Think of your worst fear.
The one that makes your palms sweat and stomach sink.
It’s an unthinkable horror story you can’t get out of your mind, limiting certain actions you do or don’t take.
Now, imagine a world where that fear doesn’t exist, or at least it doesn’t control you.
We can help, as letting go of fear is not nearly as hard as you might think.
- What Does Letting Go of Fears Mean?
- How Our Fears Limit Us
- How to Let Go of Fear: 13 Actions And Practices To Adopt
- 1. Examine the Fear
- 2. Use Meditation
- 3. Face Your Fear
- 4. Stop Negative Self-Talk
- 5. Work on Being Present
- 6. Decipher Between Fear and Phobia
- 7. Worst Case Scenario
- 8. Choose You
- 9. Visualize Letting Go
- 10. Control External Stimuli
- 11. Be Good With Facts
- 12. Stop Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
- 13. Have A Plan
- Final Thoughts
What Does Letting Go of Fears Mean?
In short, it means letting go of limitations.
It sets your mind free from a paralyzing thought, whether it’s about snakes, public speaking, or heights.
But you need to know how to stop letting fear control you. Our mind is powerful with the information we feed it.
Letting go of fear means:
- Taking Back Control: When you release fear, you reclaim control of your thoughts and actions.
- Reducing Anxiety: You lessen anxiety about what might or could happen while being more mindful of each moment and more present with those around you.
- Opening New Doors: Fear is just one door to a world you have refused to explore. When you free fear from your mind, you have a new world to explore with unimaginable possibilities.
How Our Fears Limit Us
Fears in life keep us from seeing the full potential of something.
We might avoid hiking trips because we fear spiders or miss a chance for a promotion because we’re scared of looking stupid in front of colleagues.
In reality, fears limit us in many ways we don’t see at face value.
- Loss of Emotional Control: When we’re hardwired to be fearful of a situation, the chemicals and parts of the brain that control emotions can get out of whack. It can impact the larger scope of emotional control and regulation.
- Poor Physical Health: Fear triggers that fight-or-flight instinct, even if we’re not directly facing the fear. Just thinking, “Could there be a big spider underneath my pillow?” could send your heart racing, your stomach turning, and your muscles tensing. The result could be poor digestion, emotional triggers, and eventual immune system weakening.
- Mental Health Struggles: Being afraid is exhausting, right? You wear down your body, mind, and soul. You’re too worried about what could happen or using the present moment to support your fears with research instead of feeling safe in the present moment. That can lead to depression or generalized anxiety disorders.
How to Let Go of Fear: 13 Actions And Practices To Adopt
The first step to letting go is the desire to do so.
You’ll be using all the same chemicals and hormones but in a more productive way that liberates you from the self-imposed jail sentence of a fearful life.
1. Examine the Fear
Use your intuition and research abilities to journal about your fear. When did it start? Was it triggered by a certain event or inherited from a parent?
What would happen if you faced this fear? Write down your thoughts. Look at the reality here and now on paper to understand why you hold this fear so closely to your mental state.
Instead of living a life working around the fear, you can work right through it, breaking it down piece by piece while realizing it’s not as ominous as you once thought.
2. Use Meditation
Fears are very rarely based on the present moment, so the more mindful you are of each moment, the less you have to fear. Meditation can help you be present.
Breathing techniques can lower your heart rate.
Grounding meditation, where you list five things you can see, hear, feel, and smell, forces you to be in the moment.
3. Face Your Fear
You knew this one was coming, right? Here’s the thing – we’re going to face it a little at a time.
Using the fear of spiders as an example, you could go to the zoo and look at the spiders through the safety of a shatterproof window.
See how they move and aren’t lunging at you with evil eyes. You can also Google your fear, like “benefits of spiders,” and you’ll learn about how many other things the spiders keep away.
Other ways to slowly work into facing your fear:
- Public speaking: Speak to an audience of your pet(s) or borrow other people’s pets. From there, give a toast at a family dinner gathering and give a toast. Slowly work your way up and keep a journal of how you felt, improved, and where you still have room to grow.
- Heights: Start by walking over a shallow footbridge. Gradually increase the heights you will climb. The more you face a height and don’t tumble off into the abyss or see the bridge crumble beneath you, the more you’ll realize you can walk right past that fear. Do NOT start facing your fear by skydiving or something dramatic.
- Being scrutinized: If you fear being judged by others, whether in person or on social media, start with inner work on self-love and awareness. When you are self-aware, the opinions of others melt away, and you are confident in who you are.
4. Stop Negative Self-Talk
That inner voice is a megaphone of our fears and insecurities. Here’s a great exercise.
Write down all the negative thoughts you had today. Be brutally honest with what you write down.
Now, imagine if someone in real life said those things to your best friend or your mom. You’d be outraged, right? Seeing it from that perspective will help you give a confident “SHUT UP” to your inner voice.
