I think pretty much everybody is afraid of at least one thing in life. The problem is that sometimes, we allow those fears to hold us back by focusing on, and magnifying those fears. The result is that our fears become our masters.
I think two of the biggest fears that people face is that of public speaking and that of failure. In terms of survival, failure really is not an option. If you fail, you die, simple.
Today we want to turn our focus towards the military and look at the methods that they use to combat their fear.
Shift Your Focus
Whatever you choose to focus on, that is what has your attention, and whatever has your attention, has you. If you think about a golfer who steps up on the tee box and notices that there is water on the right. So in his mind he constantly tells himself that there is water on the right. Where do you think he’s going to hit it? In the water on the right!
You may keep telling yourself, Okay, so I’m not going to think about that. But what happens is that while you keep telling yourself to not think about that, what are you doing? Yeah, thinking about it! So, it’s not so much to resist, as it is to replace. Change your focus.
Prepare and Practice
Whatever your fears, the best way of combating them is by preparing and practicing. If we use the example above about public speaking, what happens if you don’t practice and you just turn up on the day to speak? You freak out, right? But what happens if you actually spend time to practice what you are going to say? You are much more prepared on the day, right?
In other words, you MUST devote as much time as possible beforehand for practicing. The more that you practice, the more that you will become confident about what you are going to say or do. It becomes second nature.
Have a Laugh
Laughing about your fears is one of THE best ways of dealing with them according to the Army Rangers and Navy SEALs. By laughing, you are completely removing any negative thoughts from your mind and telling yourself that everything is going to be OK.
When your fears start to take over, your heart starts pounding, your legs go weak and the sweat starts pouring. The simple thing that you need to be doing to combat these manifestations is to simply breathe.
- Inhale for the count of 4 seconds, and then
- Exhale for the count of 4 seconds
Let it Out
Whatever it is that is frightening you, you need to talk about it instead of just bottling it up. Communication allows them to process the event and cultivate closer relationships with important people in their lives. If you’re scared of something, admitting it to a friend may be the best thing for you—hearing yourself say stuff out loud helps you put it out in the open and confront it head-on.
Be Louder Than the Voice
We all have that voice in the back of our minds that to be fair, is quite an asshole. Instead of this voice motivating us and building us up, it tries to tear us down instead and let’s us know of every little thing that we do wrong. During stressful times, this voice will increase our fears but we can fight back by mentally shouting over those thoughts.
With enough practice, you will start to ignore and even override the voice in your brains.
What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
You could of course, completely avoid whatever it is that worries you but that won’t help you in the long-term. To make sure that the fear doesn’t take over, it is often best to think about the worst possible scenario that could happen, trying as much as possible to experience the emotions in practice so they have less of an effect in reality.
People who are able to picture their worst fear and stay with that emotional experience instead of pushing it out of their minds generally get over that fear much more effectively than those who try to ignore them.
If something as simple as watching your breathing can benefit guys who run towards the people who want to shoot them, it can probably help you relax about that report that’s due this week.
By meditation, I’m not talking about lighting some incense, getting in an awkward position, and humming. There is an old adage, “If you can worry, you can meditate.” It’s just about turning a thought over and over in your mind. As you do that, your mind is being fed much-needed truth and you develop new patterns of thinking. I’ve learned that you can’t think a bad thought and a good thought at the same time. One of them has to go, so replacing that negative thought with a new one begins to change the way you think.