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10 Techniques To Overcome Your Fears, Backed By Science

10 Techniques To Overcome Your Fears, Backed By Science

The story 10 Techniques To Overcome Your Fears, Backed By Science appeared first on StoryPick.

What really is fear?

Fear is a conditioned response to things that you think might harm you. A conditioned response means that you have learned to fear things in the course of your life.


What causes it?

Fear is not a bad thing at all. It actually is a response your brain has evolved to protect you from harm. The problem is not fear itself. It is irrational fear.

There are two kinds of fear –

One where your brain processes the fear in a second and you jump or scream without thinking about it. Like for example an insect lands on your hand and you assume it is a spider and scream.

The second one is where you take a good look at the insect and then scream. This fear is the good kind. It protects you from getting killed, even if makes you look stupid on some occasions. It is a biological defensive mechanism.


Can you overcome it for real?

Sometimes fear of the most common things can interfere in your day to day activities, and sometimes it even hampers your quality of life – like the fear of speaking in public.

How can you overcome the fears that are not helping you in any way?


1. Identify the fear itself. Give it some time and thought.

You need to know what causes your fear response first.  The classic symptoms of fear are sweating, heavy breathing, racing heart and the inability to think.  You need to pinpoint the real cause for these symptoms after you have calmed down.

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2. Identify the cause of the fear

It helps to know why you get fearful. It usually happens because of an incident that happened in your life. If you know why that incident gave birth to the fear, you finally know why you are afraid.

It is easier to deal with a fear when you know the reason behind it.

Fear that you don’t know is harder to deal with.

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3. Face it like a man, or a woman.

As Chris Hadfield puts it, fear is just a rush of adrenaline when you aren’t ready for a particular situation.

The best way to get rid of a fear is to face it. Until it goes away.

Avoiding fear makes it much scarier. It is hard to face it at first, but it becomes better and better in the next instance, until it completely goes away.

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4. Keep it real, use rationale and logic

For example, if you have a fear of heights, you should use the logic that the balcony you are standing on has railings to keep you from falling down.

If you have the fear of snakes, it is very unlikely that there is a snake under your urban bedroom right now.

If you fear that you will be attacked by ghosts in a dark alley, stand in a dark alley one day. You probably will get mugged by a real person, but certainly not a ghost.

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5. Expose yourself to the fear all the time

When you face your fear, face it again and again, in increasing instances and intensities. Go to higher floors and look down if you have the fear of heights.

The moment you do this, the fear part of your brain – the amygdala starts rewiring right that instant. You literally learn to not fear little by little, until the fear is completely wiped out neurochemically from your brain.

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6. Reward yourself every time you win

Every time you face your fears, reward yourself, in any way you love. If you love chocolates, eat a piece of chocolate when you face your fear. There is a scientific reason for this – it is called fear extinction procedure.

You are essentially teaching your body to start liking the fear bit by bit by associating it with things you like, like in this example – a piece of chocolate.

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There are some auxiliary methods that help too –


7. Exercise

Fear triggers stress hormones, which are detrimental to your health. Working out for just 20 minutes releases hormones that counter the stress hormones. This is because exercise is basically hurting the body – bit by bit so that it becomes stronger.

Your body releases feel-good hormones that counter the ill-effects of fear.

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8. Eat healthy

Low blood sugar is linked to anxiety and fear. That doesn’t mean that you load up with sugar. It means that you eat a balanced diet that is healthy for you.

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9. Talking about the fear to a friend or a close one

Talking about the fear to another person makes the fearless scary. You can also join a support group that includes people who have the same fears. You will learn how other people deal with it and it may help you and also gain insights that you didn’t previously know.

If it still doesn’t help, it is time to take professional help in the form of a psychologist.

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10. Take a nap

In a research study done in 2013, the test subjects dealt with their fears better when they were exposed to them when they were napping.

Thinking of your fears right before napping should help in reducing its effects on you.

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But the most important part to remember here is that fear itself is very necessary to our survival. We shouldn’t look to eliminate it completely because you still need a bit of fear to fight or fly during a dangerous situation.

But just like everything in life, you need it in moderation.

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The story 10 Techniques To Overcome Your Fears, Backed By Science appeared first on StoryPick.