How Do I Stop Being Afraid?

ATAQ: How do I stop being afraid?

When we are blocked from doing something, however big or small, it’s fear that’s in charge. Fear is generated by negative automatic thoughts, or NATs, as I call them. These NATs are far more annoying and troublesome than the winged-variety gnats—even when they’re in a swarm! So, how do we overcome the fear that blocks us? Check out these 3 steps:

Start by asking yourself, “What are the self-limiting thoughts that are in my way right now?” Some examples:

I’ll just get hurt again.
I should just stick with what I know.
I can’t do this.
I’ve never done anything like this before.
I’m not good enough.
The last time I tried this, it didn’t work.
I don’t deserve it.
I’m not worth it.

Next, ask yourself, “What is it that I am really afraid of here?” Common fears include abandonment, betrayal, rejection, failure, embarrassment and success. Then, there’s being afraid of being afraid. That’s known as anxiety. Anxiety can work for us or against us. It works for us when it comes in moderation. It works against us when it’s too high (choking) or too low (psyching out). Once you identify the true culprit, commit to overcoming it and make a plan of attack. It’s ok to ask for help in this process.

When you experience doubt, ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” or “What do I truly have to lose?” You can’t always guarantee success, but if no one is going to die or lose limb, you can get through it.

This process will likely be anxiety-provoking, and there may be times you want to quit. If so, tell yourself this: “What I’m doing isn’t working, so it’s time to try something else.” Godspeed!

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