How do we get over our fears?
Scientists have asked that question for centuries. Fears or anxieties are commonplace; every human being has something that scares them. For some, it’s snakes; for others, it's social situations; and for others still, it’s the fear of the unknown. The point is, we all have fears and anxieties, which make our stomachs twists and our palms sweaty (shout out to Eminem).
And so scientists, like all truth seekers, have attempted to understand where fear comes from and how to overcome it.
I think, they’re asking the wrong question. It shouldn’t be how do we get over our fears, but rather how do we feel braver when forced to confront them. Lucky for you, I’ve found a solution.
To set the record straight, I am no scientist; I have failed almost every science class and have a very vague sense of what happens to our brains when we’re scared. So while I have no actual data and research proving that my solution works, it hasn’t failed me yet.
My solution? Do something that scares me every day, no matter how small. Or, in other words, do something that makes me feel brave.
It sounds so simple, because it is, and yet you will not believe how fast my heart pounds the moments, leading up and following the scary thing.
The trick is to find something that scares you. It doesn’t matter what it is, just pick something that you would rather avoid doing, and make it something doable. Then you do it. To give an example, maybe the thought of raising your hand in class terrifies you. Pick a day and a class and say something. Plan it out or do it spur of the moment, it doesn’t matter so long as you make it happen.
It’s like a little challenge or even a game you set up for yourself. It’s to prove to yourself that you can do it and maybe that scary thing isn’t as scary as it seems.
There’re several reasons why I believe this solution helps me out in the long run in terms of conquering my fears.
One, if I can conquer whatever is freaking me out once, then I can do it again. Second, it shows that if I can conquer my little fears then I can conquer my big ones too. Finally, on the days where I think I’ve accomplished nothing I’ve actually done something.
So challenge yourself to do something not because it makes you scared, but because it’ll make you feel brave. Your fear may never be eradicated completely, but you can alleviate it slightly — if you only try.