One thing that most successful people have in common is that they have managed to overcome the paralyzing effects of fear. To become successful in anything we have to take action despite being scared, in other words, to be courageous in the face of fear. So how can we develop the ability or the habit of bulldozing our way through fear? It turns out there are some simple techniques that we can practice that will help us do just that. Try these 10 ways successful people overcome fear and see for yourself how anxiety, worry and doubt can melt away in the shadow of your own inner power.
1. Stand Up Straight
It turns out one of the easiest ways to feel more confident and strong is to simply stand up straight. In her incredible TED talk, Harvard researcher Dr. Amy Cuddy has shown that by standing or sitting in a “power pose” (see the poses here) you actually increase hormones which make you feel more confident and decrease hormones which makes you nervous and stressed. This sounds incredibly simple, and therein lies its beauty and power.
Yep, this too is simple. One of the most cliché sayings in English is “laughter is the best medicine”, but it is cliché because it’s so true. There is a lot of research showing that smiling can not only make you feel better, but it can also reduce your stress levels allowing you to take action in the face of frustration, fear or doubt. But lucky for you, there’s no need to even read the research because you can try it anytime you want!
3. Take a Cold Shower
The thought alone of taking a cold shower may fill you with anxiety, but it’s all about asserting control over your life. Facing a fear and overcoming it is a surefire way to develop greater self-confidence. If you’ve succeeded in taking a cold shower, then the next time you face a challenge, you can say to yourself, “If I can power through an ice cold shower, surely I can do this too.”
4. Embrace What You Cannot Change
This is a big one. We cannot always control what happens to us, but we can choose how we react to what happens. Though it isn’t always easy, we do have the power over our mental and emotional states, if we choose to assert our authority. Nobody else feels your fear, only you do. It exists within you. One way to increase your personal power is to recognize that which we cannot change and embrace it. Accepting what we cannot change is, paradoxically, very empowering, because we then realize that we don’t need to waste our time trying to change what cannot be changed and instead work on changing ourselves and our reaction to what is happening around us.
5. Don’t Think, Don’t Try, Just Do
Sometimes all we need to overcome fear is to just take the first step. It is easy to get caught up in over-thinking or analyzing something and by simply jumping in and taking some action, any action at all, we can gain momentum. Before we know it the obstacles we feared have long been overcome.
6. Deep Breathing
Again, it sounds cliché, but that’s only because it really does work. In moments of stress or fear, taking a few slow, deep breaths has been shown to relieve mental and physical stress and enhance decision-making abilities.
7. Overwhelm Negativity With Positivity
Fear comes from negative thoughts; worries of what might happen. Most fears in life never actually materialize, yet we spend so much time thinking about ‘what ifs’. The next time you find yourself overwhelmed by all the scary things that might happen, try bombarding your mind with positive and empowering thoughts and affirmations. Affirmations really do work, but they take time and persistence. Once you get into the habit of using them they can become very powerful tools to transform your state quickly.
Few emotions are as powerful as gratitude. There is no room for fear or doubt inside a grateful mind, for the feeling of gratitude takes up the entire emotional space of our being. Gratitude banishes fear. How can we induce the feeling of gratitude? One way is to start listing off all of the things you are grateful for, all of the things that you have. Life itself is a gift, your heart is a gift, the air you breathe is too. Another way is to use this powerful Zen affirmation.
9. Get a Power Rock
Go outside and wander around until you find a rock or crystal that you like and is small enough to keep in your pocket. In the morning, afternoon and before sleeping hold the rock for about a minute. While you do, imagine that the rock is emanating enormous strength, power and courage and filling your entire being with radiant power. Carry the rock with you throughout the day and reach into your pocket to feel its power whenever you find yourself in a fearful state. The rock itself may not have any inherent power, but you imbue it with great power.
10. Imagine and Rehearse Success
In moments of fear, step back and imagine yourself successfully overcoming the obstacle you face. Picture yourself having already succeeded, having done an incredible job. Imagine the pats on the back and the handshakes. Really let yourself feel how it will feel when you succeed. Rehearse it over and over in your mind. This should give you a surge of confidence and direct your focus on achievement, rather than fear.
A Final Word on Fear
In the end, it helps to remember that we are the source of fear, not our circumstances. Sure, fear is usually a reaction to something happening around us, but the feeling of fear arises within you. Remember, if you created it, you can take it away.