Learning to Face Fear

by Michael Corthell

(Fear and anxiety are the driving emotion behind hate and anger. Fear and anxiety are made worse by ignorance.)

Looking at your life now. What do you fear. What are trying to avoid? What are you running from? Your job and its responsibilities? Your marriage and home life? Your poor health? Your bad eating habits? Your lack of exercise? Your small bank account? Your laziness? or Your past?

''I need to stop fantasizing about running away to some
other life and start figuring out the one I have.''

Holly Black

It is a common to run or want to run from problems. We call it avoidance of discomfort, or escapism. In it's very light form, escapism is simply going to the movies or reading a book. We often 'runaway' from life by sleeping and playing. Some of us drown ourselves in work. Some get lost in addiction, such as binge eating, smoking, alcohol and other drugs. And some of us actually run away from our homes. Some find a 'geographic cure' by moving to a new city, state or country.

Most of this running away behavior is about avoiding anxiety or 'feeling bad'. I'd call it 'normal' ―at least the desire to escape bad feelings. Running from problems, running from life is self-sabotage and that kind of problem solving can bite you in the butt almost all of the time. How can you ''stand and face''? How can you gird yourself against that feeling of scared unease we call anxiety?

You have a choice: conquer your anxiety or let it run and/or ruin your life.

The first step is understanding. It always is, isn't it? Let's look at negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement, in the matter of anxiety, is simply avoidance. Every time you try to accomplish something, but you let the fear take control of you and you back away, you are 'avoiding' and thus negatively reinforcing yourself. You are sabotaging your goals just so you don't have to experience that fear and anxiety. The more you avoid anxious situations, the more likely you are to avoid future anxiety-inducing situations. It becomes routine. It becomes a negative habit because things don't get done.

Let's face it. Standing up to and facing your fear and anxiety is hard but it is the only good way to get the life you want and for some, to survive. That was one of the lessons in The Stand. Giving a talk in front of a group of people for example, is at the very least, a 'butterflies moment' but most often creates severe anxiety. When you force yourself to make it through those types of situations, however difficult, you'll see that everything most often will turn out okay, even if you made a mistake or two. Even if was extremely painful, the next time you have to give a speech or presentation the pain will be less severe. Eventually, the fear may completely disappear.

Accentuate the positive. Fear and anxiety can force us to notice and remember negative events, which in turn reinforces our sense that the world is a dangerous and scary place. We can work to change that by purposely being mindful of what is positive—the happiness we feel when we see friend, the joy of a sunny day, the beauty in nature, the fun of trip, the humor in almost any a situation.

A positive mindset broadens our perspective—we literally have a wider field of view, which gives us more options. And the more we practice positivity, the more it accumulates, creating an inner strength that allows us to function well even in difficult times.

Overcoming anxiety is a very personal process. We all need to find out what works best for us personally. It is also very important to remember that overcoming avoidance behavior takes practice.

Lastly, please note that none of us is perfect. It can be very difficult to face our fears. Fears of failure and fear of loss. But we all need to, we have to, not only stand and fight the fears and anxieties that cripple our progress in life, but we also have to develop the drive and determination to keep trying―to never ever give in or give up.

Rethinking anxiety: Learning to face fear | Dawn Huebner

We are hard-wired to shrink away from the things that scare us – to fight, flee or freeze in the face of danger. That’s a good thing, but anxiety is about perceived danger, which is different from actual danger. When we act based solely on nervous feelings, our worlds can become very small. Our desperate attempt to avoid discomfort and uncertainty fuels anxiety, and avoidance locks it in place. Yet we can take back control. We can learn to face our fears rather than running from them.

Dr. Dawn Huebner believes we can all be taught to overcome fear and anxiety. In this engaging talk she explains how anyone, at any age, can conquer debilitating fear. A clinical psychologist in private practice, she treats children with a variety of emotional, behavioral and developmental concerns.

Huebner is the author of “The What To Do Guides for Kids” series, which not only reflect her beliefs about empowerment, but also provide practical advice for parents and children. Her personal journey as a parent, however, led Huebner on a quest to find ways of using cognitive-behavioral therapy as an approach. With simple language and humor, she presents sophisticated concepts in a way easily understood by everyone. These concepts, in book form, have been translated and sold in 12 different languages worldwide. Learn more about Dr. Dawn Huebner at http://bit.ly/1CcwlV5.