Irrational. Innate. Experiential. No matter the type, we all have fears. They’re natural, animalistic reactions to stimuli that prompt our fight or flight response. But they can also be a constant source of anxiety and emotional unrest.

Naturally, you want to avoid emotions and situations that scare you. But this ultimately perpetuates fear, allowing it to grow. By letting fear immobilize you, you may be limiting your own growth and preventing joy.

Conquering fears is no easy feat, especially if your fear is deemed a true phobia. Phobias are more than getting queasy at the thought of heights. They’re an anxiety disorder characterized by irrational fears which trigger uncontrollable reactions. While phobias can be treated through behavioral therapies or medications, other fears don’t necessarily warrant professional assistance.

If you’re tired of your fears holding you back, here are a few tactics that may help you gain control:


Understand it

Try to analyze your fear on a personal level by asking yourself questions: What exactly is so frightening about the object or situation? Why do I feel this way? By acknowledging your fear and understanding its impact, you may understand how to take its power away.


Conduct research

Fear of the unknown is a sentiment many people express. If your fear is something you don’t know much about, researching and educating yourself on the topic may lift the veil and allow you to see it rationally.


Don’t do it alone

Finding someone with the same fear can make your experience become less isolating. You can encourage one another through trials and connect with one another’s emotions. If you don’t know anyone who can relate, find someone who can offer support when the going gets tough. Be open about what you’re experiencing and make it known what type of assistance you need from them.


Celebrate your strengths

Each time you prevent your fear from taking over, you diminish its power and become stronger yourself. That’s an accomplishment to be proud of! With each additional instance of refusing your fears, you’re building tolerance and becoming less likely to fall victim the next time they rear their ugly head.


Prepare for exposure

If your fear trigger is something unavoidable, create scenarios in your head where you face the fear. Practice what you would say and how you would react. Through repetition, these deliberate actions will become your natural response. You’ll be more prepared and have a better grasp on how to cope when you’re confronted by fears in person.

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