You Can Conquer Your Fears
If you have ever had the pleasure of spending quality time with children you probably noticed some wonderful qualities that they naturally possess. They have the capacity to look at things in an exciting and thrilling way and are wonderstruck when they see something that is new, exciting and fresh. For example, when children see a beautiful flower, they will invariably utter a single and simple word: wow! Soon after this exciting moment, they will soon start asking a number of probing questions like, "why that flower is colorful" or "what makes this flower look so colorful and fresh". As we progress towards adult life this sense of wonder can diminish if we are not mindful of the influences that we are taking in. This “child-like” natural openness and curiosity towards life is deadened (if not killed) in the name of protecting ourselves from change.
What causes fear?
The primary reason why most people resist change and remain in their comfort zones is: FEAR. According to research, a newborn baby is born with only two fears in life: the fear of falling and the fear of sudden loud noises. When you take this fact into consideration, you begin to realize all other fears you accumulated such as the fear of failure, the fear of the unknown or the fear of rejection are not fears that you are born with but are simply false beliefs that were absorbed by your subconscious mind as you grew up. They could have been programmed into you by various sources: your family, relatives, friends, teachers, governments, the media and unhealthy thinking patterns. Unless we develop a strong self-awareness we can stay controlled and driven by this subconscious programming which results in the same and sometimes unproductive conditioned responses.
Meet your inner-critic
These natural responses manifests itself as an inner critical voice within our minds that advised us to stick to the familiar, the comfortable and regular way of doing things which disables any new thoughts or information to leak into our awareness. This inner voice will give you many excuses and rationalizations to make your closed mindset seem normal or rational. It can be quite challenging to go against this programming especially if it’s been deeply embedded in our mind for years. If we disrupt our unconscious programming, we often feel naturally unsafe and anxious. You might wonder why we are made to responds in this way if it prevents us from living a full life, progressing and eventually evolving our consciousness. There is in fact a purpose behind this very human and natural defense mechanism.
It’s all about biology and chemistry
To understand what causes our natural resistance towards change it would be useful to get an idea about how the human brain responds to fear. Evolution or Mother Nature has encoded specific instructions into our brains to deal with recurring and common threats we may encounter. As a basic survival mechanism, fear helps to keep us safe from danger. Our bodies react with a "fight or flight" response: tensing our muscles, freezing in place or taking off. Our heart rate and breathing quicken. The walnut-sized amygdala is the region of the brain responsible for recognizing and responding to fear in these ways. New research zeroes in on the part of the amygdala that controls the messages our brains send out: the central amygdala. In fact many studies have shown how the central amygdala encodes memories of fear and controls learned responses to fear. This proves that most of our reactions toward fear is a learned and can be changed by simply changing our perspective on the stimulus that elicits the fear. Keep in mind each person has a different level of toleration towards taking risks and managing fear depending on their culture, profession, gender, personality traits and past experiences.
Defeat your fears
The good news is that we CAN defeat our fears and gain control over our mindset. However it will take some inner reflection and a determined attitude to follow through with change. Our “courage muscles” can be conditioned on a regular basis by changing the way we think about any source uneasiness and discomfort, incorporating health practices to discipline our thoughts and exercising them on a regular basis. Here are some ways by which you can begin the process:
1- Take an inventory of the thoughts that dominate your mind: Realize that you are responsible for the content and the processes taking place within your mind. Become the gardener of you mind by beginning to identify the thoughts you need to weed out and what you will replant in its place. Write down all the major beliefs and thoughts you have about the major in themes in life- your identity, life, relationships, money, people, etc.
2- Actively replace the fear based thoughts and beliefs that are not serving you: Take a look at your list and examine it. Eliminate and replace any fear based thoughts with positive ones that are empowering and that come from a place of love and compassion. This can accomplish by incorporating any one of the practices below. Ensure that you are comfortable enough to follow them on a regular basis:
- Visualization exercises
- Meditate to connect with your subconscious mind
- Recite affirmations to yourself
- Maintain a journal
- Create a vision board
- Join a mastermind or support group or organization that empowers you
- Hire a coach or an advisor to hold you accountable
3- Make your mental health a top priority at all times: Since the quality of your present-moment experience depends on the content of your mental life, why not fill your mind with the best thinking, most positive memories, and the greatest anticipations you can conjure? Make it a priority to become aware and monitor your thoughts and beliefs, feed your mind with things that are conducive towards your growth and wellbeing and also protect yourself from sources of negativity- the media, toxic people and environments.
Go for it!
As we grow older, it's not the things we did that we often regret, but the things we didn't do. Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have. The best thing that you can do in life is follow your heart. Take risks. Don't just take the safe and easy choices because you’re afraid of what might happen. Don't have any regrets and know that everything happens for a reason.
Recite this powerful quote every time you need a little push:
“The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with. All passion is found in the realm of uncertainty!”
Is there any other movie figure that could demonstrate the idea of getting over our fears better than the great Indiana Jones? Don’t think so! Enjoy this
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