging the fear, we take responsibility for it. When we become response-able and not just reactive! We regain the driver’s seat and thus have the ability to steer that fear toward hopefulness, opportunity and faith.