It’s been said many times, many ways…do the thing you’re most afraid to do. It’s on motivational posters, the kind with the kitty stuck in a tree looking longingly down at her favorite ball of yarn in the dirt below. It pops up time and time again on the quote-of-the-day list serve. It’s on those awesome bags they give whenever you buy something at Lululemon.
There are all sorts of benefits to facing your fear. You’ll start accomplishing things. Your fear is your brain’s, and your body’s, protective response. Your fear can manifest in negativity, fatalism, a belief that things will never work out. From there, you can so easily just slip into: why bother trying? That’s fear. To combat it you can thank your inner voice for trying to protect you, and consciously switch that fearful thought to something more productive. Choose to focus on the love you have for the little tasks, the brave things you do everyday that will take you closer to your goal. Focus on feeling bold and empowered. Turn your thoughts to past successes and moments of triumph to help convince yourself you can success again. Fear will disappear.
What’s more, we now know there’s a physiological benefit to facing your fear. Facing your fear actually reduces stress! Stress is linked to all sorts of systemic diseases. More and more, stress is falling into the same category as other health threats, like carcinogens and viruses. And it is linked with major health consequences, like heart disease and ulcers. According to a recent article on stress research from Wired Magazine, facing your fear can not only reduce stress, but not facing your fear, anticipating that thing you’re afraid of (like standing at the open door of an airplane about to skydive), can cause stress levels to spike and remain high for hours. Facing your fear is a release. And doing it over and over again, removes the stress response almost altogether. So doing the thing you’re afraid to do once will make it easier to accomplish again the next time. So go for it.