How to Push Beyond anxiety and fear

by The Relationship Guy
May 9, 2017

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Anxiety and fear can be huge stumbling blocks for achieving your goals. In fact, for some people anxiety and fear are THE biggest roadblocks to their success. But here is the real kicker:

Anxiety and fear are always present if you’re attempting to grow or achieve anything new.

Being FEARLESS is in a sense actually very hard to accomplish.

Even the most successful people still feel some form of “anxiety and fear” when pursuing something new.

The difference however between the successful and unsuccessful is that they manage anxiety and fear more effectively.

Those that manage fear poorly are often the least successful.

Therefore, the ability to learn how to push beyond anxiety and fear is a super valuable skill that greatly increases your chances of success.

So what are the best ways for doing that?

I’ll give you nine (9) tips to consider.

9 Tips for Pushing Beyond Anxiety and Fear

Control your thoughts.

The first tip lies in your ability to control your thoughts.

Did you know, it’s actually possible to think about anything you choose?

I appreciate that some people’s thinking is so out of control or influenced by external realities that this seems impossible, but I assure you it’s not.

Successful people control their thinking and thoughts all the time.

For example, the best way to stress yourself out is to think about stressful things.

anxiety and fear

The best way to be happy is to literally think happy thoughts (Peter Pan was onto something after all).

The reality is you’re not more effective when you’re afraid. You’re less effective.

But being scared is usually the result of embracing anxious and fearful thoughts.

You control that because you’re the one doing it.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should bury your head in the sand about reality or what’s happening, but it makes far more sense to put yourself in a frame of mind that makes you most able to deal with the situation (whatever it is).

Don’t you agree?

One of the best ways to control your thoughts is by controlling your FOCUS.

What we focus on tends to expand.

And energy flows where focus goes.

I’ve talked about these principles many times before.

Just realise that you control what you focus on and also what that thing means to you.

You can be focusing on anything right now and also give whatever you’re focusing on any meaning you’d like.

The unfortunate habit of many people, however, is that they choose to focus on the wrong things and/or they assign disempowering meanings to the thing they’re focusing on.

For example, you fail to get a contract you applied for.

What is the focus here?

Well, it can actually be many things. It can be the “failure,” the effort that went into the proposal, the proposal itself, the people who decided on the proposal, or the other proposals.

You can really focus on a lot of things.

Your focus will determine what you dwell on.

What does it all mean?

Again, anything you want.

It can mean you’re a failure, the proposal wasn’t good enough this time, other proposals were better, this is an opportunity to improve, this is a sign that you should do something else with your life, you’re clearly not good enough, etc.

You can literally assign any meaning to this thing (failed proposal).

Therefore, if you want to push beyond fear to keep moving forward in the direction of your goals you have to control your thoughts, by controlling your focus and the meaning you assigned to things.

This will serve you greatly.

Consider the worst.

Take a moment to consider the worst likely outcome.

Ask yourself the question: “what is the worst that could happen?”

Then ask yourself a second question: Can you handle it?

Can you manoeuvre in a way that makes the worst outcome manageable?

Once you’re prepared for the worst, you can face anything and you’ll also find it actually rarely occurs (if at all)!

Breathe.

Your most powerful tool dealing with the onslaughts of life, which by the way is free, is breath.

Many people, me included at times, are in a constant state of shallow breathing.

It’s almost like we’re going through life “out of breath.”

Breath, however, is at the heart of life.

That’s why many of the ancient people used the same word when they talked about breath and spirit.

They saw it as the essence of life.

Therefore, if you want to push beyond your fears and create the outcomes you want (or have to), you must focus on your breath and slow your mind.

Your mind will literally take reality and run wild with it.

Have you ever experienced the following: you get an email that’s a bit of a surprise but with huge implications for your personal or financial situation?

To add insult to injury, the timing of this email couldn’t be worse.

You’re either not in a good place to deal with it right now, or you need finances for some other project that’s in the pipeline or the budget’s just tight at the moment.

It’s in times like these that our minds will take reality and run absolutely wild with it.

And if you don’t rein it in and put on the brakes, you can quickly find yourself freaking out and becoming very ineffective to deal with the challenge at hand.

Pushing beyond anxiety and fear towards our goals requires the ability to control our thoughts (as I said before).

But it also requires understanding that controlling your breathing is an intricate part of doing that.

anxiety and fear

When you focus on your breath, it will calm your mind and reality remains as it is.

