The most effective way to overcome your fears starts by turning off your negative fearful thoughts.
Now that may seem pretty obvious but when we’re confronting fears and beliefs we’ve had for decades, it’s not easy to turn that voice off. The voice in your head that says “I need to worry about this or it will come back to bite me!”
You know the one I mean. It doesn’t always make sense, it comes out of nowhere but it’s that little voice in your head that says “this is going to hurt” and “I need to be afraid”.
Fear isn’t always logical.
If you’re confronting a wild beast or a creepy noise in the middle of the night, no wonder your heart starts pounding
But chances are your heart actually pounds more over thoughts like “I’m never going to find someone to love me” or “I don’t see how I’m ever going to be able to retire”.
Fear tends to follow patterns like this:
- I’m getting older which means ….
- I don’t have a loving partner which means
- My future health is an unknown which means…
- Financially I’m not as prepared as I could be which means…
When we talk about how to overcome our fears, I’m not talking about wild beasts or noises in the night. Your body is programmed to feel fear when a real threat is happening. Read the Gift of Fear by Gavin deBecker and you’ll understand the difference.
But even if you’re not facing a truly life threatening event, your fear can be just as scary. Fears that live in our heads are always with us and can be debilitating and life sucking. If we’re going to master our midlife mindset then we need to identify which fears matter and which ones need to get shut down or managed mindfully.
Most fears start with a thought. Whatever your fearful thoughts are, you can change that inner dialog.
The most effective way to overcome your fears
Detach yourself from the scary imagined outcome and create a new positive scenario instead
It looks like this.
- I’m getting older which means I’m afraid I’m going to eventually lose my independence.
I’m getting older but looking ahead, I can set up a lifestyle that allows me to live independently as long as possible. It may mean moving but I can see it working.
- I don’t have a loving partner which means I’m afraid I’ll be alone when I get old.
I don’t have a loving partner right now, but I know I’m capable of attracting love and being loved as I age. Maybe I’ll sign up for a dating service or a relationship course.
- My future health is an unknown which means I’m afraid I could get ill or die.
My future health is an unknown but there’s so many ways I can choose to live a healthier lifestyle with diet and exercise. It’s never too late to make some changes.
- Financially I’m not as prepared as I could be which means I’m afraid I won’t have enough money to live on as I get older.
Financially I’m not as prepared as I could be but I’m researching ways to earn some extra money, keep a budget and explore places to live less expensively.
I get it. Our fears seem real. But honey unless that bear is breaking down your front door, your fear is just a thought. It’s not real.
Oh it can make you sick, unhappy and scared to death, but it isn’t real. It’s what you think it means that scares you. If it hasn’t happened yet, your fearful thought is yours to change.
Change the thought and overcome your fears.
OK let’s take one more scary thought as an example. Let’s say your unfaithful husband has come out and said he wants a divorce. You were afraid it might happen but now it has. What do you do?
You sit yourself down and really look at the situation with some detachment. Oh I know you just want to scream and cry and detaching yourself doesn’t look like a really good option right now. But trust me. After you’ve finished crying and feeling like crap, I want you to stop and think.
- Is this the worst thing that could happen? How do you know that’s true?
- What if divorcing him could be the best thing that could happen for you right now?
- Underneath the fear, isn’t there a little voice that’s saying “Maybe now I can be happy?”
We fear change above all. Usually when we’re afraid of what the future holds, it’s the unknown changes we face that scare us. We like sameness; we thrive on knowing and being in our comfort zone.
Baby doll, it’s OK. I understand. But don’t let the fear of change stop you from living your best life. Be willing to believe things will work out for you. Change your thoughts, detach from scary possible future scenarios and instead focus on the beautiful life you can have when you’re willing to change.