How to Conquer Fear by Separating Unhealthy Types from Healthy Ones

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When it comes to personal development, dealing with FEAR is one of the most daunting tasks we take on. 

This article has two purposes: 1) to examine three excellent (and simple) realizations regarding the nature of fear; 2) to provide four activities to start conquering it:

REALIZATION ONE: Some fears are healthy, while others are unhealthy

When we are afraid of something that cannot actually harm us – like a spider – or something we can do nothing to avoid – such as old age – then our fear is unhealthy, for it serves only to make us unhappy and paralyze us. On the other hand, when someone gives up smoking because they are afraid of developing lung cancer, this is a healthy fear because the danger is real and there are constructive steps they can take to avoid it.

REALIZATION TWO: Healthy fears can be a very GOOD Thing

We need the healthy fear that arises from taking stock of our present situation so that we can resolve to do something about it. For example, there is no point in a smoker being scared of dying of lung cancer unless there is something that he or she can do to prevent it, i.e. stop smoking. If a smoker has a sufficient fear of dying of lung cancer, he or she will take steps to kick the habit.  Healthy fears are the substance by which personal growth is made.

REALIZATION THREE: The Key is letting go of unhealthy fears

The critical element for dealing with fear boils down to LETTING GO of the unhealthy types; the ones where you begin to see there is NO action you can take to resolve a circumstance.  Once you learn to really let go of unhealthy fears, your attention is able to focus 100% on the healthy versions and construct tangible ways to make your life happier and more fulfilling.

Here are 4 activities you can implement to start separating the healthy fears from the unhealthy ones in your life:

Make a List

Make a detailed list of all the fears in your life.  Do not do this in one sitting, but take a few days to write a comprehensive list of everything you are scared.  Once you feel the list is complete, separate the contents into two categories:  Unhealthy Fears and Healthy Fears.  Make a commitment to disregard your unhealthy fears and only focus on the healthy versions for a certain time frame (say, a week).  This can be an extremely powerful and enlightening exercise.  As an added bonus, make a few goals for improving the situations in your healthy fear column (remember, these are the ones you can do something about)!

Skydive

Putting yourself in a completely helpless situation (being forced to jump from a perfectly good airplane is helpless, I assure you) is a wonderful way to teach yourself to let go of unhealthy fears.  Why?  Because once you commit to undergoing an activity like sky diving, it becomes clear the outcome is out of your hands.  The only thing to do is let it happen, and release the inevitable fears that will surface.  Furthermore, landing and telling everyone about it will give you a sense of accomplishment for being able to let go of an unhealthy fear.  Of course, skydiving is not for everyone, and can be substituted with any physical activity that pushes the limits of YOUR fear threshold.  Just make sure you complete it, no matter what it takes!

Meditate 

This recommendation is the pure opposite of the previous one, as

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meditation is the practice of going within and focusing the mind 100% in one area.  Unhealthy fears reside deep within you and meditation is a terrific way to start becoming aware of them.  For beginners, meditation itself can stimulate feelings of fear and frustration and learning to deal with them can be very beneficial to your mission of “letting go”.

Visualization

The practice of visualization is an incredibly powerful tool for dealing with fear.  When you start visualizing, see yourself accomplishing your most lofty goals.  Flex the muscle of your imagination to actually see and feel what it is like to live in your ideal world.  Making a habit of visualization conquers fear in a very direct way:  the more time you spend thinking positively, the less time you have to be fearful.

Fear is an exceptionally inhibiting force for many people, but it does not have to be!  Learn how to a) separate the unhealthy versions from the healthy ones; b) let go of the unhealthy types and c) focus on actions you can take to resolve the healthy fears.  This can do wonders for your well being!

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7 Responses to “How to Conquer Fear by Separating Unhealthy Types from Healthy Ones”

  1. Peter says:

    Good stuff Todd. I would love to skydive sometime.

    ps if you encountered some of the spiders in Australia you might change your mind about them not being dangerous :)

  2. Todd says:

    LOL Peter….forgot about the “scary” versions…
    And yes, skydiving is GREAT, although I don’t think I would do it again!

  3. [...] How to Conquer Fear by Separating Unhealthy Types from Healthy Ones [...]

  4. Great article. I remember that particular Scoopy Doo cartoon. Used to watch it with my kids. Being afraid and doing it anyway is the definition of courage.

  5. Todd says:

    Thanks Patricia– thats so funny that you remember that scooby doo episode…but wait, weren’t they all the same?

  6. Yes, It’s important to distinguish which fears are real and which fears are irrational, take appropriate cautions for fears that are real and ignore those which are not.

  7. connor says:

    jumping out of a plane is not courage, it’s idiocy, courage is getting up and doing it again.

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