Most people think that having courage means being fearless, but this is an incorrect interpretation. In reality, courage is the act of doing something despite having fears. Having courage means having the willingness to take action even if you have worries and anxieties. We’ve all felt this feeling at some point in our lives — perhaps when we encounter a threat to our physical or emotional well-being, which then triggers our physiological fight or flight response.
Fear can be triggered by various stimuli and can include things as simple as loud noises, standing in front of a crowd, or looking over the edge of a high platform. When you get scared, you might notice that your heart starts beating faster or that your breath has suddenly quickened. You might even start sweating, feel dizzy, or get a dry feeling in your mouth. These things are a natural way in which your body sends more blood and adrenaline to your brain and muscles. As a result, you become prepared to either fight or flee. Here are some ways approved by the experts to help you overcome fears and get ready for any challenges.
Every time you judge or doubt yourself, you’re only bringing in negativity, and it won’t help you face whatever it is that scares you. The best thing to do is consider where your fear is coming from and change how you perceive that fear. Instead of thinking that being scared is good or bad, think of it as information that your body passes. Next, assess what kind of value that information has for you and what you need to do with it.
Understand Your Emotions
One way to change how you frame or perceive fear is to identify your emotions. Listen to what your mind is saying and discover what drives you to become afraid of something instead of ignoring it or shutting it down. Be sure to find where your fear comes from — this may help you find a way to face that fear, or you might even realize that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
It would be best to stop being impatient — getting over your fears won’t happen overnight. It takes time and perseverance, as well as a lot of self-assurance. When you’ve learned to get rid of your doubts, replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. Be sure to take some time to tell yourself: “I can do this. I’ve got this. I’ve done it before, and I can do it again.” Looking at yourself in a mirror while repeating these words might do the trick if you want to.
Slow Down and Breathe
When you’re feeling overwhelmed and are looking for a quick escape from your fears and anxieties, practice slowly breathing and gathering your composure. A method called the “meta-moment” was developed for such times — to do it, you need to pause and take in a deep breath. This will activate the parasympathetic nervous system, providing you with rest, sleep, and enjoyment.
It’s our body’s way of calming us down from an active state of mind, and once activated, this system will encourage you to think more clearly. It’s best not to rush your breathing — don’t breathe from your chest; instead, take slow and deep breaths from your belly. This is the center of our body and can help to calm us in times of stress and uncertainty. You may even put your hand on your belly to feel it inflate and deflate to get into a rhythm.
Within a safe space, patients are incrementally exposed to the kinds of worries they have. While it might sound scary for others, exposure therapy is a method that’s proven to be highly effective for treating phobias and fears. Research suggests that even just one, four to six-hour therapy session can be compelling enough for some people.
While medications may help treat specific phobias and fears, it’s essential to discuss these with your doctor. For instance, Benzodiazepines may be prescribed for anxiety disorders, and beta-blockers may be used for those with performance anxieties. However, these are also addictive and typically produce a sedative effect.
It’s never too late to become braver — overcoming fear and anxiety is a challenge that needs to be taken one step at a time. Getting courage doesn’t happen over a matter of hours, but it can be developed like any other trait. When you put your mind to it and practice how to handle your feelings, you might wake up one day and realize that you no longer have those fears.
By identifying the things that scare you and facing those fears through a proactive approach, you can build enough self-confidence to ensure that you are also more successful at other parts of your life. Your fears can be used as an opportunity to develop your courage, so it won’t be long before you’re able to overcome them and experience your life the way you were meant to.