It’s important to see reality not worse than it is, just as it is.

When we blow things up in our minds, making mountains out of molehills, we’re not helping ourselves.

We are actually feeding the anxiety and fear with anxious and fearful thoughts and poor breathing.

Therefore, when stress, worry, concern, shitty surprise, or fear show up at your doorstep; just stop and breathe.

Then, move forward.

If you want to really improve your breathing, you need to consciously make an effort to do so.

Otherwise, life just keeps going and so do we.

So, a cool tool I’ve discovered that really helped me a lot is called Zen12.

It is software that has taken 100 years’ worth of knowledge on meditation and put it into 12-minute audio recordings.

All you have to do is listen to it.

The audio recordings do all the work for you.

While it feels like you’re listening to music (you also get the options of white noise, nature sounds, or guided meditation) there is actually more going on in the background.

All these audio recordings have built into them, technology that alters your brainwaves taking you into deeper levels of relaxation (like meditation).

It really helps with controlling your thoughts as well as deepening your breathing.

The software is very well priced and a great investment.

anxiety and fear

If you want to know more, just visit Zen12 here and check it out.

Imagine a positive outcome.

It’s important that you raise the level of your expectations if you want to push beyond anxiety and fear.

Anxiety and fear tend to melt away if you expect something positive to happen.

Now, some people might call this faith while others call it belief or positive thinking.

Whatever you want to call it, the principle stays the same.

The ancient people thought of faith (belief) as the “assurance of things hoped for, (and) the conviction of things not seen.”

In other words, it is having the conviction, and therefore expecting that something better is available even when it is not visible right now.

In order to push beyond our fear and keep going towards our best outcomes, we need a little bit of faith (belief).

You need the ability to look beyond your current situation towards something that is better, even though it is not yet visible in reality.

For example, five years ago when I started me “back to health journey,” I saw in my mind who I wanted to be even though I didn’t see that person in the mirror every morning.

But eventually, I did. And it is an ongoing process.

Now that I’ve reached my initial goals, I have put new goals in place which require an even greater level of “faith” (the ability to see the unseen even when it’s not visible yet).

anxiety and fear

Therefore, if you want to push beyond your anxiety and fear, you have to create a future that you find exciting and then visualise your fear away by seeing that future (new reality in essence) in your mind even though it is not visible (seen) in reality yet.

Remember, what the mind can conceive it can ultimately achieve.

Your imagination is a very powerful tool, and like breathing it is also free.

The only problem is that many people use their imagination to imagine the worst possible outcome, not the best.

A good rule of thumb I’ve discovered is spending a few moments at the start and end of the day, visualising (seeing) the best possible outcome/situation/result you want.

Repeat this exercise daily and eventually, you’ll begin to believe it.

Physical exertion.

Physical exertion is an excellent way to burn away your anxiety and fear.

The key is, however, EXERTION.

When you feel overwhelmed by anxiety and fear, a little bit of physical movement won’t do.

It’s when we really push our bodies or put them in a situation where there is a huge physical demand on them, that it becomes effective.

For example, it’s hard to feel afraid when you’re totally exhausted OR experiencing freezing cold.

You can do anything from sprinting hard out until your legs give in, lifting weights with intensity, or jumping in an ice bath (ice-cold shower) etc.

As long as you stay safe but exert yourself physically, it will be very hard to feel fear and deal with the physical response in your body at the same time.

What that does is give you a small window of opportunity in which you can choose a different state to respond better to your anxiety and fear.

anxiety and fear

You will also experience the additional benefit of a change of breathing.

When you exert yourself physically your breath changes, which we know by now is really beneficial for controlling your thoughts.

Using your body and manipulating it through physical exertion (intense movement or stimuli) is a great and free way to take control of your mind to respond better to an anxious and fearful situation.

Get support.

Oftentimes, even after we’ve tried everything, we can still find ourselves struggling to move beyond our fear.

At times like these, it is probably important to consider getting some form of support.

Fortunately, nowadays support is readily available everywhere.

We are simply not that isolated anymore due to technology.

We can connect with anyone, anywhere, and at any time.

But there is a trap in this.

When you choose your support base, be very picky!

When it comes to support, not all support is created equally.

What I mean by that is some people will be more supportive than others.

Some people can also give you levels of support others cannot.

I encourage you to find either a mentor (someone who knows what you’re going through and can assist you) or someone going through the same thing right now so you can console in each other.

