The best ways to conquer your fears

Fear. It can be paralysing; an annoyance; part of something much bigger than you realised; based on misinformation; or even trivial to other people. 

Everyone has something they fear (even if they won’t admit it to you), and it can range from spiders, to heights, to change, to fluffy monsters. Beating a fear proves that you have power over your mind, and that power is freeing. But how do you conquer your fears?

There are a couple of different ways: throw yourself in head-first or opt for a slower development. But to start out, you need to acknowledge what your fear is. Is it the light, flapping wings of a butterfly that freak you out or is there something deeper?

Next, you’ve got to work out the parameters of your fear. If the flapping wings of butterflies freak you out, what doesn’t? Will a moth send you screaming to safety? Are birds flying villains? Working out the parameters will help you later on when you need to decide how to start conquering your fear.

Invest in a good support buddy – someone you know who’ll support you no matter what. They’ll probably laugh at you as well, but a bit of humour doesn’t go astray in a situation like this… especially if you’re afraid of butterflies. They’ll need to throw you questions like, “are butterflies really winged demons?” and, “do you really think that your life will be over if a butterfly lands on your shoulder?” Your support buddy will keep you grounded, so pick someone who knows you inside-out. It’ll also help if they’re not afraid of the same thing as you.

You’ll need to work out a strategy for facing your fear. Are you going to slowly desensitise yourself? This will take some time, but it’s a good way to make sure you’re really familiar with your fear. Read articles and wise up on what you’re scared of. It’s likely you’ll discover that something you believe is wrong. Who’d’ve thunk it – butterflies don’t have fangs! Even if you don’t find out something new, your fear will become more familiar to you. The more familiar something is, the less likely you’re going to be scared of it.

Other people react better to facing their fears head-on and throwing themselves into the fear in a controlled situation. If you’re afraid of sharks, you’ve got a couple of different options depending on how deep your fear is. If you are deathly afraid, head to the aquarium and see how they act in there (and consider desensitising yourself first). If you’re only a little bit scared, check out a shark diving experience. The situation is still controlled as you’re in a cage/tank and monitored by experts, but you’ll be facing your fear in a way most people could never do. That kind of bravery is admirable!

If you go through those steps, you can conquer your fear, and, if not, at the very least you will be a little less afraid. Fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it’s a fundamental part of making good decisions and warns us away from risks. However, fear isn’t something we should let control us as it can stop us from experiencing all we can in life. And we can’t have that, can we?

What do you fear? Here are some suggestions for ways to face and conquer some common fears.

Fear: Heights

Ease into it – Go on a bridge climb

Getting a bit harder – Fly high on a trapeze

Throw yourself in – By throwing yourself out… of a plane!

swimming with sharks
Fear: Sharks

Ease into it – Visit an aquarium

Getting a bit harder – Swim in aquarium

Throw yourself in – Get rid of the aquarium

Fear: The Dark

Ease into it – Lights out in the cinema

Getting a bit harder – Sleep out under the stars

Throw yourself in – Confront the spirits

What are you waiting for...?