How do you face your fears?

by Jan 8, 2019

So it feels like the entire world has been talking about Bird Box on Netflix lately, and I had heard a lot of mixed reviews so I needed to check it out for myself. While I enjoyed the anxiety filled ride that the film brought me on, I can fully understand why a lot of people hated it, but I think the most important piece of the movie was showing how important it is to take risks and face your fears.

In Bird Box they avoided their fears with blindfolds, but in real life we would look crazy, but the concept in the movie stands true – our brain can be our worst enemy.

Think about it this way – have you ever been faced with a new challenge or an opportunity that you could be so successful at, that it is scary? The unknown is a frightening thing for most people, and it comes down to fight or flight – do you take a risk and face the fears?

If you never face the unknown, it is definitely less scary. You just stay comfortable (or in the case of Bird Box, uncomfortable but inside), but you unwittingly also avoid the success that you could have.

I tend to be a bit of a risk taker who leaps in (movie spoiler without spoiling – I would probably volunteer to look), but I am petrified the entire time. I am chill on the outside and a ball of anxieties within – the epitome of the “this is fine” meme. And often when the day is done I would find myself in bed awake all night stressing about the unknown what-ifs. This is NOT the right way either.

There is a lot of good advice out there on how to face the fears, quiet your anxieties and find success. Below are three tips that have really started to help for me and I would love to hear yours too!

  1. Keep a list of your anxieties. Write them down. Then look back in a week, a month, a year, etc. You will start to see that 90% of the things you thought were going to happen didn’t and you spent precious time worrying about things that never even came to fruition. The more I track it the more I realize that so much of it is totally unwarranted and I have been able to let things go more easily.
  2. I still haven’t learned to stay in the moment enough to totally not worry about future what-if’s, but I read that it would help to tell myself that it is OK to do nothing at the moment. When you lay your head down at night, give yourself the permission to relax. Tell yourself you have done everything you can in one day, it is time to sleep and restart again tomorrow. And then give yourself a “fun task” to think about while falling asleep. For instance, I try to think of new ways to decorate a client’s office space. Since it isn’t my space I have more fun with it with less stress and it occupies my mind while I drift to dreamland.
  3. Finally, I think many times the unknown feels so scary because we are all internally trying to control our own lives, and we can’t even begin to control something we don’t know. In the film there was a lot of control issues at play as well and everyone had to very quickly let those go. But when not involved in a harrowing situation – what can you do? I try to combat it by finding something I CAN control. I will organize the files on my computer, clean out my purses, schedule my next months worth of yoga classes, and I write a LOT of to-do lists and project lists and such. Whatever works for you, showing yourself that you are responsible in one area can give you confidence in another and it will help keep your mind off the what-ifs for a while by telling your brain “Hey – I’ve got this”

Are you a risk taker or do you tend to stick to your comfort zone? What tips do you have for facing your fears? I would love to hear them!