We all have those feelings – waking up in the middle of the night plagued by worry over something that has happened years ago? A past work deadline you can't change that's still causing you to fret? A fight you had with your family member that left you feeling sick and ashamed for a long time?
With everyday stresses constantly building up, it's no wonder we need countless affirmations in the mirror, meditation sessions, and reality checks to build our confidence – or frankly, just to keep going. It's a difficult thing to stop negative thoughts from entering your mind, but it sure can and must be done.
Creating a healthy thought process and habits for yourself are key in keeping morale and self-esteem high. It's time to quit feeling scared, worried, and overwhelmed, and finally take back control of your mind. Here's how to accept and move forward from fear and set mindful examples so you don't waste any more of your true self and energy on anxious feelings:
7 ways to overcome fear, worry and anxiety in your mind
1. Retreat and retract
Sometimes we can become obsessed with a thought that creates fear, worry, and anxiety. It can take up so much mental space feeling anxious all the time, drains your energy, and ultimately takes you out of your present moment, stopping you from enjoying... anything. Since this is usually just mind-made thoughts creating negativity, it’s really important to retreat and retract. In other words, take a moment to chill!
Overcome bad thoughts by taking yourself out of the office and going for a short walk, or grabbing a coffee and simply sitting outside. Taking a moment to stop, breathe, and calm yourself down by reminding yourself that it's your choice to feel a certain way, can be a huge gift. It plainly makes you realise that being worried, anxious, or scared is not the best choice and won't do you any favours during the rest of the day.
2. Check your thoughts
Fear is a feeling created simply and solely from your thoughts. Thoughts pop into our minds all the time and it’s good to be reminded that, actually, we have a lot more control over them than we realise. The only reason you're feeling this way is because you're thinking in a ‘catastrophic’ way, in other words, negatively! Slow down your thought process and work out what thoughts are serving you right now and what thoughts are not.
If you're thinking, ‘I can't do my job, I'm just too scared to do it’, it will create a lot of negative feelings deep down. Instead, start to question that thought – ask yourself, 'Is this thought serving me well or making me feel bad?'. 'Is this thought going to get me to the outcome I want?'
Start questioning the hell out of it and start thinking about your situation in a more positive way – for example, ‘Of course I can do this work, the people who have employed me have done so because they believe in me and I got this job because I'm capable of doing this.’
3. Your thoughts are not facts
We tend to believe that what we think is always a fact. The truth is when we believe that every thought we have is true, we open ourselves up to a whole world of pain and stress. If a thought comes into your mind on the lines of, 'You're not good enough', and you believe it, it can trigger a ton of other negative thoughts and feelings within you.
Don't let your mind be unmanaged. We have to learn to become mindful and recognise that our thoughts are not facts. This way, we find a lot more peace. Allow thoughts to float in and out of your mind without judgement, because remember, they are just thoughts.
4. Fear is a feeling – YOU are in control
Anxiety, fear, and feeling low self-esteem and confidence are simply feelings created by a negative thought process. Ultimately, we get to choose how we feel. Choosing fear is not ideal on any day so it’s time to start deciding how you do want to feel and then work your mind around how you're going to get there. Self-inflicted feelings can't hurt you unless you sit in the negative all day without wanting to change.
Choose a different feeling to focus on like calm or serenity, and then get your head right. Think of the questions you really want to be asking yourself.
5. Have a chat with yourself
If you're lacking in confidence, a great exercise to try is to write down your negative thoughts or worries in a notepad. Then imagine your best friend telling you that this is how she feels. How would you answer them back? What would you say to them from the point of view of being a caring, rational and loving friend?
What if, for example, you're worried about a date and you think, 'I'm freaking out about going out on this date later. What if it's just awful?’. You could respond to your own thought with, ‘It's only dinner. They could be a really interesting person and it might be a really nice night whether there's romance or not. They're probably even more scared.’ Stop negative thoughts by following through on your thoughts – it makes them less scary.
6. It's only a feeling creating adrenaline
Many feelings we choose also result in physical symptoms. When we choose fear, we're creating uncomfortable physical symptoms like feeling jittery, having sweaty palms, etc. We literally create our own adrenaline.
Your mind is powerful, so don't let it set off a roller coaster in your own body. Your body thinks it needs to fight, flight, or freeze so it starts to produce a physical reaction. Although adrenaline feels scary, it can’t really hurt you. So next time you experience those weird symptoms of anxiety, remember, you can overcome fear – it's just adrenaline and you calm it down by calming down your mind.
7. Talk to someone
Fear and low confidence can feel very isolating when you believe you're alone in what you're going through, or that you're the only one in the world that feels like this. The truth is that these feelings are common. The great thing is that you don't have to live with these feelings and they're something that you can change.
It’s really important to open up to friends and loved ones about your thoughts on self-confidence and feelings of anxiety, as talking about things can help you to feel better right away and get you seeing things with a clearer and more realistic, truthful perspective. Remember this: fear is totally your choice – choose a different thought and get a different feeling. Work on it and see how this changes for you. It’s guaranteed to work.
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