Once you stop the negative talk, you can fill the space with positive thoughts. Mindful meditation and affirmations make you more prepared for the day ahead instead of living in fear of what could happen.
5. Work on Being Present
Your fears are based on what has happened or what could happen. That means when you’re feeling fear, you’re in the past or future. You are not in the moment.
Take the time to appreciate what is around you right now. Spend a few minutes with the family pet. Help your mom with the dishes. Talk to dad about his time in the military.
To be more mindful and present, you can use visualization exercises or start your day with three affirmations. Things like, “I am worthy. I will be present today. I will not worry about the future.”
6. Decipher Between Fear and Phobia
Take the example of “I fear public speaking.” When you simply fear public speaking, you might get butterflies before a presentation.
When you have a phobia about public speaking, known as glossophobia, you are genuinely convinced the entire audience will laugh at you, throw things at you, and then walk away tweeting about how awful you are.
You can address fear individually. A phobia might need counseling and help to find good tactics to stop making the fear so extreme.
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7. Worst Case Scenario
Millions of people watched “This Is Us” each week, and one staple of the show was Beth and Randall playing “Worst Case Scenario.”
This “game” is when you look at a situation that has you anxious, nervous, or fearful and builds up a “Worst Case Scenario” of what could happen. It’s cathartic and allows you to see how the mind can go to some unrealistic places.
Let’s look at a made-up example: “I’m afraid of asking for a raise. If I ask for a raise, my boss will laugh at me. Then they’ll fire me. I won’t be able to find another job. I’ll have to live out of my car because I can’t afford rent. My car will break down, and I’ll be on the streets. Once I’m assaulted on the streets, I lose what little I have. Then I have to resort to stealing to eat. Then I get arrested and go to jail.”
Do you see how quickly that goes out of control? You aren’t going to go to jail because you asked for a raise.
8. Choose You
Make a decision every day to choose yourself above and beyond everyone else.
It sounds selfish, but it’s not, and here’s why: If you choose to be your best self, you are the best version of yourself possible for the kids, husband, friends, and colleagues you adore.
Many of our fears are inadvertently (or scandalously) fueled by the people around us.
Friends might repeatedly ask, “Are you nervous about your first date since the breakup?” or even cast their fears onto you, refusing to go hiking because they don’t want to fall off the side of a cliff, so you absorb that energy.
Choosing you takes back all control and powers self-awareness and self-love.
9. Visualize Letting Go
This is especially important for people who are visually stimulated or artistic. Words can be powerful, but back it up with imagery in your head. You can do meditation daily to think about your fear.
Give it a face and a name. Look at it, talk to it, and let it be as awful as possible. Then, with the power of visualization, imagine a giant steel box around that fear. Carefully watch the locks click into place.
Add some chains for reinforcement. Then push that box off the edge of a bridge into a deep sea below. Repeat to yourself, “I am letting you go. You no longer exist. I am in control.”
10. Control External Stimuli
Doomscrolling through the awful news of the day. Watching dramatic documentaries. Binging on true crime shows.They can all add to our fears and implant a few new ones.
You know your specific triggers, so avoid them when there isn’t a direct threat. If you are scared of tornadoes, don’t watch “America’s Top Disasters.’
But at the same time, you should review the safety steps from your emergency management agency to learn how to be safe in a tornado.
So all your friends want to see Twister 2 when it comes out? You have permission to say no. Carefully review who you follow on social media to prevent being emotionally gut-punched while scrolling.
11. Be Good With Facts
For every outrageous fact about fear, there are likely three more that significantly reduce the fear.
For example, a person afraid of flying has a fear the plane will crash and they will die. The fact is that the real risk is only one in 11 million.
Another fact is that we will all die eventually. Yet, you don’t fear driving, which has a one in 101 risk nationwide.
The fact that you got to the airport safely means you’ve avoided the most considerable risk of all. Facts can help soothe outrageous thoughts.
12. Stop Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
You aren’t releasing fear if you use other ways to cope with it. The behavior includes taking a shot of alcohol before making a speech or overeating to spur endorphins after a bad date.
The best way to address fear, in general, is to eat healthily, drink a shot of water instead, and get plenty of sleep.
A healthy body nourishes a healthy mind. If you have pent-up anxiety, go for a run or do strength training to put that energy to good use.
13. Have A Plan
One thing we need to address here is that there are certain things to be afraid of, and we should have a plan to address those fears when they appear.
With the increase in violent crime across America and mass shootings making headlines, think about how you can apply that in everyday life instead of watching in horror from your mobile device.
Identify the nearest exit every time you walk into a room. Take a self-defense class through a local organization.
Spearhead a safety committee at your workplace to talk about “What if” and put useful, calming information into a plan. The more you can control the outcome of any fear, the less fearful you will be.
Fears in life are entirely normal, and phobias are treatable. You are the only one limiting how much control that fear has over your daily life.
Don’t expect miracles overnight. A little tenacity and daily meditation will help you enjoy all the moments now and handle fears as they come.