“What are you so afraid of?” Haven’t we all been asked that question before? Our parents and teachers may have asked it. Our friends have probably said it to us, especially when we were young. As an adult, I find that I’m the one asking myself that question all the time. Anytime we have to face our fears can be a challenge!
One of my biggest fears is heights. My family would say it’s an irrational fear, and they are probably right. I have no problem getting on an airplane, riding a roller coaster, or going up in a high rise building. But driving up a mountain road, especially one with no guard rails, will cause me to totally freak out! I’ll start leaning away from the dropoff as if my weight will keep the car from toppling over the edge. Haha!
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We went to Natural Bridge a few years ago, and I was in a semi-panic state for most of the trip. Hiking along a wooded trail was no problem. However, when we got up on the rock bridge, all I could think about as I stood in the middle was tripping over my own two feet and somehow rolling over the edge. It’s 78 feet wide for crying out loud!
What are the Symptoms of Fear?
Fear can cause your heart to race and sweat to break out across your forehead. Add with that the knot in the pit of your stomach, and you can experience fear full throttle, never mind the fear that already caused you to stop dead in your tracks!
Aside from the physical symptoms, fear can wreak TONS of havoc in our daily lives. It can keep us from taking chances or trying something new. It can also stop us from reaching our full potential and growing as a person.
As a Christian, my fears sometimes hold me back from sharing my faith. At first, I struggled to tell those that are closest to me that I was starting this blog. Even now, after blogging for several months, the fear of bragging too much will hold me back from sharing what God has called me to write.
Everyone has different fears. And even if they don’t make sense to everyone else, those fears are very REAL to the person it affects.
So, How Can We Face our Fears?
Facing our fears isn’t easy. In fact, I’d rather do just about anything else than stand on the edge of a cliff. But, we can’t get over our fears and grow as a person without facing them from time to time. Here are five tips I use to make facing my fears a little less terrible.
Time With God
If you’ve read my posts on jealousy, worry, and selfishness, then you’ve heard this one before. But reading the Bible and spending time in prayer is simply that important for my well-being, and it can be for yours too!
There are several verses in the Bible about fear. Here are a few of my favorites:
Prayer time goes hand in hand with Bible reading. While praying, you can tell God anything, so tell him your fears. Let it all out, and don’t hold back!
When I was a kid, my family took a trip to Hawaii to visit family friends who lived there. Well, my brother was TERRIFIED of flying! He was so freaked out, that my mom suggested he pray for courage every day. He did, and I’m happy to say we flew to and from Hawaii without a meltdown or tragedies during our flights. In fact, praying for courage was so ingrained in my brother’s prayers that he continued to ask God for courage in every prayer for years afterward. He’s a pretty brave adult, who has finally conquered his fear of flying. I think that’s proof that prayer works!
Practicing Your Skills
Let’s say you’re afraid of an upcoming test or performance. The thought of messing up in front of so many people has you petrified. Or you fear that failing the test will wreck your whole life. Maybe your heart’s desire is to snag that upper-level job opening, but you can’t bring yourself to even apply for it. This is the time where practice can make all the difference!
Most people don’t know this but joining karate was a bit out of my comfort zone at first. I loved learning the katas and getting exercise, but the thought of sparring (fighting classmates) had me shaking in my gi! And thinking about testing my material, along with sparring, in front of tons of people made me feel like I could puke.
So what did I do? I practiced. Constantly. Like 24/7. I spent time going over katas in my head and writing them down movement by movement. The kids were testing the same material like me, so we would practice together. We would also critique and help each other correct mistakes.
And when it was time to test for each new belt, even though I was freaking out inside, my muscle memory took over. I’d spent all that time reviewing move by move so that during my test, I didn’t have to!
Breathing and Meditation
Taking measured deep breaths can help your heart rate slow and your body will become more relaxed. This technique is used by most people when they are angry, but it can do the same trick when you’re afraid too. When you take time to breathe, you’re giving your body a chance to relax and forget your fears for a little while. It’s not only good for your body but for your mind as well.
Meditating while you practice deep breathing can make your relaxation even more productive. Be sure to make your inhale and exhale breaths match in speed. Focus on your breathing, and try to clear all other thoughts and distractions from your mind. Close your eyes, and simply be. Spending even a few minutes meditating can help calm your worries and fears.
Talk to Someone
Talking out your fears may make you even more scared at first. But, it can really help you get over them. Talking things out, just like prayer, can help you work through your fears and why you have them.
Finding a friend or family member that you can talk to is a great idea. Maybe you can find someone who can talk you down from your fears. They can help you see what’s rational about your fears, and what is not. If they have a different fear than you do, you might both be able to help each other.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone close to you, then a counselor or therapist would be another option. Some ministers offer counseling services, and there are even online services available. 7 Cups is a free online counseling service. There are many more paid services like BetterHelp. So you see, finding someone to help you work through your fears can be easier than you think!
Essential Oils Can Help You Face Your Fears
My family has been using essential oils for about three years now. There are some great oils for relieving stress. I’ve also used them during times when I was afraid, and I had fantastic results!
Lavender, Ylang Ylang, and Cedarwood are all calming essential oils. Frankincense is great for amplifying the effects of most essential oils you mix with it. In the DoTerra essential oil blends Serenity and Balance, these four, along with other soothing oils, can be found together.
I used both of these blends whenever I feel anxiety, stress, or fear creeping in. For each of my latest black belt tests, I made SURE to apply both Serenity and Balance before it started. It was almost like magic, but I could just feel the fear slip away. Essential oils, along with many hours of practice, helped to ensure I stayed calm throughout these nerve-wracking experiences!
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What Will You Do to Face Your Fears?
I hope some of my fear-facing tips can help the next time you have to face your fears. They’ve helped me so much, and I couldn’t wait to share them with you!
Do you have something you do that helps you stare down your worst fears? We can all learn from each other, so I would love to hear your ideas! Drop a comment below, or send me an email to let me know.
Make it an awesome one,