How to Overcome Fear Easily

I’ve been doing a lot of work with fear recently and as a result came up with a completely new way of looking at it. That resulted in a new book and a new course, titled Fearless: Mastering The Monster.

I’d like to take a few moments to share this new approach to handling fear with you. It will revolutionise the way you approach the things that scare you – ensuring you overcome them once and for all.

First we’ll need to cover some basic information to ensure we’re all on the same page, then I’ll move onto fear itself.

The human brain has about 200 billion brain cells. There’s an enormous amount of horsepower up there between our ears, but most of us experience our brains working at significantly less than full capacity.

The full might of the brain is divided between the conscious, subconscious and unconscious. Any student of personal improvement should be interested in the conscious and subconscious parts of the brain and how they interact. Here’s how they work, in broad terms…

At the conscious level, we use our intellect. This is the part of the brain that thinks and talks – the voice you hear in your head as you move through the day. The subconscious is the part of the brain responsible for emotion, memory, sleep and creativity. These two parts of the brain work simultaneously, but we talk about them as though they’re separate because they have separate languages. The conscious brain thinks, the subconscious brain feels.

Generally speaking, the two work together without issue, but when a conflict arises things go south quickly. Why? The subconscious brain is a powerhouse, responsible for 50-60 percent of our total brain power. The conscious brain, at maximum capacity, can only use about 10 percent. So when there’s a battle on, the part of us that thinks always loses out.

This is why we can be talking to ourselves about why we need to be on the right hand side of the room, but if we’re subconsciously keen to be on the left that’s where we’ll end up. Meanwhile, the conscious brain will be sputtering something like, “Huh, this is odd, I was meant to be on the right side of the room.” This type of power struggle (which is obviously quite one sided) is why we often do things we don’t want to do and fail to notice until it’s already over – a concept more commonly known as self sabotage.

Before I move onto fear specifically, I’d like to cover one more concept because it will become important later. If we repeat a phrase often enough, we’ll start to believe it. Once we hold a belief, we won’t necessarily hear it in words, it will become a gut feeling or sense of the truth for us. After that, we start to gather evidence that confirms the belief is true, transforming it into fact in our minds.

Mastering Emotions

It is critically important to understand that we cannot possibly overcome fear until we have a solid grasp on all of our emotions. The problem with that is most of us have zero training when it comes to properly handling emotions – at best, our culture teaches us (by demonstrating) that the only thing we can really do with emotions is push them down or shut them off.

The first fundamental problem is that we’re taught we are our emotions. The truth is they’re something we experience. We’ll say things like, “I am angry” or “I am sad”. We aren’t – we may currently be experiencing those things, but we’ve personalised them when we don’t need to.

Failure is an excellent example of this personalisation of emotions in action. We’ll say, “I failed.” That’s not the real truth. Sure, the thing you attempted didn’t work out the way you planned. But you are not a failure. If your child came to you and said, “I tried and failed – I’m a failure”, you’d be the first person to jump in and correct them.

The truth is, you’re experiencing anger. You’re experiencing sadness or happiness. This small point has an extraordinary impact. Why? Because it changes the scenario from “It’s grabbed me and I can’t help it” into “This is what I’m going through right at the moment”. The difference is all important – the emotion becomes a transitory thing (which is the true nature of emotions) rather than a permanent condition.

I’m going to look at emotions in general on three different levels of understanding. Remember that this is all so we can get a handle on fear, so stick with me!

The first level of understanding is to recognise that there are hundreds of emotions, but they can be boiled down to what I call the six basics. For example, happiness is a version of joy.

The six basic emotions are:

Joy
Peace
Love
Anger
Sadness
Fear

Chances are you’ve been indirectly taught that the top three (positive) are okay and the bottom three (negative) are not okay because when they arise bad things happen. No one would have actually said it, but your experiences likely showed you that people get uncomfortable, silent or absent when the negative emotions are expressed.

