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30 Days Without Fear: A Plan That Will Make You Feel So Carefree Like Never Before

30 Days Without Fear: A Plan That Will Make You Feel So Carefree Like Never Before

Fear….The emotion is sparked off each time there is pain, evil or danger in some context or another.

In essence, the emotion is aroused in cases where the impending threat is a reality or even just imagined. You feel afraid whether there is something to fear or in some cases when there is no actual need to be afraid.

Karl Menninger :“Fears are educated into us, and can if we wish, be educated out.”

Fear is a tool for utmost resilience to escape danger. A bounce back survival mechanism. Adrenaline is released into our bloodstream with resulting biological reactions.

Our reflexes and senses are heightened to help us escape real physical danger. We reach the ‘fight or flight’ mode [1]

When you feel fear your brain signals the nervous system, the heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, breathing becomes faster, and stress hormones are released. Blood from the heart flows out in preparation for leg and arms to take action.

So basically the brain shuts down the body down and prepares it for action. The ability to reason and think decreases. Some may even feel like time is slowing down and have tunnel vision, trying to make sense of what is happening. These symptoms make it hard to be logical and stay grounded situations. The response of the body to stress or fear is in itself stressful .

Fear is a useful aid in real danger but not if the danger is self-perceived and unlikely to cause any real harm. Fear can be a drawback.

Fear holds you back if you do not need it. One such example is stage fright when making career moves. We end up making the wrong decisions due to the biological reactions of fear.

We need to be firmly grounded to deal calmly and logically with situations and not be overstimulated

The fact is 99% of times fear that is experience is fear that is non-physical. Fear existing in our minds. We think we are in danger when in actual fact we are not.

Common fears include:

  • Fear of speaking in public
  • Fear of other people and strangers
  • Fear of authority and judgment
  • Fear of losing or failure
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of being humiliated.
  • Fear of aging
  • Fear of loneliness
  • Fear of disappointment

Everybody will definitely relate to one or more of these fears at some life phase or the other, even if it is for a short time or on a subconscious level.

Even the most successful people cannot claim to be fearless. They trained themselves to take action despite fear. Halt judging yourself if you have fear. It is as normal as having the flu.

Do you fear being rejected? Are you afraid that you are not good enough and that people will figure out that you are not clever, perfect or funny enough? Do you fear failure, and what about success, do you fear success?

Fears live inside of you and follow you like shadows. The good news [2] is that you have the power and strength and practice resilience to rise above any fear!

We need to overcome mental fear. We need to analyze the root cause of fear and how to overcome it.

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Why plan to overcome fear?

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds’ Redemption song- Bob Marley

The main reason is that fear limits your potential. Personal growth is about living life the best you can. Fear is a block hat prevents personal progress and growth. David Hawkins in his book ‘Power vs Force’ [3] refers to fear as the 5th lowest level in the consciousness map of seventeen levels.

If you entrench yourself in illusions of fear [4] you cannot rise to higher levels of consciousness like acceptance, courage, love, peace, joy, and enlightenment.

The 30-day plan to overcome fear

Studies (University of Cambridge: Reconditioning the brain to overcome fear))indicate that we can conquer fear by continual exposure to them. Whether it is extreme sports, spiders, snakes or horror movies, our tolerance grows with more exposure. We learn the fear we have been harvesting is not actually harmful.

Make a list of your most significant fears. Do one thing every day that scares you and rewards yourself for completing the challenge to overcome the fear.

Day 1

On the first day make a note to alleviate all words with negative contractions for the next thirty days. Note all the usual sentences with the words like ‘won’t’ or ‘can’t.’ Flip the focus of your sentences and focus on the positive. Change the negative to positive For example, instead of saying ‘I do not want’ say ‘I would rather’. This defaults the negative. Use this day to practice flipping over all negatives that you will practice for the next thirty days. Start your ‘fear journal’ [5]

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ Eleanor Roosevelt

Day 2

Wake up and put on running shoes or head straight to the gym. The goal here is to stop procrastinating. Begin with this as a daily ritual.

If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. Dale Carnegie

Day 3

Create a space in your daily calendar. What would you do if you have a free hour set out for yourself every day? Read, Exercise, or play with the kids? That single hour needs to impact on life for the better. Set out priorities and make ‘me’ time an hour a day. You will be surprised how much more gets accomplished in a day

Day 4

Afraid of speaking in a public forum? Get on stage. Get involved in community forums. Go to an event in your neighborhood, raise your hand, affirm your opinion and take the stage!

The action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all. Norman Vincent Peale

Day 5

Your birthday arrives and instead of celebrating you are shuddering to look at the fact that it may take a long time to count the birthday candles? Are you afraid of aging?

Do yourself a favor. Hire a makeup artist, find an aging character image and play the part, be old for the day. Observe reactions around you. You will most likely lose the fear of aging.

I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship. Louisa May Alcott

Day 6

Afraid of being stung by bees? Contact the nearest beekeeper association in your district and venture to be a beekeeper for the day!

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Boldness is a mask for fear, however great. John Dryden

Day 7

Are you afraid of authority? Maybe your supervisor? Take a day to set a meeting to let it out. If not ready to directly approach the person in question, it can be with someone you trust or a professional as well. Talking to others relieves stress and you gain a brand new perspective.

Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear. Albert Camus

Day 8

Rule out expectations. Examine what expectations you have of others and yourself. What constraints does it have on your relationships with others if you did not have expectations of them?

