Just like many of my advice posts on how to overcome something, getting rid of fear isn’t an easy task. That’s the thing about life though, isn’t it? It’s not easy. It’s hard and there are unexpected twists and turns around every corner. But that is also what makes life fun isn’t it? The unknowing.
Today on Living for the Now, I’m going to share some tips on how to slowly overcome fear. And I don’t mean a fear of spiders (I mean who doesn’t fear them?!). I’m looking at deeper fears such as talking in public, going out alone or socialising. All of those things are what I have had dealt with personally and I am still dealing with. I want you to do it too!
THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Understand what you are fearing.
- Desensitise yourself to those fears by building up confidence in other indirect ways.
- Don’t jump in the deep end, take baby steps.
- Don’t do it alone, talk to someone and ask for their support.
- Make notes of your progress so you can look back and realise how well you have done.
- Keep yourself thinking positively.
- Remember failure isn’t everything. It’s simply a way to remind you that you have to try harder.
- These things take time. Eradication of fears don’t happen overnight.
- Don’t focus on your past or what MIGHT happen. Work on the fact that you want to face this issue NOW.
- You’ve taken the first step to knowing you want to face your fear and that’s the scariest thing of all.
Some things in our lives are just so daunting and terrifying that they can make us feel sick to our stomaches. You can’t think straight, concentrate or sleep well – especially when you know a day is approaching where you will have to do something daunting such as give a speech.
When I took on my first marketing job when I was 20 years old, I had to deliver results to the council who ran the business I worked for showing them what I had done and answer their questions. Now, except for talking in class at school I had never done public speaking before. For weeks I was a nervous wreck. As soon as the presentation was over I though “what was I worried about?”
Here are a few things I wish I had done in the lead up to the presentation which you should too to build your confidence and face your fear:
- When delivering a presentation or doing public speaking, write a speech. Practice, practice, practice. As soon as you start to remember, shorten the speech on cards to prompt you to remember key points.
- Close your eyes and deliver your speech to an empty room. Remember this feeling on the day.
- Practice in front of the mirror. Then to your partner. Then to friends, colleagues and build up to the amount of people you need to speak to.
- Have tools to back up your presentation such as a flip chart, a Powerpoint and images. Things that will draw the attention away from you.
- Keep smiling. Faking confidence will make you so!
Once the speech is over you will do the same as I did… What were you worried about?
GOING OUT ALONE
Many people are more than happy to leave the house alone but for some, it’s hard work and sometimes even cripplingly horrifying. If you’re someone who fears going out alone try these simple tiny steps to help build your confidence into facing this fear.
Leaving the house – Fear of leaving the house is called Agoraphobia
- Talk to a family member or friend about your fear. They can support you in the following steps.
- With your person of moral support, go to the front door and open it. Look outside and go back in. The next day take one step outside. Start building the amount of steps you take until you get to the end of the front garden. Remember to breathe slowly and remember you are safe.
- Once you have made it to the end of the garden (and have done it repeatedly) arrange a car trip with family. This way you’re not walking about or alone.
- After getting used to car journeys, set a target area to walk to with your moral support.
- Do things slowly and surely.
- Take a look at this site for advice on Agoraphobia with more self-help tips.
Going at it, alone.
It’s a perfectly natural fear, going out alone. If you’re used to being around people when you leave the house it is a daunting situation to travel independently. If you aren’t suffering crippling anxiety, simply a nervousness, then remember the 10 tips above. You can do this. Just be aware of what is around you, make sure you’re comfortable with where you are going and remember it will get easier. Don’t give up.
Once you do this once on your own, celebrate. You did it! It’s not an easy thing to do but you did it. Keep it up and soon you will be able to travel the world!
This is one I can completely relate to. I’ve never been much of a sociable person. I usually panic and dread before going to meet people, even if I know them but once I am in the situation I begin to feel much more at ease. Remember the following:
- Talk to people online to get used to talking to others.
- Don’t tell yourself that you won’t fit in or have anything to say. Say to yourself “I’m strong, I can do this, they are just like me and are feeling the same way. I’m going to get through this.”
- Stop predicting things and picturing situations. Your mind exaggerates thoughts, especially when fearing them.
- Give yourself a reason to socialise such as go to a nice restaurant, see a band you like or buy a new outfit for the occasion.
- Breathe slowly and calmly.
- You’re not being judged like you think you are. You’re not a mind reader!
- Go with someone you do feel comfortable with.
It gets easier as the time goes on. You learn to be more comfortable and find topics that interest people so don’t worry if it takes a few awkward silences before you begin to feel happy at social gatherings.
I hope you’ve had some reassurance that you aren’t alone with fearing social situations. But they can be overcome. The important thing is knowing that you want to overcome them and work on building up the confidence to leave the fear behind.