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How do you learn to not get scared when confronted with your deepest fear?

Written By

Frank Wood

PhD, Executive Director at Society for Clinical Mindfulness & Meditation

Briefly Speaking

4 Steps to not get scared and thriving with your deepest fears
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Many of us get scared and fold in the face of our fears ... both deep and not!

I have learned and teach an approach to stress management (which also works with fears). So what is the approach?

The first thing you need to be aware of is whether you have racing or spinning thoughts and/or body tension ... these are often more active when you are facing your biggest fears. The first step is realizing that when you experience racing or spinning thoughts and/or body tension a part of your brain is overactive ... this is called the Default Mode Network ... which is overactive when you are engaged in consolidating memories, involved in introspection, engaged in mental problem solving (coincidentally all at play when you are facing a dreaded fear). So the first thing to do ... is to understand that you are better able to focus, more capable of settling yourself and more willing to act and think with purpose when your mind is calm.

The next thing you need to do to not get scared is recognize that some thoughts and events get your mind going ... engage this Default Mode Network. When you are able to recognize that some thoughts (not every thought) and some events (not every event) "get you going" you are on your way to overcoming your deepest fears.

The third thing that will help is an acknowledgement that when you mind "gets going" a couple of things are happening ... (1) you have negative thoughts "why am I hear," "I should have avoided this," "why is this happening to me" AND (2) you desperately try to fix the issue (which usually does not completely work) ... and then you are visited again by your negative thoughts ... leading to the feeling that you are broken and need fixing BUT as best you try you are doomed to failure ... ugh.

The fourth thing that will help is an acceptance that your negative self-beliefs do not define you. In fact, your ability to accept your negative self-beliefs in a way that you realize that there are times when you behave the opposite as you would prefer to behave AND that you are still OK.

When you are able to rest and capable of recognizing and able to acknowledge and OK with acceptance ... you are on your way to facing your most dreaded fear.

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