For example, what bothers us about anger is that it often results in violence. It’s the violence that’s bad, not the anger, but we don’t disconnect the two and recognise that it’s not anger that is the problem, rather what it leads to when it isn’t expressed properly. The same is true with fear – we get paralysed by fear and fail to do the thing we need to do. So we suppress the emotions, because that’s all we know how to do. Unfortunately that doesn’t work and they bottle up, festering and creating outbursts.

RELATED: Why You Shouldn’t Suppress Your Emotions

Meanwhile, we try everything we can think of to prolong the ‘good’ emotions because we view them as a source of happiness. The result of that process is a feeling of emptiness. Why? Because any genuine emotion is temporary. It’s transitory. We think if we prolong the positive emotions, we’ll be happy, but it doesn’t work. For example, “I’ll be happy if I get a new car”, only works for a certain amount of time before the car is no longer new. We have to prolong the influx of things because somewhere along the way they lose their magic. The realisation of how much time, energy and money it takes to keep the inflow of ‘things’ we can feel positively about generally leaves us feeling empty.

As a result of this big balancing act – suppressing the negative emotions and attempting to prolong the positive ones – we start to struggle. One of the reasons for that is the negative feelings we’re trying to make ‘go away’ are genuine. There are things we should be angry, sad and scared about. When those feelings pop up, we battle with the act of self-denial. That is, in order to suppress the emotion effectively we have to deny we feel that way. We’re scared, but need to act like we aren’t so we lose touch with the emotional signals within us. It’s easy to see how we end up in such a jumble when it comes to emotions.

The second level of understanding with emotions is critically important…

We need to truly accept that there is no good or bad, positive or negative. All emotion serves a purpose, appropriate or not. The six basic emotions are just that – emotion. When we understand that on a fundamental level, we can be real with experiencing our emotions rather than reacting to them according to the programs we’ve repeated for so many years. Suddenly “I’m angry” can become “I’m experiencing anger right now”. That key difference allows us to understand that what we are experiencing as the truth for us in this moment, may not be what others are experiencing even in the same set of circumstances. Therefore our emotions, and our experiences of them, are not fact.

Once we recognise that our emotions are not fact, we empower ourselves to ask, “What is the good purpose of this feeling? What is the emotion telling me?” If it’s anger, perhaps it’s telling me I feel affronted or mistreated. What purpose might that understanding serve? It likely means I need to stand up for myself. So now I know I don’t have to be angry, I just needed to know I can stand up for myself.

RELATED: Turning Bad Feelings Into Good

At this level the all important question is, “What is the good purpose of this feeling?” If we can explore that without insisting what we feel is fact, we can ask another great question…

“What has this situation come to teach me?”

The lessons in your life are going to turn up as people or situations that feel like they’re blocking you. They might be inconvenient, in the way or downright vexing. Most people get quite good at solving these ‘problems’ as they arise, when instead they need to be looking for the lesson. Until you say, “What has this come to teach me?”, you aren’t asking yourself to get the lesson. Instead, you’re getting bogged down fighting with the circumstances and assuming that life would be grand if people just got out of your way.

When you get to, “What have you come to teach me?” you can look for ways to rise above the circumstances you find yourself in. You get to become a better person as a result, rather than defaulting to old patterns and failing to learn anything. That’s the second level of understanding with emotions – when everything feels off kilter and you’re emotionally out of whack, look for what life is trying to teach you.

The third level of understanding with emotions is the one that unlocks our ability to deal with fear in a completely new and extraordinarily effective way. Let’s take another look at those six basic emotions…

Joy
Peace
Love
Anger
Sadness
Fear

If you had to eliminate one from each of the two groups of three – which would it be? Your decision should be influenced by what you think is the most superficial in each group. Put a line through either joy, peace or love and another line through anger, sadness, or fear.

Most people will end up with a list of four that looks like this…

Joy
Peace
Love
Anger
Sadness
Fear

Anger is fast and easy to fire up, but also dies back quite quickly. Joy is much the same. Now perform the same exercise again – remove one from each group because you consider it to be less ’important’ than the other.

