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How to Condition Yourself to Face Your Fears

Fear prevents us from bettering ourselves and our capabilities; but with this powerful small step you can overcome them.

ReadyNutrition Readers, this is a segment that will give you a framework for dealing with fear and how to give yourself an edge.  Although I am not a psychologist or sociologist, I have been trained in some techniques to help give yourself a mental edge when facing those things that trouble you the most.  Keep in mind: those who have heart conditions or medical conditions requiring a physician’s care should consult with their doctor prior to utilizing any information presented herein.  This information is presented strictly for informational purposes only.

Fear is Healthy

That being said, what is fear?  Fear is a normal emotion that is designed to protect us as a species.  There is no shame in fear or being afraid, and that being said, you can learn to control your fear so that it is not a negative factor that can bring you down.  Fear is designed to alert your mind and body to the fact that danger may be imminent and then is triggered the sympathetic and parasympathetic response, which is the fight or flight mechanism of your nervous system.  It physiologically has to do with epinephrine and norepinephrine produced in your body, as well as your adrenal system.

Now some fears are self-explanatory.  Fire will hurt you, and your body will kick into overdrive to propel you away from the danger of the fire.  Same response with a wild animal, an earthquake, a flash-flood, or other obviously life-threatening condition.  But what about fears that may not necessarily be life-threatening?  Return if you will to the article I just penned about self-assessment and assessment of family members.  That article will serve you in good stead here for your next task: identifying your personal fears.

Some people are afraid of spiders and others are deathly afraid of snakes.  Some people are afraid of the water.  Others are petrified of heights and high places.  Whatever you identify as your fear, understand this: it’s all good, because it is something that makes you a part of the human race.  There are ways of overcoming those fears.

Let’s take water, for example.  Most of those afraid of water are usually unable to swim or being stuck in a vehicle underwater.  There are several ways to overcome this.  Taking swimming lessons with a qualified instructor in a safe and controlled pool environment is one method.  Carrying around protective gear with you, such as approved flotation devices is another.

Overcoming Fear with One Step

There is one step that you need to keep in mind that applies to any and all fears you may face:

            In order to overcome the fear, you need to gradually/incrementally condition yourself to facing it.

Afraid of heights?  It is time to get together with some professionals with quality climbing equipment and submit yourself to their tutelage.  Learn the methods of climbing and grasping of handholds and footholds.  Learn about the safety equipment available to you on a daily basis.

            Exposing yourself to many of these fears in a controlled and safe environment helps you to overcome them.

There are many films and books to help you overcome your fear.  Sharks?  Study films and books of them…learn their habits and ways.  Visit an aquarium.  Gradually you will become accustomed to them and their ways without losing your healthy respect for them…but overcoming your fear in the process.  Spiders?  You’d be amazed how many people are petrified of spiders.  The best way to overcome this one is to study and learn about them.  Go to a pet store or to a friend and get some “hands on” training with a tarantula!  Ask questions and face your fear…but not alone.

It will take three things: time, effort, and patience.  You can overcome your fears!  Condition yourself with the resources to study what you need to face your fear.  Expose yourself gradually (it can be termed immersion) to what it is that scares you and eventually you will overcome it.  Once again, be safe, and do not do it just to prove something to yourself and/or others.  Do it to give yourself an edge so that something that might normally cause you a problem in a survival situation no longer does so.

An example might be fear of heights.  After training, you find yourself in control, and one day you go out in the woods and find a dam has burst, sending a flood in your direction.  There’s a big tree that will take the brunt of the flood.  If you’ve overcome that fear, you can use the tree to climb to safety and ride out the flood.  Small example, however, you get the point.

Fear is a natural thing that is common to everyone.  You can keep it under control so that it is a positive factor and not a negative hindrance.  Take the time to assess yourself and your capabilities, and systematically use these techniques to face…and defeat your fears.  So, never fear, you’ll be heading toward success by taking these positive steps.  Keep fighting the good fight and do some good…well!  JJ out!

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on December 3rd, 2015