Prefer to listen to this article? Press Play!
How To Move Forward When You Feel Paralyzed
Let’s say you’ve never been good in big crowds. Every time you’re near one, you shut down. You may even need to run from the situation or face a panic attack. Additionally, imagine a car’s brakes have failed and it’s headed toward you at full speed. You should run, but your fear may stop you from taking action. When you can’t take action, a fear will keep you down and it could possibly land you in real danger. If fear is paralyzing you from taking action in your life, you need to find a plan of action. You do not deserve to stay frozen in horror.
Courage is Being Afraid, But Doing it Anyway
Without fear, there would be no courage. Many of the bravest people will tell you that their fears never went away, they just found ways to deal with them. Deep breaths, talking yourself down, proper motivation, and sheer force of will are all valid ways that people deal with their fears. Find something that works for you and face your fear, head-on. Keep doing it. It’ll get easier the more you do, and you won’t have to feel that horrible, paralyzed feeling again.
How to Use Fear
Fear can paralyze you, but it can also spur you on. Fear, at the end of the day, is arousal that our brain reads as a threat. If you mix your fear with passion and push through, you might get back to the origin of the fear, which is a powerful feeling. Ride that feeling and grasp victory from the jaws of defeat.
Get a System
Christine Louise Hohlbaum of PsychologyToday.com suggests a system for dealing with fear. First, recognize your fear. Think about what happens when you ignore a little kid calling for attention. The kid gets louder and more obnoxious. Fear is the same way. Once you have identified your fear, think of one baby step you can take to move toward, not away from it. Fears are like bullies; you have to stand up to them for them to leave you alone. The final step, according to Hohlbaum, is asking others for help. Sometimes just speaking the source of your fear out loud helps diffuse it. Then, once you have successfully pushed yourself, reward yourself! You deserve it.
Expand Your Comfort Zone
Avoiding your fear is a sure way to end up frozen again. If you set small goals to face your fear, though, little by little you’ll expand your comfort zone. It will take more and more to make you afraid because you will feel more comfortable more often. So, don’t fret if you freeze. Take a deep breath, set a goal, and try again.
For instance, if you’re afraid of big crowds you can try a medium one. Go to a medium-sized party and introduce yourself to one person. Just one. Then, when that becomes natural, introduce yourself to two. Eventually, you will use the skills you’ve built up to navigate a large group just fine. You may even do so better than people who were never afraid. This is because you took the time to do it right.
No matter what you fear and what it causes you to do, you don’t need to be a slave. You can practice until the fear is at bay. Don’t be ashamed if you’ve frozen up in the past because without fear there is no way to be brave.
Let us know your thoughts below in the comments section.