Fear is one of the most powerful emotions that individuals experience. When fear becomes life disabling, it is important to know how to change the negative fear behaviors into positive life-enabling behaviors in order to lead the life you want to live. Looking at a number of issues may help with the route to finding a coping strategy.
Fear that controls your life is an irrational fear. Take a step away from the fear and look at it objectively. If it helps, imagine someone else having a fear that controls her life while you assess objectively whether the effect on her life is negative or positive. By challenging the effect of the fear in a removed way you allow yourself to rationalize the issue. In this respect you learn that the fear is irrational, causes a negative impact and that the fear can be challenged.
Begin to look at the reasons that caused the fear. Take this in small steps so that it is not overwhelming. You may prefer to do this with the help of a professional counselor. Issues surrounding fear can be extremely intricate with interwoven complexities that initially may not be apparent. Some types of fear arise out of the loss of a loved one. This creates a feeling of helplessness and grief that spirals into being afraid to meet the outside world. The fear can lead to agoraphobia or social phobia, where the intensity of fear is life disabling. Bereavement counseling may help to deal with the underlying issue of grief so that you become emotionally ready to move on. The reasoning behind why the fear started helps you to disseminate the fear so that it becomes something you can positively reduce.
Take an objective look at the behaviors you experience during the fear episode. These can include a dry mouth, increased respiration, cold sweats and panic. Recognize that when you feel afraid the body naturally releases hormones to prepare you for "flight or fight." When it is an irrational fear, the mind propels your body to replicate the normal "flight or fight" response. Once you start to see the fear as a negative emotion, the negative reinforcement loop of fear behavior decreases. The positive power of your mind and the determination to break the negative behavior reduces the frequency and longevity of the fear response.
4. Positive Reinforcement
Reward yourself for every step forward you take to manage your fear. Start with very small steps, such as admitting to yourself that you don't want to live like this anymore. Give yourself positive reinforcement in order to create positive emotions associated with your coping strategy. In this way the energy that went into the negative reinforcement-loop of fear behaviors transfers into a positive reinforcement-loop for increased mental health. Think of all the wasted energy you had for the irrational fear behaviors and use that energy to fulfill the positive things you want to do in life.
When fear transgresses from a normal physiological response to a negatively reinforced behavior, life's journey can be a difficult road to walk alone. However, by rationalizing the fear, using objective reasoning and giving yourself encouragement to break the cycle of fear, you can turn your life around for the better.