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3 Simple Steps to Overcome Fear

3 Simple Steps to Overcome Fear

Why do you get scared? Why are you afraid to pursue goals, dreams, ambitions, or personal challenges?

Fear can get in the way of some pretty remarkable achievements. It can keep you from getting married because you’re afraid of commitment, it can keep you from starting your own business because you’re afraid you won’t be able to support yourself or your family. Fear can even keep you from losing weight – what if the effort you put into it doesn’t produce the results you expect?

Fear can keep you from knocking off things on your Limitless list and living a life full of amazing experiences.

Why are you scared?

It’s important to recognize fear for what it really is. It’s simply the association of an event with a negative outcome. So for example if you have always thought about bungee jumping but have yet to do it, it is most likely due to the fixation on some sort of negative expectation of the event. Maybe possibly getting hurt for example.

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If you have always wanted to start your own business you may be overly focused on not being able to make enough money to support yourself, or the hard work that it actually takes.

The same can be true if you have been struggling with your health and wellness. Often the fear of getting started, the hard work it takes, or the fear of not being able to keep the weight off can get in the way.

Turning your back on fear

Trying to avoid fear or to convince yourself to have “no fear” is a mistake. Fear is not going anywhere anytime soon. It will always be there. But don’t spend too much time dwelling on it. Quickly recognize it, exchange pleasantries, and move on.

Plan: Here is a quote I try to live by “Counting on luck is counting on random chance; your odds are better when you plan and work.”

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How fantastic is that? The best plan of attack when dealing with fear is to plan for it. What is the next big challenge you’ve been thinking about undertaking? Ask yourself why you are afraid and plan for it. When I left my job a few months ago to pursue coaching full-time my personal finances were a big concern.

Instead of concentrating on how much money you need to earn look instead at where you can cut what you’re currently spending.

  • Any memberships you don’t use?
  • Cut cable?
  • Sell some old stuff?
  • Get rid of the car?
  • Lower your insurance premiums?
  • Buying coffee everyday? Busted :)
  • Buy generic products instead of name brands
  • Brown bag a healthy lunch as opposed to going out all the time

Maybe your big challenge has nothing to do with money as a root fear. Start thinking about what is causing that fear in you. Address it and plan for it. Need some help figuring out a plan? Post in comments in I’ll help you out.

Focus on the positive outcomes: I touched on it earlier but it is important to repeat it. The negative expectations associated with any event are the heart of what keeps you from accomplishing that which you want most. Although it’s important to recognize those possible negative outcomes so that you can plan, once that step has been taken, it’s important to place your focus on the possible positive outcomes that you want to experience.

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By concentrating on the good, you are much more likely to stay encouraged and motivated. A great way you can stay focused on the positive is to keep track. Keep an achievement journal each month. If weight loss is your goal, track your progress each week my taking body measurements, hopping on the scale, or getting a body fat test done.

Another great way to focus on the positive is to keep track of your behaviors. Are you acting in a manner that is getting you closer to your goals? Buying healthy groceries and avoiding the junk? Prepping healthy meals the night before so they are ready to roll the next day? Waking up a bit earlier to get in a 30-minute run?

Results are not always measurable right away but the behaviors that lead to those results are.

Review the log at the end of the month and see how you did? Where did you struggle and what might you be able to do this upcoming month to improve upon those things?

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Practice, Practice, Practice: Most of us are not naturally remarkable at things right away. If you are one of those people… I hate you. Learning new skills takes practice. Like shooting a basketball, playing the guitar, or weight training – They are each difficult in their own way and it takes time to learn how to do them properly.

So practice being courageous by taking on smaller fears. Make a list of all the things that scare the heebie-jeebies out of you. Review the list and pick the one of them that freaks you out the least. Now go for it! Build upon that success and take on something that scares you a little bit more.

What you’re doing here is training your courage muscle. Just like weight training to build lean muscle or going on a run to prepare for a marathon, you’re training yourself to get stronger. How neat is that?

Now act

We’re all scared of something. Some of those fears are big, some are small, and some may even seem silly. Regardless they are real and probably not going anywhere anytime soon. So ask, what is something you can do right now that will get you one step closer to tackling your fear?

Take that step. Time is ticking…

Featured photo credit:  Mysterious woman pulls the blinds apart via Shutterstock

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Justin Miller

Healthy Lifestyle Architect

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Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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