By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Have you ever felt paralyzed by fear? Fear can stop us right in our tracks or before we even get started. This allows other negative emotions like self-doubt, unworthiness, or discouragement to seep in. It's such a vicious cycle.
Being a nurse practitioner, I love to know the why and the how behind something. So, let’s dive a little deeper into how your body experiences fear. Think about it, how does your body react to fear? Your heart rate increases, your adrenaline starts pumping, your armpits start sweating...basically, the good old "fight or flight" response. Now, think about how your body reacts when you are really excited about something? Your heart rate increases, your adrenaline starts pumping, your armpits start sweating…it's the same reaction. Physiologically, your body experiences fear the exact same way as excitement!
What's the difference? Your perception. It's your mindset that is the deciding force on whether you experience something as fearful or exciting. Fear is a learned behavior that becomes a habit. So, since it is learned, it can be unlearned...but it will take practice. Here are three helpful strategies to push through your fears so you can work towards your goals!
Strategy #1 - The “Flip-the-Switch” Strategy
Next time you are in a situation that you would normally feel fear, tell yourself you are excited to do (fill in the blank). For example, if you are normally afraid to speak in front of large crowds, when you start feeling the fight or flight response start, tell yourself, “I am excited to speak to this crowd. My heart is beating faster because I am excited to get out there and share my message.” See how that feels!
Strategy #2 - Mel Robbins' 5 Second Rule
Mel Robbins has a fantastic action strategy and book called The 5 Second Rule. Basically, this strategy stops your pattern of getting fearful, which often results in the inability to take action. And it is so simple. When you start feeling fear and inability to act coming on, stop. Count backwards from 5 and take action. That’s it…“5-4-3-2-1-Go!” This prevents you from overthinking, and you perform the desired action before fear can set in. I definitely recommend reading Mel’s book; it explains this mind hack in more depth and gives powerful examples of how it can work for you.
Strategy #3 - Eat the Elephant
How do you eat an elephant? One small bite at a time.
Okay, that might be weird; eating elephants might not be your thing. The point is eating something that big seems impossible when you look at the whole elephant. But, if you focus on one small bite, that's no big deal! Tackling big goals is the same. The ultimate goal might seem too impossible, too far away, too unlikely...fear sets in, causing you to not even start. Stop the cycle before it starts! Break that big goal down into small bites. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, you will get there. And that’s what matters! Want to up the game? Plan ahead for obstacles and how to overcome them; having a plan to tackle these will increase your likelihood for success!
Notice the common theme in these three strategies? Action. Taking action will always conquer your fear. Let’s be clear on these actions; I'm not suggesting that it has to be a big action. Just do one small thing to move yourself toward what you want. That one small thing is progress, and enough small things start compounding into big things. SoulShine Life Connections is here to help! Stick with us, and we will get there together!
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.