Read on to learn 3 simple ways to crush fear-based thinking and the exact steps you can take today to craft a life you will be proud to call yours.
Fear based decision making has become a force for many in daily life. So, we will break down common fear barriers that are standing in your way from living the life you love. Keep reading for 3 simple ways to combat fear-based thinking and the exact steps you can take today to craft a life you will be proud to call yours.
Everything you have ever wanted, is sitting on the other side of fear.George Addair
Understanding Decisions Based on Fear
Taking control from fear based decisions isn’t as easy as it sounds. On one hand, fear is critical to our survival as humans. Instinctive fear handles us not walking into oncoming traffic or trying to pet a lion for instance. Here, the danger or threat is imminent. If we didn’t have this instinctive response, we wouldn’t make it very far as humans!
But what happens when the threat isn’t imminent. More still, what happens when there isn’t a threat at all, but our perception there is that causes fear? Like expecting your first child for instance. This is great news! But new parents definitely understand how scary it can be, too! This fear, even in happy instances, can get overwhelming and downright paralyzing.
Thus, here are 3 steps you can take today to notice and combat fear-based decision making in your daily life.
Fear-Based Thinking Kryptonite – The Box Method
Fear is a part of us. It’s built in us for a reason. But we often confuse perceived threats as serious detriments to our health! Here’s what I mean.
Imagine you’re up for a promotion. Exciting, yes! But soon after you learn of the great news doubt creeps in. What if you aren’t able to handle the new workload? What if your team doesn’t respond to you as a leader? This doubt and fear in our own abilities can lead us to make decisions that are detrimental to development and growth!
In fact, this example is about me. And guess what, I passed on the promotion. Stupid, yes. But I learned a valuable lesson about fear-based thinking. Don’t let these imagined scenarios scare you from taking on an awesome challenge! When we challenge ourselves, that’s when we grow. I use the box method to help me when I notice my fear is starting to drive my daily decisions. Here’s what the box method is.
Imagine 3 boxes in front of you. A past box, a present box and a future box. Our thoughts and fears fit into one of these three boxes. And most often, fear resides in our future box. Perceived failure in the future is preventing us from taking action in the present. Notice that you are not in the present box when you let fear drive decision making. But here’s the catch. You can’t change the future, or the past. The only moment that you can control is the present one.
Steps you can take today
Any time you have a thought that induces anxiety or fear, stop and notice what box that thought belongs in (most likely the future box!). Remember, the only box with thoughts you can act on are the present. The past and future boxes will always be there. But getting stuck in them is not particularly helpful for you. Also, the past and future boxes have a sneaky way of making us forget about the present box. And remember, the present box is the only box we can actually do something about.
Redefine Your Standards
The next step that combats decisions made out of fear is raising our standards of who we are. This concept has been famous by Tony Robbins. And whether you like him or not, the logic behind this principle is sound. As we get older and experiences and failures add up, we become more protective of ourselves. This is because the feeling of failure and hurt sucks! And our brains ignite fear to help steer us away from those perceived awful feelings. But this false protection is a serious detriment to your growth! Remember, when we challenge ourselves, that’s when we grow.
So what can we do to combat this nasty habit? Redefine and raise your standards of how you want your life to look. Robbins goes on to explain that we first have to turn our ‘shoulds’ into ‘musts’.
Steps you can take today
Understand that our belief systems about who we are are usually incorrect. Take 10 minutes today and really think about what your set of beliefs are. See, many of us created these belief systems when we were kids and they have no bearing on what we are capable of now. Don’t let this set of limiting beliefs be a glass ceiling to your potential. So, raise your standards!
“But are you the same person you were back then? Are you the same person you were even a year ago?”Tony Robbins
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
The last proven method to combat fear-based decisions is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is an ancient Buddhist practice that has become quite popular in recent years. Garnering endorsements from celebrities, psychologists, business leaders, and others. It is about focusing on one thing at the moment and being in the present while feeling every breath, each step you walk, and the sights and sounds around you. When you practice mindfulness, you accept your feelings, thoughts, and sensations without any biases. Practicing mindfulness in your everyday life offers many physical and mental benefits, and one of them is reduced stress and anxiety.
Fear, stress and anxiety result from the feeling that you cannot handle pressure or adverse situations in your life. It is natural to feel some responsibility to respond to the stressors in life, irrespective of whether they are valid or not. Mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques teach you to question whether responding to the stressor is necessary or not. Mindfulness techniques for stress reduction do so by providing you greater control over your mind and body. When you have total control over your thoughts and emotions, stress bids farewell, and so does fear. We actually created a free 50+ page ebook on mindfulness that you can get completely free. Learn more here!
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All of us experience stressful situations in life. Loss of a loved one, separation, divorce, relocation, heartbreak, or demanding situations at work. These events in our lives demand a lot from us, and it is important to learn how to handle these situations, which are often unavoidable. During these difficult times, meditation helps you become more aware of your emotions and gives you more space to understand how you want to respond to a particular situation. When you have clarity about your reality, your perspective becomes open-ended. It helps you find solutions to your problems quickly and effectively instead of when you have a one-track mind. It is made possible by practicing meditation that allows you to declutter your mind, reduce stress, and inculcate the habit of thinking positively.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction training
Mindfulness-based stress reduction training includes different techniques that help train your mind to increase mental resources and create more space in your mind. It ensures that you don’t give up easily and can face adverse situations life throws at you without fear. This helps combat fear-based thinking Practicing mindfulness also equips you with the skills you need to control your emotions peacefully and even give you the ability to think about others rather than just yourself. There is always a moment or space between the stressor and the response. In this space, you have the power to decide how you want to react, and it is what takes you to the path of self-growth and freedom.
People, who have been practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction for a while now, start to realize that they can break through the long-held fears that have held them for many years and start to live the life they have always wanted. By becoming more aware of your reactions to certain stressors, you can relate to the same stressor differently and break the cycle that might have been going on for years.
Mindfulness might seem straightforward, but it takes a lot of practice to be able to reap all the benefits it offers. Do not be disheartened if your mind wanders off a few times when you are a beginner. Practicing it regularly will help reduce everyday stress, boost your mood, and greatly improve your overall physical and mental wellbeing.
Steps you can take today
Set aside 5 minutes each day to start practicing mindfulness meditation. You can learn about this ancient practice in our complete mindfulness guide ebook below. Discover why mindfulness is critical to keeping us action focused and the exact steps you can take today to start!
When you make decisions based on fear wrap up
There you have it. 3 simple methods you can adopt today to combat making decisions based on fear. One final note, the past and future boxes have a sneaky way of making us forget about the present box. And remember, the present box is the only box we can actually do something about.
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About Breaking Zen
Breaking Zen is a self care blog dedicated the very best self care resources and what we find helpful. We focus on health, wellness, and stress reduction – giving you your daily dose of Zen. Check out our latest posts and videos to help guide you through your self care journey!
This article is NOT meant to be taken as medical advice of any kind; however, it can form the basis of your initial discussion about your concerns. Consult with your doctor about any health concerns you have.