Conquer Your Fear

Posted on 19/02/2011

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Picture this:

You’re sitting in a bank foyer, anxiously awaiting a loans officer. Your heart is pounding; you need the loan to grow your company with additional equipment. As each minute creeps by, you feel your anxiety building.

‘What if I don’t get the loan?’ you think. Suddenly, your brain is filled with a dozen scenarios of doom and gloom for your business. Panic sets in…

Suddenly, the officer appears in front of you and replies, “We’re ready for you…”

What do you do when you’re stressed and filled with fear? Simple. You use five key strategies to help you instantly calm down and control your thoughts.

 

Stress has a bad rap. Not all stress is bad but it may feel intensely uncomfortable. Stress starts in the mind, followed by the body. When you place 10 people in a room and expose them to the same stimuli, they will react differently. This is because we’re all hard-wired differently and we all come from distinct backgrounds. Our past is what we use to decipher if something is stressful or not. For example, if you were bit by a large spider when you were seven years-old, you might have a huge fear of spiders. However, if you never had a bad encounter with spiders and found them interesting as a child, you may not have any fear of them whatsoever. The past dictates your stress level but you can break the stress habit.

 

When you control your mind, you control the stress. When you control the stress, you are more in control of your actions and the reactions.

Step One: Breathe deep. When you’re faced with a stressful situation, the first thing many of us do is react. We react with emotion and the emotion often hijacks our thoughts. When you breathe deep, your breathing slows down and this in turn slows down your thoughts. When you slow down your thoughts, you have space and time to decide how to react to something.

 

Step Two: Smile. The brain is designed in such a way that when you smile, you feel a sense of happiness. It’s programmed in your DNA as a baby; when you smile, you don’t feel stress. If your smile is authentic, it spreads to your thoughts. It’s impossible to feel unhappy and stressed when you’re smiling. So try this next time you feel the stress monster gaining control. You many need to fake it for a few minutes but your mind will follow your actions.

Step Three: Exercise. We’re all aware of the importance of exercising for health, wellness and longevity but it’s extremely important for stress reduction. When you move your body, get your heart rate up and have more blood flow to the mind and body, you decrease your stress. It’s extremely difficult to feel really stressed after you lift weights and do an intense cardio routine. Try it and tell me if you’re still really stressed after working out.

Step Four: Mindset. The key to managing stress is managing your mindset and you can do this by the three methods mentioned but also by having a positive mindset. Are you a glass half empty person or a glass half full? Even positive people have things happen that challenge their beliefs but they do go back to being dominantly positive. Positive thinking will eliminate a lot of fears and stress automatically. If you find it hard to be positive, read books, listen to inspirational tomes and hang out with people who have a different, more positive mindset from yourself. Coaches, mentors and positive friends will make the difference.

 

When you apply these four key steps, you’ll feel more in control of stress, it won’t control you. And the next time you’re faced with asking for a loan or dealing with pesky spiders, you’ll conquer your fears and minimize stress instantly.

 

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