6 Simple Solutions to Stop Fear Immediately

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Fear stops us in our tracks. We’ll freeze or run away from something. We’ll lash out in an effort to defend ourselves.

It’s a great tool if we’re in a situation of life/death or bodily harm. Most of the time we’re not under acute threat. So our fear response is misplaced and holds us back.

Fear can disguise itself as overwhelm, anxiety, lack of confidence, indecision, panic, shrinking from the moment, paralysis and provokes the stress response.

When we’re in fear, our hearts race, breath becomes quicker and more shallow, muscles get more rigid, eye sight narrowly focuses among other physiological responses.

Clearly, our actions are negatively affected. If we can’t get out of it and give us the space for actions that we want to take, we can get into a pattern of NON-performance that is all centered around fear.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can use really simple solutions to get out of fear in the moment so that we can take action in the face of adversity. Doing this over and over creates the inner confidence that we need to be our best.

Here are 6 simple solutions to get out of fear immediately

1: Breath Work

What is it: Lot’s of different options here. My go-to is called the physiological breath.

Take a deep breath in through your nose and near the top, take one final sharp inhale to fill up. Then slowly exhale out through your mouth. Doing this just a couple times will provide an immediate shift that will bring you out of fear.

Any breath work that is from the abdomen and has longer exhales are usually effective.

Why it works: 

The physiological breath is a proven technique to calm the nervous system and get you out of the fear response. It mimics the sign that we naturally take when stress wears off. It also signals to the nervous system to stop the response.

2: Mental Imagery: Preferred Future

What is it: A fully immersive visualization to look at a future event in the positive.

Think of an event in the future for which you have fear and are anxious about. Close your eyes and envision 15 minutes after the SUCCESSFUL competition of the event in which you thought you were anxious about. Be sure to see yourself in the event and notice the characteristics of the event… what you see, sounds & feelings that are important. Really immerse in the experience from the perspective of looking down on it from above. Notice that fear & anxiety are gone.

Why it works: Fear or anxiety over the future takes the unknown future (the future, by definition is unknown) and interprets or believes events will turn out harmful or not in their favor. That sparks fear in the here and now. This creates an interoperation of it going right, giving your mind something tangible to hold on to instead of it going wrong.

3: Mindful Attention

What is it: Bringing attention to the present moment and what is happening in your body or mind now. Seeing it for what it is without judgment or needing to fix anything.

A mindful body scan can help. Or simply closing your eyes and bringing awareness and attention to your breath. What makes this mindful is that you are allowing whatever is true in the current experience to be there without judgment. As your mind wanders, bring it back to the breath, telling your mind to focus on just your breath. The acuteness of the fear will naturally melt away and more constructive thoughts and feelings will bubble up.

Why it works: Fear creates the need to fixate on the problem, which is usually taking place in the past or the future – the here and now. We are also making interpretations and judgments over the future, which the mindful practice gets us to only focus on what is happening now.

4: Anchoring

What is it: A trigger that puts you into a mental & emotional state that you’ve previously experienced.

You know how a favorite song from high school can take you right back to a memory from that time and you actually feel the same emotions from that memory? That song is an anchor.

Anchors work from all our 5 senses, even our self-talk. My preferred anchor is a physical anchor on your body. Find a place that you can press anytime that you don’t normally press. I have one pressing my left thumb and middle finger together. Think of emotions that you want to experience that create high performance in you. Think of times from your past which we really felt those emotions and as you connect in with them press the anchor. Do that a few times with different memories with that emotion and you’ll find when you press that part of your body again, you’ll feel that emotion.

Why it works: Anchors create a trigger or cue that begins a habit loop. The “response” to the stimulus of the anchor is the emotional response.

5: Connection with Someone

What is it: Human connection is a basic need of ours. Fear can isolate us or not allow us to work through the problem in our mind.

Grab a coffee, have a phone conversation, something that builds upon a connection with that person or group of people. Depending on the person and your relationship, you can also talk through that thing that is fearful, which can allow you to work through it or get a new perspective from them.

Why it works: Because fear can feel isolating and we need connection with others, having a conversation with someone reinforces that we are safe. If you’re able to talk through the situation you can gain insight that you didn’t have and shift your perspective on the scary thing.

6: Focus on Controllables

What is it: We can only control what we think, feel and do. Everything else is out of our ability to control it. We might be able to influence situations, yet we only control ourselves.

Work to control what you’re thinking and feeling. Consider the actions to take that are in your best interest and the knowledge that you get to determine that. Fall back on good routines and intentionally being your best. Part of controlling is the acceptance of the future unfolding however it will.

Why it works: Fear is typically oriented in the future or the past. Fear often is our minds’ way of helping us control this uncontrollable circumstance or thought that it is out of our control. Coming back to what you actually control creates the sense of agency and focus that will drop the fear in favor of something that is more real in this moment.

With these 6 simple solutions – many of which can be performed in seconds or minutes in real time – we can take control over fearful situations that do not have to hold us back from being our best and enjoying life.

If you notice that fear: overwhelm, anxiety, lack of confidence, shrinking, paralysis, just overall negative stress is keeping you from hitting your biggest goals or your fulfillment & joy, let’s have a conversation that can help you move from the fear and back to being your best.

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