Scary movie marathons, haunted houses, and fields of screams means terror is always on the mind this time of year. For most people, that terror is seasonal and fictional, like zombies and vampires and Freddy Krueger. For others, it’s tangible fears like clowns or spiders or heights.
And for some of us, abstract fears and doubts are always on our mind. While we may get spooked by bats and black cats during Halloween, fears like embarrassment, failure or rejection, keep so many of us from success and happiness throughout the year.
Feel Empowered and Face Your Fears This Halloween
By: Jennifer Landis
Isn’t it time to push back and face those fears? Use Halloween’s fascination with fear as inspiration to finally empower yourself to overcome yours. Here are some tips to get started.
Acknowledge Your Fears
No, you don’t have to go around hugging every oozing zombie and dusty mummy at your local haunted house. Acknowledging fear means telling yourself that it’s okay to feel scared, nervous or intimidated by something. You shouldn’t feel ashamed for being afraid, in fact you should be mindful of your feelings.
Fear isn’t what’s standing in your way, it’s your response to fear. You don’t choose to be afraid of something, but you do get to choose how you respond to that fear. What is it that you’re afraid of in your life? Is it starting a new career? Finding a new love or taking the next step in the relationship you’re in?
Start your journey by cutting yourself a break on those subconscious, irrational, I-never-asked-for-this feeling.
Dwell on the Positive
Focusing on the negative only feeds your fears and tightens their hold on you. You can always find at least one negative thing to focus on. When you do, that negative becomes the only thing you can see.
If you tend to focus on the negative, get into daily habits that will keep you dwelling on the positive. Read “4 Practical Ways to Think Positively and More Have Joy.” When someone compliments you, write it down so you can look back on it later. Keep a daily journal where you write down happy moments from your day, no matter how small. Keep a thankfulness jar: write down one thing you’re thankful for each day for a year, then dump them all out and look back at all the good memories.
Think of Others
When you get together with friends or sit down with colleagues, do you spend your time together mentally reviewing every mistake they’ve ever made?
No! Despite mankind’s ability to hold a grudge, most of us don’t have that long a memory when it comes to other people’s embarrassments. Most of the time, you’re the only one keeping negative memories alive.
It’s time to start applying the grace we give to others to ourselves.
One way to do that is by helping others. Supporting the efforts of those around you in turn benefits you in many ways. It can:
- boost your mood and self-esteem
- increase your own network of support
- give you hope and courage to pursue your own goals
- help you discover or hone your own strengths and skills.
No one overcomes fears or finds success on their own. People succeed and overcome them with the help of a supportive, encouraging network of friends and family.
Fear of failure may be abstract, but so is saying “my goal is to stop being afraid of failure.”
Abstract goals can’t help you any more than the abstract fears they’re based on. To make any improvement in your life, from paying off debt to learning to ride a bike to overcoming a fear of failure, you have to have specific, measurable, actionable goals.
Some of the tips mentioned above make a great starting point for actionable goals. Make one goal adding a new note to your thankfulness jar each day. A broad goal could be to help a friend. You can then break that down by deciding which friend you’ll help and specific steps you’ll take—from sending encouraging notes to proofreading a resume to attending an event as moral support—to help them with their specific goal or need.
Breaking down goals into small, actionable to-do’s gives you regular doses of success that can build up your confidence and self-esteem and help you move on to tackle greater and larger goals and fears.
This October, let every jack-o-lantern you see, every horror movie you flip past and every trick or treater at your door serve as a reminder to face your fears. With a positive attitude, a supportive network and clear goals, you might find yourself spending next Halloween fear-free.
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About the Writer:
Jennifer Landis is a tea-drinking, yoga-loving, distance running, nutrition nut, writer, and journalist. She’s the creator behind the Mindfulness Mama blog and a proud mama and wife. She loves making new friends, so feel free to stalk her on her social media pages: Facebook, and on Twitter and Pinterest @jenniferelandis.
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