Fear feels like a natural response to bad news brandished about in unrelenting media flashes. A mental barrier to freedom, fear of failure’s understandable when you think about it. Salacious front-liners about why you should fear the economy that threatens to rip you off, deceive you, destroy your property, drain your savings, withhold health care and charge you more to make a few richer. No wonder a brain’s ethical values are crippled by fearful responses.
No question, it’s hard at times to chase fear away, yet brain based tactics can both reboot brainpower and add innovation.
Fear comes with peril that can shut you down like a tsunami takes out entire towns. Harvard Director of Risk Communication, David Ropeik, reported that brains are hard-wired to fear first, and reflect second. Have you experienced it?
Fortunately, the brain comes with capabilities such as tone tactics for tough times, that help to create freedom from fearful events. You can learn to look fear in the eye, and when you do so, you often face it’s toothless bite. Your amygdala offers you tools to react to fear with freedom.
The key is to act, rather than settle for fear:
1. Name what upsets you. Fearful or worrisome thought provokers often slink into dark mental spaces, which makes them monstrous. Name the scare monger and it drags it into light and diminishes its power.
2. Choose freedom with deliberate intention to make it a larger reality than the fear that overshadows it. Tell a person you trust about the freedom you’ve chosen and you’ll lock autonomy in even more.
3. Embrace changes in your day, and go with the flow at times to find new freedoms that come with growth, curiosity, and acceptance.
4. Enroll in a workshop, read a book, or attend a seminar on the topic of your fear. If death scares you, take a class that unpacks its process. Fear loneliness? Then read a book, or attend a seminar on healthier relationships.
5. Attempt to do the thing that causes persistent fear. Start slowly, and you’ll gradually gain mental freedom that creates courage to do more of the same.
6. Risk new experiences that attract your efforts and talents to freer experiences. Ski dive, enjoy a dinner alone, or offer to speak in front of an audience for the first time. Risk-taking builds mental tenacity.
7. Focus on learning a new skill, on the beauty of your life, on laughter with family, on lunches with friends, or choices for your career. When your focus is more on freedoms you enjoy, fear tends to fads in response.
8. Draw on faith, and spend time with God if you believe in Divine help, or with people who are sensitive to spiritual wealth and strength of soul.
9. Show kindness when another person faces fear or anxiety, and you’ll begin to build new neuron pathways to personal freedom from fear, since the brain rewires daily according to what you actually do.
10. Visualize you helping another person to overcome one fear you face, and then jot down an action plan you’d suggest to step in the direction of freedom. Next, do one step of that plan daily for a week. Record your results, and celebrate any signs of courage gained along the way.
Not bad choices, if you consider that to run or hide from fear is to magnify its peril. Face it head on, though, and you’ll already have created a delightful new pathway toward freedom. What’s your plan of action, the next time fear hits, and you feel like running to hide at first?
Worthwhile reading on the topic of mastering fear – is also Dr. David Dobbs’ Mastery of Fear findings.
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