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Are You Trapped by Your Fears?

What Fears Are Holding You Back?

From spiders to personal failure, everyone is afraid of something. Fear holds us back from achieving our goals in life, and it holds us back from being our true selves. Is fear dominating your life?

There are a variety of fears within us, but we have a lot of fears in common. Chapman University researchers conducted a survey about fear with over 1,500 American participants. They studied 88 different fears in 10 categories, including daily life, environment, judgment of others, man-made disasters, natural disasters, personal anxieties, and technology. In the study, some of the top fears people had were about the government (58 percent were afraid of corruption), crime (39.6 percent were afraid of identity theft), and the future (37.4 percent were afraid of running out of money in the future).

Some other personal fears that the participants had include:

  • Getting sick (34.4 percent)
  • Reptiles (33 percent)
  • Public speaking (28.4 percent)
  • Heights (27.4 percent)
  • Loneliness (22 percent)
  • Aging (19.6 percent)
  • Romantic rejection (10.4 percent)
  • Expressing an opinion (9.7 percent)

Overcome Your Fears Today

  • Fear is an invitation. Fear gets your attention. Fear is incredible information that invites you to explore deep within yourself. Please don’t ignore your fears. Make a list of your fears and with an attitude of curiosity, not fear, explore the meaning behind your fears. Fear is a door into your life of purpose.
  • Identify your fear. Some fears are easier to identify, such as the fear of heights or insects, but others are more of a challenge. For instance, maybe the reason you didn’t ask for a raise wasn’t because your boss makes your nervous or because it wasn’t the right time. Maybe it was because you’re afraid of rejection. 
  • Take a moment and refocus. Take some time to focus on your fears. How have they held you back in your past? What will it take to overcome your fear? Clear your mind of the negativity, and start making detailed plans.
  • Start small. The best way to conquer your fears is by taking small steps toward change. For instance, if you have a fear of public speaking, start by practicing in front of a small group of close friends. If you would like to talk through your fears with someone, consider visiting a counselor or therapist for further help.
  • Reward yourself. Keep practicing and overcoming your fears. For instance, if you’re afraid of rejection, keep putting yourself out there. Remember to reward yourself for every milestone that you achieve.

An interesting method I have used effectively to overcome fears is featured in the book Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm, by Thich Nhat Hanh.

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