Our expectations are formed based on life experiences, culture, upbringing, and religion. Suspend judgment and open your mind to brand new possibilities.

Too much self-centered attitude, you see, brings, you see, isolation. Result: loneliness, fear, anger. The extreme self-centered attitude is the source of suffering. Dalai Lama

Day 9

Do you share similar fears with others? How about setting up a group session and learning from each other?

Day 10

Afraid of public spaces and judgments. Set the day. Go to a local celebration and dance the night away like you are in front of your own mirror and no one is watching you!

Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear. Dan Millman

Day 11

Go to an amusements park. Get some shivers with half a mile and half a mile back. Take a roller coaster ride.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela

Day 12

Always worried about your image and how people will perceive you? Quit spending that morning hour in from of the mirror. Spend the day outside in your pajamas.

The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate, to tell the truth, that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls. Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Day 13

Stayed away from certain kinds of foods? Spend a full day on a meal plan with dishes you never tried before.

Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will. James Stephens

Day 14

Get out in the world. Explore the unexplored. Plan a cultural tour of an existing ethnic tribe.

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The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. H. P. Lovecraft

Day 15

If you are afraid of losing people close to you, take an initiative to write letters expressing gratitude to loved ones and close family.

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. Jack Layton

Day 16

If you are afraid of solitude, spend a full day alone with no mobile devices and interaction for a full day.

He who is overly attached to other experiences fear and sorrow, for the root of all grief is attachment. Thus one should discard attachment to be happy. Chanakya

Day 17

Make contact with role models you wish to meet one day but never had the courage to approach.

Day 18

If you fear getting lost. Take a different route home. Explore and change direction

Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.Virgil Thomson

Day 19

Launch the project that you have been procrastinating. Break open the padlock of fear that resulted in procrastination until now.

The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one. John C. Maxwell

Day 20

Have you been in constant disagreements with a family member, friend or colleague and cut off ties for some time? Be resilient, take the initiative to set up a meeting of to resolve the issue and maybe reconcile.

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.Eric Hoffer

Day 21

A work related fear? We all have some kind of fear when it comes to our tasks. What are yours? Confront that fear and put it in perspective. Resolve the issue at hand

Day 22

Do you have social anxiety? Go out there and accept that invitation. This time does not recluse in a corner. In fact leave your smartphone at home that day, or keep it inside your bag.

Day 23

Has it been a while and you keep wondering why you are snoozing off and feeling tired or your appetite has kept you munching all day? Book and appointment with your doctor and get a full health check up.

Day 24

Do you maybe you felt like crouching in a corner waiting for the end of the world? Are you down and out, grouchy or feeling lousy? Book an appointment with a therapist.

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Day 25

Afraid of heights. Challenge yourself to do the next mountain climbing expedition. The start of by taking an escalator to the top in the tallest high building in your region and look down!

“Step by step we get ahead, not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for the fast spurts.” – Charlie Munger

Day 26

Holding back to ask a special someone to accompany you on an outing? Take the plunge and make the date.

If fear is the great enemy of intimacy, love is its true friend. Henri Nouwen

Day 27

Plan those special journeys. See places. Do things you always wanted to.

There’s no fear when you’re having fun. Will Thomas

Day 28

Make a list of all you wish to complete and all the mistakes you fear. Remember do not be afraid of perfection as you will never be perfect. Mistakes are life lessons.

The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one. John C. Maxwell

Day 29

Celebrate a love for life. Release brakes and be free, let go. Release hurt. Release fear. Stop entertaining past pain. The energy that is consumed by hanging on to past trials is halting innovation into a new life. Take this day to journal one thing you let go of.

Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and, most easily of all, the gate of fear. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Day 30

Reflect on every challenge you have accomplished and start afresh. Follow the master plan and alleviate all fears harvested and all those that will sprout.

Breathe. Meditate. Meditation and deep breathing regulate emotions.

Bloom out in a new spread of life.

At the end of the day, we must go forward with hope and not backward by fear and division. Jesse Jackson

Challenging your fears is taking time for a soul reflection. Every one of us has fears limiting life paths. We can transform our resistance and fear by shining light on them. Some release early, some can take time. By taking on the challenge to strengthen resilience and counteract fears we move in a wavelength of an authentic realm.

Reference

[1] Laboratory News: The science of Fear
[2] University of Cambridge: Reconditioning the brain to overcome fear
[3] Personality-development.org: David Hawkins
[4] SpiritualBuzz: David R. Hawkins – All Fears Are Illusions
[5] Lifehack: Master Your Fear With These 6 Tips

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Last Updated on October 30, 2019

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

What is the Stages of Change Model?

Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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    The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

    The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

    The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

    The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

    1. Precontemplation
    2. Contemplation
    3. Determination
    4. Action
    5. Maintenance
    6. Termination

    How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

    To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

      Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

      Stage 1: Precontemplation

      At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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      For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

      Stage 2: Contemplation

      At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

      You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

      The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

      Stage 3: Preparation

      At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

      Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

      Stage 4: Action

      When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

      Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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      Stage 5: Maintenance

      After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

      Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

      Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

      Stage 6: Termination

      Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

      However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

      How long does each stage take?

      You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

      So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

      The limitations of this model

      The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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      Require the ability to set a realistic goal

      For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

      If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

      Difficult to judge your progress

      The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

      Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

      Conclusion

      The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

      While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

      Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Psych Central: Stages Of Change
      [2] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [3] Empowering Change: Stages of Change
      [4] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [5] Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
      [6] The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
      [7] Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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