Health & Medical Self-Improvement

5 Easy Steps to Overcome Fear

If you are anything like me, you will find this article useful or interesting at the very least.
Before I started on this little project to try anything that sounds exciting, I was afraid of almost everything.
Things like starting a conversation with a total stranger, trying a new sport on my own, clearing airport security on my own and going alone to the movies all sounded terrifying.
But after asking a couple of friends, I realised that they too have the same fears.
One good friend said that she can NEVER be seen eating alone at a restaurant.
I can relate to that because I was in that exact same spot once and had an incredibly boring time.
The trouble with me is that I postponed or completely wrote off some pretty cool stuff because a) I was genuinely afraid to do them or b) I didn't want to do them alone.
Much of what we fear or feel embarrassed about is in our heads.
Thoughts like 'would I look stupid?' 'yeap, everyone is staring at me now' and 'gee, that poor girl is alone' are usually amplified in our heads.
I know it was in my case, because as soon as I decided to brave it and face what terrified me, guess what? It wasn't so bad.
I actually had fun and was looking forward to overcome my next fear.
Now, there will be some things that we will never be able to conquer and that is absolutely alright.
God knows I can never and would never bungee jump.
But those fears that are debilitating must be faced head on and won over.
So, what did I do (and still do) to face my demons? Step 1: Choose to face what you could handle To make sure I wouldn't stop short of fully carrying through, I picked one that can be easily surmounted for my first tryout.
I made a list of all the things I was afraid to do and realised that 'going to the movies alone' was the most irrational of them all.
But at the same time, it's something that I can quite easily attempt to overcome without losing my mind.
If I had started off with paragliding in the Swiss Alps, my efforts would have been doomed from the word get go.
So, take baby steps, one at a time.
Step 2: Don't overthink it As soon as I decided to do it, I stopped thinking about it too much.
I didn't delve into the what-ifs and the maybes.
It would have been totally counterproductive.
I didn't even come up with a plan B.
As they say, it's do or die.
I committed myself to this task that seemed gargantuan and that was it.
Some people have a tendency to over-analyse things and that is something we don't want at this point.
The more you think about it, the more the negative aspects of the task will mess up with your head.
Remember, it's all in the head.
At this point, I only thought of one thing and that is: when am I going to do it.
Step 3: Get excited Because I can't get excited over watching a movie ALONE, I decided to get excited over the movie I'm about to watch instead.
I went through a list of movies that were coming soon and playing at the time.
I picked my favourite, booked the ticket and got excited over that.
I read the reviews, watched the trailers and ogled at the lead actor actress.
Another thing that got me excited was picking the outfit to wear for my first solo movie watching.
I did anything that could get me excited and veer my thoughts away from what is unpleasant about the whole thing.
Step 4: Tell friends No matter how hard I tried to get excited, that sneaky fear had a way of creeping in uninvited.
So, the next line of defense was to tell all my friends and colleagues that I was going to watch a movie.
I didn't tell them I was going alone.
Just that I was going to watch this cool movie on this date.
And it worked in two prongs: One is that it would be pretty embarrassing if I met them the next day and they find out I actually didn't go to the movies.
Secondly, their excitement helped gain momentum to keep my own excitement going and stay motivated to do it.
Step 5: Just Do It To borrow Nike's well known tagline, when the day arrived, I just did it! Oh, I had that whole 'poor girl is alone', 'everyone is staring at me' and 'I look stupid' spiel running wildly in my head.
But I was determined to stay focused at how cool the movie was going to be.
And true enough, the muddle of thoughts only lasted as long as I was standing outside the movie hall with the other movie goers.
As soon as I entered the screening hall, every single negative thought vanished! From then on, it was all about the movie and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The next time I went to the movies alone, I was a lot calmer and was able to stand in the waiting area without much agony.
I quite enjoyed people watching, actually.
In my calm state, I even noticed others who were there alone and quite honestly, I didn't think 'Oh poor lonely guy'.
Quite to the contrary, I thought it's cool! That's when I realised that it's all in the head.
From then on, I challenged myself to try and face other fears increasing the level of complexity each time.
So far, this 5 step method has worked well for me and I have attempted to try quite a number of things I wouldn't have before.
So there you have it.
Maybe it would help you too!

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