Joy
Peace
Love
Anger
Sadness
Fear

We eliminate peace, because love is more fundamental. If we love enough, we’ll find peace as a result. Therefore love is more important. Sadness gets crossed off because it’s personal – it’s about ‘me’ and something that’s been lost. The loss of that same thing may not make another person sad.

The two remaining emotions are love and fear. If we look at them closely, it becomes clear that they’re opposites.

Love is the absence of fear and fear is the absence of love.

That’s a very powerful concept.

Practically speaking, what I’m saying is that there’s actually only one emotion – love. Love is love and fear is the word we use for the absence of love. To be clear, I don’t mean romantic love – I’m talking about who you are, the core of your existence. You are love.

Spend some time mulling that over – it’s a big idea to wrap your head around. Right now, I’m going to move on because I’d like to look at how we use that very powerful concept. There are four big secrets you need to know to get a handle on fear…

 

Big Secret #1

Fear cannot be banished. There is nothing you can do to make it go away – you can’t subjugate it, beat it, smash it or control it because it functions independently of thinking.

The brain is structured in such a way that it handles protection for you, without you needing to think things through. The amygdala, or primitive brain, has a radar constantly looking for things that may be a threat and operates far faster than you can think. That’s why you can experience your heart pounding, breath rate increased and sweaty palms before you even know what frightened you.

Fear functions separate to thought, so you simply cannot think your way through it. It is critically important we come to grips with that fact, because we’re told to face our fears so we can get over them. But that’s an intellectual concept – it is just not going to work. When you fight fear, all you’re really doing is pushing it down. You’re progressively desensitising yourself by shutting down your reactions, which means your ability to read the circumstances is absolutely atrocious.

The fear gets buried but doesn’t go away. If you have a fear of public speaking, that won’t disappear just because you made a speech. Rather, you’ll be hyper vigilant (even if you don’t notice it), constantly looking out for circumstances in which you may be called on to give a speech. Therefore the fear is controlling you from deep within.

 

 

Big Secret #2

Fear can be transformed.

While it’s true you can’t make fear go away, you can turn it into something else. How?

Think about what happens when you get scared – you’re likely to experience sweaty palms, increased heart rate and breathing, shakiness, jitters and even nerves. When you’re really excited, you’ll often get the same things.

This means we can actually change fear into something else if we know what’s going on. How exactly do you do that? There are a few options.

The first is to change the channel. That is, focus on passion (or similar) rather than fear.

For example, when I’m speaking to an audience of around 400 people and ask if anyone in the room has a fear of public speaking, a forest of hands rise. I pick someone and ask them to come up on stage – they arrive visibly shaking, breathless and bright red. We talk about the feelings and sensations they’re experiencing and how long the fear has been there. Eventually I ask what they’re really afraid of. Ninety percent of them say they’re terrified they’ll make a fool of themselves. Next, I ask them to imagine that they’ve been given thirty minutes to live. If that were true, what message would they want to leave with their loved ones, perhaps even the world?

The same person who was petrified two minutes ago is suddenly committed and passionate. They begin talking powerfully, capably and impressively. Why? Because their focus is on the thing they’re passionate about, not the fear.

RELATED: One of my fear busting techniques explained

The next option for transforming fear is to find what’s to love. If fear is the absence of love, then we need to go looking for the love. For many years I had a serious, debilitating fear of snakes. Some time ago I met my friend Wayne, who absolutely loves snakes – so much so that he spends time rescuing snakes and teaching others how to handle them. We got talking one day and he suggested I find something to love about snakes. Lightning fast, he grabbed a snake by the head and the tail and told me to put my hand in the middle and feel the snake’s body. Of course I hesitated, but eventually put my hand on the snake. In my head, I’d connected cold, slimy and evil in with snakes. What I discovered was really smooth skin I could feel muscle moving underneath, which was pretty amazing. It’s not much of a leap from amazement to love, so I’d found a way to love snakes and the fear dissipated. Now, I never grabbed it near the head and I’m not off to become a snake charmer, but I got to choose what to feel. That’s a phenomenal thing – to choose the way you feel instead of reacting automatically. Practice that and you’ll find it works remarkably well.

