10 Tips for Overcoming Fear
Fear has a tendency to get the better of us, whether it is fear of failure, fear of success or even fear of fear. All of us have experienced fear at some point in our lives and it can be a real stumbling block that holds us back from being truly successful.
1. Fear is fueled when you listen to it. Fear takes over when you forget that you don’t have to listen to every thought that pops into your head or out of the mouths of those around you. Be aware when fear is trying to control you—and identify how it keeps you from growing. Understand the beliefs behind your own anxieties and those of other people.
Often, the things that scare us are just illusions. Explore whether fear is popping up because of something that happened in the past under very different circumstances. Get in touch with your senses to stay in the present moment: Light a scented candle.
Hold an ice cube with your bare hands. Let apiece of chocolate melt in your mouth. Listen to a meditation or to relaxing music. Look up at the blue sky, and remember where you are right now.
2. Fear is fueled by inaction. Sometimes, it takes more energy to do nothing when you are afraid to act than it does to jump into the first step toward overcoming what scares you. Think about jumping off a high dive. If you are afraid of jumping, those moments you stand on the ledge with your toes hanging out over the water, feeling every little bounce on the diving board beneath you are terrifying.
The moment you let go of your fear and take the leap, all the fear vanishes, and you begin to experience rather than dread. Take the first step. Right now.
3. Fear feeds on indecision. When we focus too heavily on the outcome of a choice we need to make, our minds get tricked into taking all kinds of paths that may or may not pan out. Imagine choices are like directions you choose in a maze. If you reach a dead end, you can turn around and try something new. You don’t have to know how every decision you make will workout. Part of what makes life spectacular is the element of surprise.
4. Fear is fueled by the unknown. When you start to feel fear rise up, give yourself a reality check. Imagine the worst-case scenario, and then ask yourself, “How would I handle that?” Then, imagine the best-case scenario, and ask yourself, “How would that feel?” If you can handle the consequences of the worst-case scenario and would feel good with the most positive outcome, chances are, it’s just fear messing with your mind.
5. Fear is fueled by self-doubt. Instead of thinking, “ This is just impossible!” try telling yourself,“Of course this is possible!”Trust that can do anything you set your mind to. If you don’t have the skills to achieve something, you can learn them.
6. Fear is fueled by negative attitudes. Practice daily affirmations to keep yourself grounded, and talk to people with positive attitudes when you begin to feel doubtful—surround yourself with positive vibes. Look for those who give you good advice. Think, “I can do this!” and “Why not?” instead of “I can’t.” Don’t get trapped into thinking your current situation is all good or all bad. Remember, you are strong and competent. Focus on the good parts of any situation.
7. Fear is fueled by falsehood. Don’t hide from the facts. Look for the truth in your situation. Remind yourself that many of our fears aren’t real, and you aren’t the only person in the world who experiences fear. We all have them. Don’t be afraid to be afraid. Remember that this is just temporary and completely normal. Fear can’t hurt you. It just feels like it can.
8. Fear is fueled by a lack of breath. When you start to feel afraid, pay attention to your breathing. Often times, when we are feeling anxious, we start to hyperventilate. If you catch yourself holding your breath or breathing short shallow breaths, take a moment to focus on your breath. Slow down.
Take a big deep breath, and feel your lungs expand, then exhale slowly through your nose and imagine something that makes you smile. If you can manage it, bust out into deep belly laughter. Learn some coping techniques like meditation or yoga. Keeping a journal will help you also. Write down everything that makes you anxious.
9. Fear is fueled by your need to be perfect. We all want to be perfect and to make as few mistakes as possible, but the truth is, we all screw things up and make a mess sometimes. Embrace those messes and screw-ups. They all come with lessons we don’t learn unless we try and fail. Avoid harsh judgments, both from others and from yourself. Remember: Making a mess doesn’t make YOU a mess.
10. Fear is fueled by procrastination. Think of the choices you make in terms of the steps you need to take to complete them. Let’s say you have a driving test to pass in the next year, and you are terrified of driving. You won’t do yourself any favors by waiting until the evening before the exam to learn how to drive. Take one step today, another tomorrow, and another the next day. Keep things manageable so you don’t become overwhelmed when you can’t procrastinate any longer.
Repeat this affirmation to yourself when you feel fear or anxiety creep up on you. "I am a warrior. I am full of courage and strength. Today, I will keep going, despite my fears. I am safe. I can conquer anything. When I step outside my comfort zone, and allow myself to face challenges, I grow even stronger than I am right now."
A creator of safe spaces, and an initiator of difficult conversations, M.J. Fievre, B.S. Ed, spent much time building up her Black students, helping them feel comfortable in their skin, and affirming their identities. Her close relationships with parents and students led her to look more closely at how we can balance protecting our child’s innocence with preparing them for the realities of Black life. When―and how―do you approach racism with your children? How do you protect their physical and mental health while also preparing them for a country full of systemic racism? She began to research the issue and speak to school counselors and psychologists to find (and apply!) strategies parents and teachers can use with their children to broach uncomfortable but necessary topics.
M.J. is the author of Badass Black Girl, a daily dose of affirmations for Black Girls
“You'll come away from Badass Black Girl feeling as if you've known the author your entire life, and it's a rare feat for any writer.” ―“Mike, the Poet,” author of Dear Woman and The Boyfriend Book
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Affirmations for strong, fearless Black girls. Wisdom from Badass Black female trailblazers who accomplished remarkable things in literature, entertainment, education, STEM, business, military and government services, politics and law, activism, sports, spirituality, and more.
Explore the many facets of your identity through hundreds of big and small questions. In this journal designed for teenage Black girls, MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes. By reflecting on these topics, you will confront the issues that can hold you back from living your best life and discovering your Black girl bliss.
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Change the way you view the world. This journal provides words of encouragement that seek to inspire and ignite discussion. You are growing up in a world that tries to tell you how to look and act. MJ Fievre encourages you to fight the flow and determine for yourself who you want to be.
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Learn more about yourself through insightful journaling
Become comfortable and confident in your authentic self