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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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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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