 

Big Secret #3

Big secret number three when it comes to overcoming fear is this – the healing is in the expression of the feeling.

There’s a silent sequence that goes on for all of us with fear and it boils down to this…

An emotion prolonged becomes a mood.
A mood prolonged becomes an expectation of what will happen next.
An expectation prolonged becomes an attitude.
An attitude prolonged becomes a belief.
A belief prolonged becomes a fact.

The most important thing to understand about that sequence is that it is only your resistance to feeling ugly emotions that prolongs them. Therefore, you’ve absolutely got to get proficient at moving through emotions. Remember, the healing is in the expression of the feeling – that is critically important.

When you think about it, fear can’t exist if you live in the present moment. The ego, with its drama filled stories, is all about the future or the past. What I’ve discovered in working with fear is that the story really doesn’t matter – it’s just a story. It may seem like it carries a lot of importance, but it doesn’t. Remember what I said earlier about that which we repeat over and over becoming fact?

We believe the stories we’re telling because we’ve told them so often. Since we can’t see through the story, we bounce right back into the mess created by the fear. What we need to do is go through the fear – freedom is on the other side.

How do you go through fear?

By simply being with it. Explore the fear by describing the nature of it – where it feels like it’s located in your body, what colour it is, what it wants to do, what it’s trying to tell you. In doing that, you’ll process and release the fear.

The sense of elation when you get to the other side is amazing – one of the most exciting things you can ever do is the thing you thought you couldn’t.

This is an incredibly powerful concept when applied, so get practicing.

The healing is in the expression of the feeling.
RELATED: HOW TO FIX ANY EMOTIONAL UPHEAVEL IN 20 MINUTES OR LESS

 

Big Secret #4

What you bury morphs. That is, any emotion you suppress is going to change while it’s buried.

If you chop a tree down and return 20 years later, chances are you won’t find a tree. The tree will have morphed into the next thing, most likely soil. The same thing happens with emotions. I believe all buried emotions eventually morph into fear.

Let’s use emotional eating as an example. Most of us are prepared to admit that we often eat because we’re either bored or lonely. I’m going to put bored aside for a moment so we can examine the concept of eating driven by loneliness.

Generally speaking, loneliness is a sense that something is not okay, that I don’t like being by myself. Since that’s an uncomfortable feeling, we eat to make ourselves feel better. If we need to do that, we’re acknowledging that without the food we are not okay. Essentially, we’re concluding, “I’m not going to survive.” That won’t show up as a feeling, it will just drive a vague sense of loneliness and we’ll go and eat something without thinking about it. When we do, it will take the loneliness away for a short period of time before we start feeling guilt. The new unpleasant emotion (guilt) gets suppressed and will eventually morph into something else as well. It’s a vicious cycle.

In my opinion, people who eat when they’re lonely are actually physically expressing a fear of death. It just doesn’t appear that way because we don’t look past the loneliness.

In truth, if the emotional eater could be okay with loneliness for a short period of time, they’d be able to move through the emotions, discover the fear and let it go. The result would be true freedom…

 

The Biggest Secret Of Them All…

..isn’t a secret but it might as well be.

Knowing and understanding even a fraction of what was discussed above should put you miles down the personal development track.

If you are interested in becoming a serious force to be reckoned with – if you’d like to fly down the personal development track in a jet propelled vehicle…

…do the unthinkable and actually put this material into your day to day life.

Actually use the information or even more dramatic – do some of the exercises. The worst that could happen is that you make enough progress to be encouraged to do some more – thereby making some more progress.

I say this from personal experience.

I was so far away from the smartest kid at school that I had no option except to try what they were telling me to do.

I did.

It worked. (not as well as they said it would)

That smart kid at school?

He’s a broke alcoholic – but luckily for him he knows everything.

The only thinking I know is that nobody can change my life so I have no option but to give stuff a go.

It works. (not as well as they said it would)

But it works.

Hurry! Register now for our FREE WEBINAR Overcoming Fear and learn how you too can bust through fear and achieve everything you want. Click here to register.