Fear feels like a natural response to facts brandished about without any ability to respond. If you ask a simple – What if ... question though, fear moves into freedom that innovative change-agents enjoy!
A mental barrier to freedom, fear of failure’s understandable when you think about it. Salacious front-liners about why you should fear the current economy threaten to rip off your future career hopes. No wonder a brain’s ethical values become crippled by fearful responses.
A simple question such as What if I did something different today to impact where I can move tomorrow - can chase fear away. Questions set the stage for brain based tactics that reboot brainpower and add innovation.
Fear comes with peril that shuts down learning like a tsunami takes out entire towns. Harvard Director of Risk Communication, David Ropeik, showed how brains are hard-wired to fear first, and reflect second. Have you experienced a question that offered new directions?
One simple question can move you away from anger over problems into a new tone that leads toward possibilities. 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. What if you were to name the problem and suggest one keen alternative?
2. Choose freedom with deliberate intention to make it a larger reality than the fear that overshadows it. What if you tell a person you trust about the freedom you’ve chosen and how you plan to use it to lead change?
3. Embrace changes in your day, and go with the flow at times to find new freedoms that come with growth, curiosity, and acceptance. What if you tackle one stubborn challenge with the curiosity of a child today?
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? What if you read a new book, or attend a seminar on healthier relationships?
5. Attempt to do the thing that causes persistent fear. What if you start slowly, laugh more and expect to gradually gain mental freedom that creates courage to do more of the same? Check out this hilarious video about facing snake bites in a strange land.
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. What if you take one small risk today to begin to build mental tenacity and overcome a fear?
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. What if you focus is more on freedoms you enjoy, so that fear tends to fads in response?
8. Draw on faith. What if you spend time with a higher power if you believe in Divine help, or spend time 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 and away from fear. What if you imagine the image of your brain rewiring itself according to freedoms that come based on what you do or create?
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. What if you 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 questions can prevent fear and diminish its peril. Face fear head on, 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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