Alternatively, online forums can be helpful and you can remain anonymous.

Getting a good life coach is also a great choice and can really fast track your results.

Understand that change plus anxiety and fear go hand in hand.

The presence of fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In fact, it might actually be a good reason to be excited when you’re afraid because it’s very possible that you’re at the beginning of a great change in your life.

And that’s a good thing.

I have learned that nothing seems to change when you’re comfortable 100% of the time.

Therefore, if you’re feeling some fear it means you might actually be doing something that creates those feelings of fear.

It could most likely mean your life may be about to change for the better.

anxiety and fear

So rather than focus on the fear (or beating yourself up for feeling fear), reframe fear as excitement.

Become encouraged by the fact that you’re doing something to move the needle in your life, and change (growth) almost always bring some form of reservation, unease, or fear.

But it’s a good thing in this instance.

Make a list of the benefits of moving forward.

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves WHY we are doing something in order to keep going.

In this case, take a piece of paper and create a long list of the positive results that could result from showing courage and moving beyond your fear.

Give yourself several reasons to motivate yourself.

For example, the possible, positive results of losing weight:

  • Creating more energy
  • Feeling better about yourself
  • Finally realising dream of going on a dream vacation
  • Finding the courage to put yourself out there and meeting your dream partner

When you make any changes in your life, times will come when you question why you’re doing it.

Having a long list of very good positive reasons will help you get through those times.

All you need to do is look at the list and remind yourself why you’re doing it.

It might sound like a silly thing to do, but it’s really effective.

When we make any huge positive change in our lives our emotions run high.

The problem is that emotional highs run out over time.

And unless you have reasons/reminders in place that can induce that same high when needed, the temptation to fall back into old ways is simply too great.

So make your list, and keep it somewhere where you can look at it frequently.

If you don’t want to use paper (even though there is merit in writing things down), just use your smartphone/device and make a note on it.

Do it anyway.

Ultimately, and this is perhaps the most straight-up reason of all for pushing beyond fear, is to do it anyway.

When I look at our grandparents and what they went through in the world they lived in (from the Great Depression to the World Wars), I realised that I have it pretty easy in comparison.

anxiety and fear

I live in a world where I have access to technology and research they never had.

Even though it looks like the world is falling apart there is also a growing consciousness among the human species that we could, and should, do much better.

We should take care of each other more, as well as the planet.

And many scientists and inventors are putting all their time and effort towards making this reality.

Yes, there are many things to be fearful about.

There are many things to be worried about. There are many things to stress about.

But, there are also many things to feel grateful, excited, and hopeful about.

When you boil it down, fear is a lousy reason for not doing something.

The reality is, it’s not a good excuse, just a socially acceptable one.

But if I want to achieve better outcomes in my life, and create a better quality of life (whatever that means for me), I sometimes just need to bite the bullet and push through and beyond whatever I’m scared of.

Because in the times I have done this before, I felt great afterwards.

Therefore, be brave and resolve to do the thing you fear.

Build your tolerance to fear by facing fear daily.

When we face something enough it eventually loses its power.

The more we do something the less we fear it.

It’s a simple but powerful principle.

So use it to your advantage.

Final thoughts

Ask yourself today whether you’re allowing fear to determine your actions and therefore the results in your life.

And if you do, realise the truth about fear: Is a self-imposed roadblock on the path to progress.

If you want to move forward in any aspect of your life you have to develop the skill to handle fear appropriately and push beyond it when it shows up.

The reality is that oftentimes when you feel fear; you’re actually on the verge of making a significant change in your life. That means you should get excited.

Part of pushing beyond fear is using it to fuel effective action.

So use whatever you’re scared of today to propel you forward to a better outcome and situation.

Leave your comments and questions below as I love reading them.

About the author 

The Relationship Guy

Gideon Hanekom is the founder of TheRelationshipGuy.com, a top-50 relationship blog (2021) and top-100 marriage blog (2021) which focuses on providing healthy relationship advice about love and life. He earned a Master's degree in theological studies before training as a professional counsellor and hypnotherapist (DipProfCouns., DipMSHT.) almost 10 years ago. He completed a graduate diploma in Psychology and is currently pursuing postgraduate Psychology studies at Massey University. He has been married to his wife for over sixteen years and is the dad of two children. His articles have been published on Marriage.com and The Good Men Project.

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