OVER COMING FEAR
Edited by Karen W., Ben Rubenstein, Jack Herrick, Flickety and 65 others
Even the most courageous people have fears to overcome. Are you afraid of something tangible, like spiders or heights? Maybe you fear failure, change or something else that's more difficult to pin down. No matter what it is that scares you, learn how to acknowledge, confront and take ownership of your fear to keep it from holding you back in life.
· Name your fear. Sometimes fear makes itself known immediately, clearly, and other times its more difficult to name the cause of those anxious feelings lurking in the back of your mind. Let your fear rise to the surface and give it a name.
· Write it down. Writing down your fear is a way to officially admit that you have a problem you want to overcome. Keeping a journal is a good way to track your progress as you work toward conquering your fear. It can serve as a guide for the next time you've got a problem that needs to be solved. You can overcome fear by facing it every time it comes your way, and, once you decide to make up your mind, your fears will dissolve away.
· What is the history of your fear? Did it begin with a negative experience? Is it related to factors that affected your childhood environment? For how long have you been affected by this fear?
· What triggers your fear? Is it something obvious, like the sight of a snake on a trail? Maybe passing your career counselor's office door sends your mind into a downward spiral when you walk down the corridor in your high school. Figure out everything that triggers your fear so you can determine how far it stretches.
· How does your fear affect you? Does it cause you to stay in bed instead of getting up and going to a class you're afraid of failing? Do you avoid visiting your family in another state because you don't want to get on a plane? Figure out exactly what power your fear has over your mind and behavior.
· Is the source of your fear actually dangerous? Fear can be a healthy emotion that protects us from harm by causing us to avoid things that are dangerous. Determine whether you have a good reason to be afraid or if your fear is misplaced and inhibiting. For example, when you are afraid to ride that totally extreme roller coaster in the theme park even though all your friends are doing it, your fear may be inhibiting you. If you are healthy and in the correct age range, you can freely ride a coaster without worrying about getting hurt.
· If your fear is commitment, your first concrete goal may be to date someone for longer than a month.
· If your fear is heights, you may want to be able to go on a hiking trip with the outdoor club at your school.
· If your fear is going away to college, you could start by setting a goal to apply to three schools.
· If your fear is spiders, you might want to be able to handle seeing a spider in your bathroom next time that situation arises.
· Don't be hard on yourself if you have a lot of fears. Fear is a natural response to situations that are out of our control, and feeling it just means you're human.
· Don't push yourself too far. If you are extremely afraid of something that you can avoid frequently encountering, like tarantulas, you may not need to force yourself to overcome that fear. It's important to work on overcome fears that limit your life, but don't stress yourself out about those that have no real effect on you.
· Consider seeing a counselor if your fears seem to be taking over. A trained specialist can help you figure out the source of your fears and create new ways of coping.
· Never do anything too dangerous, like touching a venomous rattlesnake without proper training. Be sure to exercise safety as you confront your fears.
· Bluff. Stand tall, with shoulders back and chest out. Smile. Even though you don’t feel happy or confident, do it anyway. You will look confident and your body will fool your brain into thinking it is confident.
· Yawning, bored expressions and similar negative facial expressions will always appear in an audience. Chances are some of those people will be bored whatever the occasion; some of those people are difficult to please; some of those people are tired; some of those people are distracted. None of these reasons reflect on you.
· Remember, you don't look as nervous as you feel.
· If you think the people you're talking to will judge you too much, think that they're not themselves. Think that they're your siblings or friends. People who respect you and won't judge you if you make a mistake.
· Remember, even the top professionals learn something new every single time they go out!
· Only you know what you are supposed to say or do so it's okay to change things during the presentation. (It's okay not to be word-for-word as your wrote it.)
· Remember that when you are asked to speak, if you are coming from a place of service, you can't go wrong. Remember, it's not about you. It's about them - your audience. You are not the star, they are.
· Tell yourself, "One is admired when looked upon by others."
· If you go to school, volunteer to read the text when the class is reading textbooks.
· Try low lighting. Prepare a PowerPoint presentation. Display it on the projector, and turn off the lights in the room. By doing this, you will have an enormous advantage because nobody will be looking at you and the projector will draw all of the attention from you. This will give you a sense of relief like you wouldn't believe, making your presentation completely stress free. This method does not cure the fear of public speaking but it does help you avoid the anxiety throughout the speech.
· Smile and try to make some jokes to cover your nervousness. The audience will laugh (but in a good way, of course!) and think that you're really funny. Don't try to be humorous in serious situations such a funeral or an important meeting though, or you might get into big trouble!
· Don't give a wrong or uninformed answer. Defer to a later time and ask "is it okay if I get back to you on that on the break. I want to make sure I cover the subject well, and get you the right answer".
· If you don't know the answer to a question, ask the audience if anyone knows the answer to the question (you don't have to admit you don't know it...you just ask the audience).
· Avoid death by PowerPoint; overuse of slides during a talk will put your audience to sleep.
· Avoid standing behind podiums, tables or any physical barrier between you and your audience.
· Don't take anything personally.
Some more hints
1. Take time out
2. What's the worst that can happen?
3. Expose yourself to the fear
4. Welcome the worst
5. Get real
6. Don't expect perfection
8. Talk about it
9. Go back to basics
10. Reward yourself
What Do You Think?* End the speech as soon as possible
* Avoid any pauses or interruptions during the speech
* Avoid contact with the audience
* Hide the fact that they are afraid
Don't Be the Unspeaker!
Ignoring the Audience
Fighting to Hide Your Fear
Fear of Public Speaking:Fear of public speaking is the most common of all phobias. It's a form of performance anxiety in which a person becomes very concerned that he or she will look visibly anxious, maybe even have a panic attack while speaking.
Over time, people try to protect themselves by either avoiding public speaking or by struggling against speech anxiety.
In this way, people get Tricked into making the fear of public speaking more chronic and disruptive.
Some people do this with avoidance. They choose college coursework in such a way as to avoid public speaking, rather than taking the classes they want.