5 Ways to Manage Fear

Fear has this mysterious ability to interrupt our lives in various places at the most inconvenient times!  Sometimes it can really disguise itself, and make us believe things that aren’t true.  How can we become more aware of what’s really scaring us?  Will it ever go away?  Where did it come from?  It can definitely be a frustrating emotion!

I struggle with fear most days.  I used to be ashamed of that, but now I’m not.  It’s real to me and I’m figuring out ways to manage it so I can still pursue things in life that are meaningful and exciting.  Riding horses is a strong passion I have, and yet my fear and anxiety are constantly trying to get in the way.  I want to compete, but I have a huge fear of failure.  I’m working on it one day at a time.  I went back to riding after a 10 year break about 5 years ago.  It’s been quite a journey of skill building, confidence building, relationship building, self-discovery and healing.  The horse has been my teacher, so I’m excited to start sharing some of my experiences with you in hopes that you can begin to build your own strength and courage.

  1. Identify the source. Awareness of what is causing our irrational reactions is key.  “You have to figure out what happened before what happened, happened.” ~Ray Hunt
  1. Speak truth to yourself. Stop the irrational thoughts that the fear is placing in your mind, and replace them with RATIONAL thoughts.  It’s crucial to redirect the mind.
  1. Set goals. Fear will stop us in our tracks if we allow it.  It will trap us inside our small comfort zone and steal our joy.  Is it worth forfeiting our goals in order to obey the fear?  How will you feel if you allow it to control your actions vs if you move forward in spite of it? Short term goals keep us encouraged that we can accomplish our long term goals.  Don’t lose sight of what you set out to do.  Stay focused!
  1. Practice. It takes a lot of repetition to get better at pushing the fear away and continuing on your journey.  We can’t just start an exercise program and expect to be able to run 5 miles the first day.  It takes practice and preparation.  Emotional fitness and physical fitness both require conditioning.
  1. Be patient with yourself. Learning and developing new habits does not happen overnight.  Sometimes you won’t get it right but that’s ok.  Keep trying and don’t give up on yourself!

Developing a system to manage fear does not mean that it will go away.  It takes constant work to keep it at bay.  I sometimes worry about getting injured with my equine activities.  It doesn’t usually happen, but I recently had an accident that is still affecting me.  As I look for an orthopedic specialist my anxiety is running high.  Doctors scare me big time!  Surgery?  One minute it seems as though I can’t do it, but I know I can.  I will keep using my courage muscle and I’ll make it through.  The experience will make me stronger than before.   My plans for the next couple months might be changing, but I still see hope in new ideas for that time.