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  • Writer's pictureLaura

Overcoming the Fear of the Unknown

Think about something you have always wanted to try or achieve.

Now consider why you haven't done this yet? What has held you back?

We can blame lack of time, our genes, a lack of opportunity, or even others holding us back. But for many people, the real answer to this is fear.

Fear can create the "I'd love to...but" inner dialogue that gives us perfect excuses not to risk the feeling of failure. However, learning how to overcome fear is one of the most liberating pursuits you can undertake.

Overcoming the fear of the unknown can be a challenging endeavour, but it also can be done.

If you suffer from a fear of uncertainty, understanding what fear is, and how it affects you, can start you on the road to conquering it.

Fear has been defined in several ways; however, the most basic definition of fear is an emotional response based on the fact that we're faced with something unfamiliar or impending danger.

When we experience fear, several psychological and physiological responses take place all at the same time.

Psychological events include feeling emotionally overwhelmed, having high levels of anxiety, and even feeling terrified. Physiological responses include a faster heart rate, shallow breathing, and similar effects.

Experiencing fear can greatly impact your view on life, your confidence levels, and even the potential that you have as an individual.

Here are some strategies you can use to help overcome your fear:

Recognize your fears

By realizing that you're fearful, you're more likely to get to the bottom of what the fear is.

You may even have a fear of facing your fears. If so, the best way to conquer this fear is to accept the truth behind what's causing you to experience limited happiness in life.

You might come to understand that you're afraid of failing or taking chances, or be fearful because you simply don't have confidence or self-belief in yourself.

Regardless of the issue at hand, it's important that you recognize your fear and attempt to define what it is that makes you terrified of the unknown.

The key here is not to dwell on your fear, but rather to understand precisely what it is you're worried about.

Determine the underlying root of your fears

How can you identify the cause of your fears? An insightful look at your life might reveal the answer. When was the first time you felt this kind of fear? Do you notice any patterns emerging? By recognizing what causes your fears, it's likely you can overcome them with newfound knowledge, understanding and great success.

Face your fears

Once you've accepted your fear and identified the root cause, you're ready to overcome it, and the best method to do this is to face it head on.

Make a decision to purposely tackle your fears. This can be done by immersing yourself in activities that push you outside of your comfort zone.

You could put yourself in a place where you're safe, yet uncomfortable, and then slowly push the boundaries further.

For example, you may want to make new friends but fear is holding you back. You could begin by getting used to talking to new people by commenting on the weather to the person at the checkout in the supermarket... then progress to chatting for a few minutes to a familiar face at the school playground... then move on to volunteering at a local charity event... then find a local coffee morning, exercise class or book club you can join and so on...

Gradually by expanding your boundary of comfort, you are gaining relevant experience (in this case, improving your social skills) whilst also taking practical steps to reach your goal.

In the end, you'll find that you can successfully overcome your fears, one-by-one!

Overcoming your fear of the unknown is a difficult undertaking, however in most cases, those "what if" thoughts are usually much worse than the true outcome.

If you take the time to engage in these three steps, you'll discover a sense or confidence and self-belief that you never even knew existed.

As you work to unlock the chains that bind you to your fears, you'll enjoy a freedom that you've never felt before.

Just imagine what the outcome could be?!

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