How to get over fear in just minutes per day
We have helped develop the fearless mindset of thousands of individuals, teams and businesses around the world by using a successful and simple blueprint evidenced in neuroscience and performance psychology.
Removal of Fear
How to overcome fear is one of the most asked questions in public health and performance all around the world. In this blog post on how to get over fear we will answer your questions on fear and its younger sister anxiety, about what it is and why it affects you. We then proceed to conclude with some tips and an online service that will address your anxieties and fears by arming you with the knowledge and toolkit to start becoming a fearless person. As per the quote below from famous world champion Mike Tyson, fear can be your best enemy but also your worst. We are not about to dispel hundreds of thousands of years of evolution here but what we will do is show you that you are not alone, that it is genetically wired into you to experience fear and how you manage and work with this mechanism designed to save the future of the species.
What does fear feel and look like?
To understand how to remove the feelings of fear we must also understand what it feels like to experience it. All of us will experience fear in different ways according to different situations and environments. Firstly, there are the emotional symptoms of fear which can range from feeling upset and unhappy to sensations of something controlling us and an impending sense of doom. Secondly, there are physical symptoms which you will be able to relate to more easily. These include, headaches, a racing and pounding heart, nausea and sweating. A very common outcome to a fearful stimulus is that known as fight, flight, freeze or faint. We all react differently according to the threat real or perceived, some become aggressive and want to fight. Others of us will see a sensible course to follow is that of flight or leaving the area of the threat. Some particularly weaker animal groups will freeze to the spot and hope the aggressor is not threatened by us and finally there are some that faint owing to sudden drops in blood pressure.
Why does fear overwhelm me?
The overwhelming feeling of fear is a good thing. How so you say? Well it is the most primal and basic of brain systems that is inbuilt into us from hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. The fear mechanism is built into us so as to keep us safe and for us to procreate and save the succession of the species. It is subconscious and wired very deeply into our limbic emotional system and areas of the brain. Our senses are continually scanning the environment for threats to us and it wants to keep us safe so when it is aware of a threat it will look further into the limbic system and consult the hippocampus for any past memories or knowledge of this threat. If identified as a threat our fear mechanism kicks in from the amygdala and our neuro-chemicals and hormones starts a process of informing the body to get ready for fight, flight, freeze or faint. Any body systems not needed for this process are shut down. This leaves the important systems still open. An example is the digestive system is not needed when fighting so the blood supply and glucose is routed to other muscles thus leaving you with a fear nausea or sickness. It is all perfectly natural. So fear and its mechanism is here and it is staying, so we need to be friends with it and work it to our advantage.
Where do people feel the most fear?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this. We are unique and individual and a combination of genetics and life experience or nature and nurture as many call it. We come from different families owning different genes that we pass along and we have had completely different life events, stories, memories, catastrophes so we feel it in different places and at different times in different ways. Consider the differences in a fear of flying, a fear of clowns, a fear of buttons, a fear of snakes, a fear of not being good enough between you and your partner. I bet the differences are enormous. On another point for you to consider, think about how you feel towards someone else's fears on a subject that does not frighten you. It is difficult to understand isn't it? On a final note here with my work in sport psychology, business performance and the performing arts the most fear is experienced when the individual is asked to perform under pressure. Pressure is considered a threat by the fear system and responds accordingly. Which is irrational if you are in a nice room presenting a powerpoint to your colleagues.
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How do I know that it is fear?
To experience the sensation of fear is not easily forgotten. It can be an all consuming wave of neuro-chemicals and hormones sweeping through your bloodstream. This powerful surge of blood finding its way to the organs that are needed in our stress response. The distribution of adrenaline fuelling muscles and stimulating major organs is the most recognisable experience from fear. The stress hormone cortisol produced by the adrenal glands helping to produce the extra glucose needed for energy to overcome this threat. You will be able to tell that this is a fear response if these symptoms subside once the threat has passed. The initial narrow focus of your attention will be a clue as others stimuli in the environment are overlooked or ignored. As you relax your cognitions become clearer, your emotions not so heightened and your behaviours more conducive with a situation where the threat has been removed. You will have no doubt what you have just experienced and if not you may consider that you are experiencing a cardiac event or something similar at the time. We will consider panic attacks in another post.
