Overcoming Fear


Spencer Stepp, staff writer

We all have a greatest fear. It’s something different for everyone. Maybe it’s a fear of heights or the dark, or maybe something more abstract like solitude or a fear of public speaking. Whatever your fear is, we can probably agree that it’s holding you back from something in your life. And it’s somewhat cliché but true that the only way to move past your fear is to face it and stare it down, and that process is different for everybody, but it is essential that we do it if we are to grow as people. This year especially has been plagued with fear, and a small amount of fear is a good motivator, there is no denying that, but there is nothing more unhealthy and destructive than letting fear completely rule your life.

Lao Tzu once said, “There is no greater illusion than fear, no greater wrong than preparing to defend yourself, no greater misfortune than having an enemy. Whoever can see through all fear will always be safe.” But how do you see through it and how do you overcome it? Here are some useful strategies that might help you.

Challenge It

The most surefire way to be ruled by fear is to just accept it. Thus, a key part of overcoming fear is constantly challenging it in small increments. For example if you have a fear of public speaking maybe force yourself to raise your hand a few times in class and incrementally work your way up from there. Likewise if you are afraid of heights, challenge that in small chunks until you can overcome it. Nothing worthwhile happens overnight, the real result comes from commitment to progress.

Don’t Focus on It

Most times, pushing something away or burying it is a good way to guarantee that you’ll likely regret it later, and when it comes to fear there is not an exception. However, there is a threshold for how much you can dwell on something and still stay mentally healthy. So if you feel stressed or afraid do something that you know will help distract you and calm you down. You can’t make progress without a clear head, so be sure to still take time for things that you enjoy and that help remove stress.

Push Yourself Outside Your Comfort Zone

This kind of ties in with the first point, but is also a bit more broad. Every day you should strive to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and not just when it revolves around your biggest fear. If you can get yourself used to being uncomfortable and adapt to it you will be more ready to face your fear when the time comes.

Stay Healthy

Your body is cyclical. Meaning that each part of your body relies on the others. So if you aren’t emotionally healthy, then it will be harder to be physically healthy and vice versa. And if either pillar is missing, then it becomes twice as hard to face a fear. Thus, staying emotionally and physically fit is essential. Maybe try to set goals for this such as “I will workout twice this week” or “I’m going to eat healthy today”. Once you are fully healthy, you will be better able to stand up to the fear that is holding you back.

Finally, Coronado counselor Mr. Holm has some very wise words. “Everyone faces fear. At some point in their lives everyone fears something. The biggest difference between individuals experiencing fear is how they respond to it. You can either respond in the positive or the negative, the choice is yours.”

Hopefully in this rather trying time, you’ve been able to get out of your comfort zone a bit and maybe even faced your fears. That being said, please don’t do anything overwhelmingly stupid. There is a difference between being uncomfortable and making dumb choices. Maybe if there is a fear you are trying to overcome, have friends help you out and do it with you. Stay positive cougars!