Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about fear. How fear controls us. How fear dictates our decisions. How fear can stop us from living our best life. I decided to put together this list on ways to control fear. The idea that fear plays such a major role in our lives is astounding and if we can control fear, we may be able to improve our lives.
1. Don’t let fear control your decisions – When I make a decision, I think to myself, am I making this decision based off fear? I try not to let fear control my decisions. If we can control this aspect of decision making it can improve our lives exponentially. You are frightened to change jobs, so you don’t apply for a job you really want. You are frightened to end a relationship because you are frightened to be alone. You are frightened to start a new relationship because you have been hurt in the past. Don’t let fear make these decisions for you. I’ve let fear make many decisions and once you stop letting fear seep into your decision making good things happen. I certainly would not have stared this blog if I let fear control that decisions.
2. Control your mind – One of the main ways I’ve been controlling fear is by slowing my mind. When our mind begins rambling, we are not thinking soundly. This is when fear can play a factor in our thinking. One way to control your mind is through mediation. Mediation can help you be in the moment and respond correctly to situations. If we don’t control our mind, this is when fear can influence our reactions. Anger much of the time is dedicated by fear! We get angry at a co-worker because we are scared of losing our job. We get angry with our significant other when they are talking to another person because we are scared, they might cheat. Being focused on these fears controls our lives and by controlling our mind we can eliminate these fears!
3. Don’t worry about things you can’t control – This is the main concept of stoic philosophy. This principle has been around since the roman times and is the main teachings of philosophers like Marcus Aureus, Seneca, and Epictetus. Ryan Holiday also has written a number of great books on this topic, if you are not interested in reading the classics. If we worry about what we can’t control, this will completely take over our lives. We can’t control if a plane crash will happen so why worry about it? We can’t control if a car accident will happen so why let that stop you from driving? You can’t control other people’s actions, so why should we let the fear of how someone will react control our lives? If you stop worrying about things you can’t control, you eliminate the fear of the unknown. You can only control how you react to situations and your actions. So why worry about anything else?
4. Reading – Since this is a reading/learning blog you probably assumed that reading would be part of this list. You are certainly asking yourself how can reading help control fear? The way that reading helps control fear is it gives a perspective on other people’s lives. If we read a biography about a person who overcame horrific odds to live their dreams. It puts our everyday fears into perspective and makes them seem small. Our fear of losing our comfortable job doesn’t seem like that big of a deal when you read about a person growing up in Africa. Our fear of chasing our dreams doesn’t sound as scary when we read about a single mother, who had no help and still managed to achieve her dreams. Fears can be a matter of perspective and when we look at things from a different perspective, sometimes things don’t look as scary. Also, as we are improving our knowledge, we can learn to deal with our fears rather than let them control us.
5. Face your fears – If something scares you, you do it. This is one of the reasons I started this blog because it scared me. Once you do things that scare you, you can embrace them and make them part of your life. Facing your fears also helps you understand them! Once you can understand your fears, then you can control them!
6. Don’t consume too much mass media – Mass media can control our fears and tell us what to be frightened of. A way we can control our fears is to control the amount of mass media we consume. If you spend all day watching CNN, you are probably going to be frightened of the latest thing they are broadcasting like killer worms! There are certain things we need to know, and we need pay attention to. Although, spending all day consuming media that drives our fears is not a good way to control fear.
7. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) – This is a new one that has surfaced of the last few of years. FOMO is a fear of not doing something because you are scared of missing out. You go out for dinner even though you didn’t want too because you are scared to miss out. You go on the trip with friends even though you can’t afford it because you are afraid of missing out. FOMO can control our lives, instead of doing things you want to do, you do things other want you do to. Your time is spent chasing around other people and you don’t live the life you want to live! If your perfect weekend is going for a walk with your dog, then having a BBQ for supper, then do that! Do let FOMO control what you do! I think FOMO became more prevalent since social media came in our lives. When decide to not do something and it’s is posted on social media, FOMO is the natural emotion. If you are a person that gets FOMO, don’t go on social media after you make a decision to not do something. This will allow you to control FOMO and take control of your fears.
8. Visualize the worst that can happen – This is one that I’ve heard Tim Ferriss talk about numerous times. Think about the worst thing that can happen to you. Visualize it and often the outcome is not that bad! If losing your house is worst thing that can happen to you if you start a business. Is it that big of a deal? You lose your house; you live in an apartment for a bit then you get another house. I’m not telling everyone to quit their jobs and start a business. I’m just putting things in perspective; the outcome isn’t as bad as it seems. Always be thinking, how you can get back to where you are now in your life. Can you get back your current job, if you leave to chase your dream job? Usually, you can! Certain opportunities you have to take when they come, being scared of losing what you have, shouldn’t be a reason not to go after your dreams. When I was younger, I took an opportunity working in the oil field; a job I wanted since high school. Mainly I wanted this job for the money, first mistake! When I got the job, I hated it. It was one of the worst jobs I ever had! After about four months I realized this job wasn’t for me and I decided to go back to my previous field. It took me a couple of months to get a job in my previous field, but I got a job! In the end by taking that job I experienced something new and learn something about myself. There are always chances to go back in life but there are not always chances to move forward. Embrace your fears and visualize the worst that can happen. You’ll probably find out it’s not that bad.
9. Embrace fear – You might think this section contradicting to the other sections but it’s really not. Embracing your fear means to understand what you are afraid off. Understand why you are scared of things, so you can understand how to overcome them. If fear is holding you back but you are unsure what you are afraid of. How are you going to overcome your fear? If you are in a bad relationship but you stay in that relationship. The first thing you need to do is understand is why you are staying! Is it because you have fears of being single? Are you frightened of changing your status on Facebook? Are you frightened you may not find anyone else? All these fears are legitimate but embracing them is a way to conquer your fears! This example can be used for changing jobs and many other situations. This might be a good time to bring up that you shouldn’t eliminate all fears. Fear is a response mechanism to tell us when something may go wrong. If we completely loose this response, we will start making reckless decisions. If you are walking down a dark street at 2:00 in the morning and there is a person with a hood up walking behind you. Fear should kick in to tell you to get off that street and get somewhere safe. If an investment seems like a scheme. Fear is our natural response to tell us to be caseous and do your research. Fear has a way of controlling our lives, but if used right it can be a great aid in our decision making.
Hopefully, this list gives you a better understanding of how fear can control our lives and how we can control fear. Fear is a natural response to many situations, but the key isn’t to eliminate fear from our emotions. It’s to understand fear and be able to control it. In certain situations, we should embrace fear, but we need to know when fear is staring to control us. When we understand this, we can then use our awareness in our decision making. If you would like to hear more from me signup for my email notifications or look me up on Instagram @the_52_book_challenge! Check back next Monday for my next blog post!