By Estra Roell, Certified Life Coach

How To Face Your Fears Head On

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Inaction breeds doubt and fear Dale Carnegie Quote
Estra Roell

Ellen stood at the podium, looking out at the group of people in front of her.  She could feel her heart pounding and her mouth and throat went dry. Her  hands shook and her mind went blank. This was the worst moment of her  life. 

Everybody, like Ellen, has something that they are afraid of. Fear is a  painful emotion that can sabotage our happiness and hold us back  throughout our lives. Fear keeps us from taking action and activates the  “flight-flight-or-freeze” response in the brain.  

Public speaking is a number one fear that can interfere with your  advancement in your career or business. Fear of a scary diagnosis or  medical procedure can keep you from seeking the medical help you need.  Fear of blowing the job interview can actually cause you to be so nervous  you do just that. When we fear something we actually create the very thing  we fear. 

Dale Carnegie famously said, “Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the  mind.” 

Visualization is a powerful tool to help you face and overcome your fears.  

You can train your brain for actual performance through “mental rehearsal.” Brain studies show that thoughts produce the same mental instructions as  actions, and it is a technique used widely by top athletes. 

Visualization is a great way to communicate to your subconscious mind.  

When you mentally rehearse performing with calm, confidence, courage  and competence, your visual image will, with practice, be received by your  subconscious mind as your new reality and be expressed outwardly in your  life.  

When you are fearing something, you are already visualizing it, but you are  visualizing what you don’t want—the worst possible outcome. So, practice  visualizing the opposite of that—the best possible outcome. 

If you want to overcome a fear, it’s good to regularly imagine yourself as a success. 

Your  self-image will be be changed in a positive direction when you feed your  mind mental pictures of yourself performing at your best with ease. 

Here are the steps to visualizing: 

1. Find a quiet place, free from distractions and interruptions. 

Sit or  lie in a comfortable position. You want to make sure you aren’t  distracted by aches or pains. You may want to play soft music or light a  candle to create a relaxing atmosphere. 10 to 15 minutes before bed is  a good time to practice visualization, but any time that works for you is  fine. 

2. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and steadily as you begin to  imagine your success.  

3. Be realistic with your visualization. 

You want to visualize your  success in a way it could actually happen. For example, if you are  visualizing yourself speaking before a group, see yourself speaking  clearly and with confidence. “Feel” your heart rate remaining stable  and calm. See yourself answering questions easily. 

Imagine at the end  of your talk, you receive lots of applause and many people come up to  you later and say what they liked about your talk. See yourself thanking  them with grace and appreciation. Feel how glad you are that your talk  helped them in some way. 

If you imagine yourself giving the talk of the  century with a wild standing ovation and cheering crowds, that is less  likely to happen and your process can backfire on you by causing  frustration and disappointment.  

4. You may need to visualize the steps to your success. 

If you feel  overwhelmed with fear involving a big task or health challenge, you can  break it down into steps. Make a plan of what needs to happen, step  by step to reach your goal. 

Then, visualize yourself easily and  confidently accomplishing the first step. 

Take action on that step.  When it’s done, go back and repeat the process for the next step, and  so on. That way you get positive experiences all along the way, which  is very reinforcing.  

5. Include what you want to feel and hear in your visualization to make  it vivid.  

6. It can help to write down the picture you want to visualize before  you practice it to get all the juicy details clear.

You can “pre-pave” any experience or situation you want through the  practice of visualization. The key word here is practice. We’ve all had  years of imagining what we fear as an outcome. Regular practicing of visualizing positive scenarios and outcomes will empower you with the  courage to create it in your life. 

Estra Roell, Certified LOA and Life Purpose Coach – 

(Brain studies reference: 200912/seeing-is-believing-the-power-visualization) 

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