A healthy dose of fear releases the stress hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine, triggering us to take action. Our heartbeat quickens and blood flow increases to prepare our bodies to fight or take flight. When properly cultivated, fear can keep us ultra-focused to successfully complete a task at hand. But it can also escalate beyond a healthy point, leading to unwanted conditions like heartburn, skin rashes and gastrointestinal issues. The trick is to use fear as a motivating force before any of these negative effects take hold. Here’s how:
Visualize – Envisioning a desired outcome has yielded exciting results for athletes, entertainers and CEOs alike that know they need to picture success before they can achieve it. Nervous about an upcoming presentation or meeting? Visualize your desired outcome in action. Close your eyes and see the room, feel the support of your colleagues, hear the laughter and applause at the appropriate moments and replay the scene in your head to manifest it into reality.
Become a student – Lack of information can cause us to fill in the blanks with worrisome scenarios. Learn as much as possible to squash fear and boost courage. Nervous about expanding your business? Reach out to another woman business owner who has walked in your shoes before. She can help you understand if your fear is realistic, and if it is, how to minimize any potential threats and subdue your worries.
Sleep – Exhaustion can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds. It can feed fear by impacting our ability to rationalize, causing us to make mountains out of molehills. In fact, sleep disturbances have been linked to anxiety. Want to get your full dose of sleep to keep unnecessary fears at bay? Tuck away all electronics, including your cell phone, 30 minutes before bedtime to promote restful sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends women between the ages of 18 and 65 receive seven-to-nine hours of sleep per night.
Believe – This is perhaps the top trait that defines courageous women. To advance, you must believe in yourself and take risks. And, follow our instincts. If it feels right, it’s a green light. If the outcome ties in with your passion, it’s a risk worth taking.
Finally, it’s been said that the best way to conquer fear is to face it head on, allowing yourself to warm up to the situation that halts you. As Eleanor Roosevelt so aptly said, “I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things she fears to do, provided she keeps doing them until she gets a record of successful experience behind her.”