Someone emailed me recently wanting to know how to overcome their fears.
Wow! That’s just the kind of question I love–because I’ve spent a lifetime trying to conquer my own fears, and I’ve found many helpful strategies and solutions.
First, you’ll need to get honest about current habits that may be contributing to your fears and negativity. Overindulging in spending, eating, partying, mind-altering substances, or unhealthy relationships causes fear, shame, depression, and negativity. Get help to overcome your energy-draining choices so you can make better ones.
Now that you’re ready to change your reactions to the people and situations around you, know this ONE THING: You can choose whether to be positive & courageous OR negative & afraid. It will take awareness & practice. But you CAN do it.
Both my own experience and scientific research support each of these strategies for overcoming fear, anxiety, and worry.
GRATITUDE. Want what you already have. Appreciate what’s already in your life rather than focusing on what you don’t have. Cultivate gratitude for the simple things (eyesight, shelter, friends, etc.) and stop to appreciate beauty, music, nature. Do this often.
COMPASSION. Avoid judging others. Be a strength-finder rather than a fault-finder. When you judge another negatively, stop yourself and then realize the person may have something going on that you don’t know about. Look beyond their behavior or appearance and focus on the goodness inside of them — in their best self
SELF-JUDGEMENT. Avoid judging yourself negatively. Instead, cultivate self-
KINDNESS. Do something to brighten someone’s day. Smile, ask how they are, listen attentively, or let them go ahead of you in line. When you contribute to someone else’s well-being, you escape your self-centered worry. Try helping out a neighbor or friend. It’s a sure way to lift your spirits (as long as you’re not trying to change them; but that’s a whole different blog!).
INTERPERSONAL DRAMA. Avoid Gossip. Limit or cut off contact with people who drag you down. Hang with positive people who are growing and succeeding in life. Don’t try to overcome your fear alone. When you do have a conflict, do not try to resolve it via text or email; meet face-to-face after you’ve taken a day or two to simmer down.
— USE THESE FEAR-BUSTERS DAILY. Meditate, get enough sleep, walk regularly, and offer as many smiles and acts of kindness to others as you can. Keep up your gratitude practice, and replace critical thoughts with loving ones. Soon, you’ll be amazed by how happy you are!
Take GOOD care of yourself. You’re the only one who CAN.
Gigi Langer holds an MA in Psychology and PhD in Psychological Studies in Education, both from Stanford. She’s also an educator, speaker, and author of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection (February, 2018), available in e-book formats and in print from Amazon.
“Langer’s frank and empathetic tone will comfort readers, as will the practical steps she teaches.” (Featured Book, BookLife by Publishers Weekly) “Her honesty will blow you away! It is beautifully written; filled with humor and authenticity.” (Member of Al Anon)