In a previous post, I talked about how worrying is negative thinking. When you are always worried about something, you are stuck in a negative thinking pattern. As you continue going down this path of negative thoughts, your mind loses control and you suddenly find yourself in a state of constant worry and anxiety. If left untreated, it can start to have negative effects on your health. The question is how do you overcome fear and worry? In this post, I will show you some of the techniques that I use and that I think will be helpful to you as well.
3 Tips For Overcoming Fear And Worry
Re-Phrase The Fear
The next time you are in a state of fear or worry, stop for a minute and write down the thoughts that are going through your head. Are you worried about an upcoming presentation? Are you scared when you let go of the bike that your child is learning to ride for the first time?
Once you have written down these thoughts, change them to the positive. Instead of focusing on the fear – the future worst case scenario – focus instead on the present. Here are the two examples above, changed to the positive:
In the case of the presentation, look at how successful you have been up to this point to have the opportunity to present. Not everyone gets this opportunity. Only stand out stars present. Be proud of that and focus on that.
In the case of your child learning to ride a bike, look at what is happening right now. They are learning to ride a bike! This moment will not happen again. Take in and enjoy the emotions of them learning not only how to ride a bike, but learning how to balance themselves and improve their hand-eye coordination.
Another way to put all this is to simply focus on the present. Worrying is usually happening because we fear something happening in the future. The ironic thing is, is that 99% of the time, we think of the absolute worst case scenario, and 99% of the time, what ends up happening is nothing close to the worst case scenario. Learn to focus and live in the present.
No, I am not telling you to start making another to-do list. Most of you are probably already overwhelmed by your to-do list like I was at one point. What I am telling you to do is to take 10 minutes and write down 10 things that you feel positive about. They don’t have to do with the situation that is causing you fear or anxiety. If I had to make a list on the fly, it would look like this:
- A great wife
- A job I love
- Awesome friends
- Supportive family
- The progress I am making in the gym
Once you have your list, take a few minutes to share them with friends or family. By doing this, you lessen the amount of worry because you are focusing instead on the good, positive things you have going in on your life. Note that if you don’t want to share your list, it is not a requirement. If you do not share however, you should take some time to reread your list a few times and let the words really sink in.
The power of this exercise is incredible. I would use this tip all of the time when I was fearing the future. It helped me to calm down and be more upbeat. Once my mindset was more positive, I didn’t fear any longer. I was excited about my future and what lies ahead for me.
Talk To Yourself
You’ll probably want to do this one by yourself, otherwise people might think you are crazy! Find a quiet place and tell yourself that you are great and that you feel great. You cannot talk in your mind with this one, you have to say it aloud. Say it with meaning too. Don’t make a statement, make an exclamation. Here is the difference:
- I am great and I feel great too.
- I am great and I feel great too!
Give the words some emphasis. Say this a few times until you feel it take root deep down. You will know when it does because you will instantly feel better. It sounds unbelievable, but it works all of the time for me. In fact, I told my wife about it and now she does it.
Also, be careful about doing this in your car, where you think you are alone, but might not be. One day, I was telling myself how great I was in a parking lot. After saying it a few times, I didn’t notice a car pulled up alongside me and the driver was looking at me confused. Just a heads up for others that are thinking of heading out to the parking lot to complete this exercise. The bathroom stall at work is probably not a good idea either.
So there you have 3 tips for overcoming fear and worry. Pick the ones that work best for you and stick with them. I suggest you try each one a few times and then decide on what works best for you. If you are like me, you immediately think that some of them “aren’t you”. That is yourself doubting your abilities. I have been surprised many times when I just let go of that fear and try. Good things happen more often than not. So don’t worry over which one to try. Try them all and settle on the ones that work best to help you get over your fear and worry.
[Photo Credit: Paul Downey]
Hi, my name is Don and I run Breath of Optimism. This site is here to help you stay positive and become the best you can be. We only get one shot at life, so we might as well make the most of it.