Which types of fear are there?
In performance there are many types of fears that we come across with clients. We have to consider differing degrees in severity. The worst being a genuine threat response to a stimulus that we are fearful of. We can think here of snakes and fear of heights but to another person a fear of failure produces these awful responses. The next category would be perceived threats. These are threats that are not actually there but we think that they are and are going to surface. You may think in a presentation that you may become ill and look silly to all your workmates. Another category of fear is anxiety which can be a general anxiety to all things in life or a specific anxiety to an event, situation or just of a worrying kind. This category of fear can be a problem because you are not experiencing the full weight of the response but you have a lower continual grade of fear that can be health damaging due to continual levels of cortisol in the bloodstream. I think what I mean here is that you may not be fully aware that you are suffering until an event like a panic attack strikes rendering you confused and weakened. The final category here is a phobia which is a response in fear to a totally unthreatening stimulus say a clown, a button or a fear of mirrors.
Who feels fear?
This question has a simple answer, everybody feels fear at some times in their lives unless they may be damaged possibly in their fear centres in the brain, the amygdala and/or the hypothalamus. One starts the process and the other is part of the HPA axis including the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands sat on top of the kidneys. These are potentially the ones that jump off of buildings, take unnecessary risks and seem to have no value at all for their existence. Apart from these there are a group of the population who master the management of stress, pressure and challenge and have coping and control mechanisms in place for a calming of the fear response. Finally, the rest of the population experience fear in differing amounts ranging from the leader facing his Board, the accused facing the judge and jury, the aircraft pilot facing a system malfunction and the housewife continually worrying about her child. It's here and the fear response is not going anywhere soon.
How to stop feeling fearful
The question here is to find a way to stop feeling the dreadful effects of a fear response whilst keeping the safety system in place. Imaging if you had to deal with fear and threat on a moment by moment basis in your conscious mind. I can tall you that the pre frontal cortex would be overloaded and you could never work, think, experience or in fact do anything every again in your life. This is why the system is stored away in the middle of the brain and not in the front, so it can operate subconsciously. It does it for you and when it hits the jackpot, it lets you know as explained above and you can now consciously deal with the threat whilst ignoring what you were doing. Think of it as a free security detail that works 24/7/365 for no pay and no argument. All it asks is that you acknowledge it when it speaks to you to keep yourself alive or in fact safe from those clowns. So my simple tip is this which is the origin of your fear journey. Start to acknowledge it when it happens, log it and look for patterns. Ask yourself is it a real or a perceived threat, has it happened before and when and what did I do last time. Did this work or shall I look for a new answer to the question. Start to think that the feelings are wonderful and helpful and I am going with it. If there is no threat on the scan, let's learn to calm down to homeostasis quicker than before. If I think I have a continual sensation let's find the cause of my general or specific anxiety and start to manage that.
How to overcome fear today
So how do we overcome fear today? Let's be honest that if we do not conquer it and work with the beast then we will feel no joy, no happiness and will not experience success in our lives. We will not have lived and when we get to that rocking chair moment and look back, we will answer that the threat never really happened and nor will it. The worst fear of all is the fear of fear (phobophobia) itself. So you are here and that means you want to change and to improve and I would love to help you with that. We have online courses in overcoming fear, weekly online classes where you will work through all your fears and also fear coaching and counselling by video or audio call with myself. Do not be afraid of overcoming fear, make a choice today and contact us. Good luck.
The perfect starting point for assessing your mental strength and toughness is to quickly take our mental toughness assessment quiz. Fear is very much part of the mental aspects of performance. Not only is it fun, but it is also informative as it gets you to think about all the different qualities, parameters and actions needed to better mental performance. Today will be the benchmark against which you will monitor your improvement.