This post was originally published on PhiladelphiaMFT.

Fear is something that we all live with; it’s inside of us and all around us. Whether we’re fearful of our relationships failing or who is going to be the next President of the United States, we are constantly bombarded with internal or external triggers that send us into survival mode. A healthy amount of fear is good. Basic fight or flight mechanisms is one of the things that has brought the human race this far. But in today’s modern world fear doesn’t serve the same purpose and too many of us are crippled from focusing on fear driven what ifs. Here are some ways to achieving freedom from fear:

1. Know your triggers.
Do you have an idea of what truly scares you? I’m not just talking about things that would make anyone cautious like being alone in a dark alley. I’m talking about the things that put a hard stop on you taking action in the direction you need to go in to live a fulfilling life. Do you avoid conflict and setting boundaries when it’s necessary? Are you ignoring cutting off a relationship because you’re afraid you’ll end up alone? Whatever it may be have an understanding of those fear triggers. Start by writing them down and list how they show up in your life, and how they prohibit you from thriving in your life.

2. Understand the root of your fears.
After you’ve listed your fear triggers, take time to process where they come from. Are they genuinely from you and a bad personal experience or is it something that was drilled into you from someone else? I know there are things that I was/am afraid of due to it being repeated to me over and over by someone close. Whatever the case may be, examine what is feeding into these fears. Cut back or completely diminish the sources of these fears in your life. You cant grow in courage if you keep feeding the fear.

3. Is it logical?
An acronym I once saw listed fear as: False Evidence Appearing Real
As corny and Facebook cliché as it sounds; that’s exactly what a lot of our fear is: false circumstances or thoughts appearing as truth. Fear and the way we interpret it has a way of transforming into “truth” the more we overanalyze it. You have to be objective and honest with yourself and if you can’t do that get an outside perspective. We are often so good at encouraging other people to not be afraid of something yet can’t get past our own fears. Having someone hold you accountable and verbalize how your fears actually sound out loud can be helpful.

4. Increase your courage.
Courage is not defined as being fearless but having the ability to do something that frightens you. Do something that scares you everyday. Again cliché Facebook status worthy but so true. Courage is like a muscle, you have to work it everyday for the results to be seen. So start off small. If you feel uncomfortable sending something back when it needs to be sent back? Do it. If you feel uncomfortable correcting someone about something when it needs to be done? Do it. The more you take these small steps out of your comfort zone, the more you’re able to move onto bigger things that tap into your fear.

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