Watch the news for 30 seconds, and you’ll see that we live in a scary world. Crime. Violence. Natural disaster. Political unrest. The list goes on…And the fear gets personal when we’re confronted with close-to-home challenges such as health problems or financial woes. It’s easy to get caught up in wondering, “What am I going to do?” Do you have this thought often? If so, don’t worry. Today, we’re going to share 5 daily practices that help us overcome fear.
What Is Fear?
Psychology Today defines fear as, “an emotional response induced by a perceived threat, which causes a change in brain and organ function, as well as in behavior.” “Fear may arise from a confrontation or from avoiding a threat, or it may come in the form of a discovery,” explains contributor Alexis Niles. “Fear can lead us to hide, to run away, or to freeze in our shoes.”
Sometimes, a healthy dose of fear can motivate us to take action that protects us from danger. On the flip side, fear can be crippling, stifling, and hard on our health. That’s why MP USA believes so strongly in the power of prevention!
How Can We Manage Our Fears?
While some threats are indeed very real, many of our fears are imagined. Either way, fear is a powerful emotion that can take over our lives and cause us to miss potentially positive opportunities and outcomes. Here are five ways to help us keep fear in check:
- Exercise: Exercise is good for the body, mind, and spirit. The concentration required during exercise can help keep fear from overtaking our minds. Exercise is also good for our bodies. For example, the endorphins released during a workout help us feel less anxious, and being physically fit is personally empowering. If you’re not a gym rat, don’t worry! Exercise doesn’t have to be intense to be effective. In January 2019, we shared six reasons to start a low impact workout in 2019, and one of them included facing our fears.
- Meditation/Relaxation: Practicing Merpati Putih is “an effective way to get a handle on our fear,” we explained, “especially as we learn to retrain our minds.” That’s why relaxation and stress management was also on our list of reasons to practice MP. Meditation is an especially helpful tool to help us combat fear because it helps us find stillness in the chaos of life. It also helps us rest, builds resiliency, and find tranquility no matter what’s happening around us.
- Healthy Eating: While we often turn to comfort foods when we’re afraid, unhealthy foods such as sugar and caffeine can actually increase anxious feelings. Self-medicating with alcohol is also a bad idea. “It’s very common for people to drink when they feel nervous,” said the UK’s Mental Health Foundation. “Some people call alcohol ‘Dutch courage’, but the after-effects of alcohol can make you feel even more afraid or anxious.”
- Supportive People: We’re often more courageous when we’re in good company. When we can surround ourselves with a support team, such as members of a martial arts class at MP USA, we can find strength in numbers to overcome our fears. “Courage can help us keep standing when life tries to knock us down,” we wrote in a March 2019 post about five life lessons martial arts teaches. We can also realize that we are not alone.
- Face Your Fears: Sometimes, the only way out is through. “If you always avoid situations that scare you, you might stop doing things you want or need to do,” warns the Mental Health Foundation. “You won’t be able to test out whether the situation is always as bad as you expect, so you miss the chance to work out how to manage your fears and reduce your anxiety. Anxiety problems tend to increase if you get into this pattern. Exposing yourself to your fears can be an effective way of overcoming this anxiety.” As you’re working through your fears, always remember, to seek professional help if needed.
What Comes Next?
Following these 5 daily practices that help us overcome fear requires more than wishful thinking. It’s time to take action! And we’re here to help! At MP USA, our family martial arts program can help you learn how to incorporate each of the above suggestions into your daily life, and we’d love to welcome you to our facility. And don’t let fear hold you back! MP USA has a welcoming, supportive environment, and we offer open enrollment twice monthly. For more information, call us today!