These particular mental and emotional states are uncomfortable, unpleasant and, when escalated, can become debilitating. But when it comes to feeling fear, it doesn’t always mean bad things are on the horizon – some fear can actually be healthy. Believe it or not, there are times when feeling fear can be harnessed, and you can use it to your advantage.
Generally, people use their thinking and their emotions to come to conclusions about their experiences.
An activity, thought, or experience is filtered through the mind, and based on the mind’s perception, an emotion is generated and attached to the experience.
In certain distressing situations, fear becomes the natural response most people would have. However, this differs from person to person.
One person may be fearful of encountering a snake, while another might be calm about this situation. One person might be nervous and scared and avoid public speaking, while another might jump at the chance.
Unfortunately, when we experience fear, it tends to hold us back. What if we harnessed some of it for our own good?
To be clear, the fear I’m talking about is the kind where you’re feeling scared, apprehensive or experience trepidation – it’s based on nervousness, unease, and hesitation.
I’m not referring to anxiety, nor phobia-based fears, nor those such as fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of the unknown.
With that said, let’s take a look at how fear can be used in healthy ways.
Fear can protect you from danger
Fear is nature’s way of protecting us from harm. When fear is triggered it alerts us to pay close attention to what’s going on in our environment and to watch out for danger; thus, feelings of fear can prevent bad things from happening.
Fear can exhilarate you
Fear is a natural response to a new and nerve-racking experience. Physically, we may fear an experience like sky diving, but it can be exhilarating too. Our first response might be heck no but, in the end, we are thrilled we jumped.
By its nature, our ego protects us from emotional harm. That means an emotion of fear might be triggered when you decide to step out into new territory and take yourself, your career or business to the next level. This type of fear isn’t necessarily about physical safety, but rather about emotional safety and avoiding embarrassment.
Doing something in front of others, like public speaking, for instance, might feel intimidating and scary to begin with, but could result in exhilaration, once you’ve done it a couple of times. The trick is to embrace the fear, see it as healthy and harness it accordingly. Over time, as you continue to embrace fear in these situations, you notice your confidence increases, your competence grows and you have shown yourself what kind of mettle you’re truly made of. You feel elated, also because you have become less fearful.
Fear can grow you
Most of us don’t like change and prefer not to venture out our comfort zone. However, change is unavoidable and when change is imminent, certain fears are triggered and stop us from moving forward. Amongst these are fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of loss, embarrassment, or rejection. While these are very common, it is important to remember that doing some things while you’re feeling apprehensive and slight discomfort can actually help grow your resilience, persistence and courage.
Obviously, it is important to know yourself well enough to recognise which fears are simply paper tigers that can easily be conquered by moving through them versus the fears that become too much to manage on your own. That’s when you want to contact someone who can help you, not manage the fear, but ‘evaporate‘ it and remove it completely.
As you do certain things – while being afraid – you adapt, tap into your abilities, even learn skill sets you need to push past your perceived limits.
You arrive (and thrive) from a new place – within yourself.
There, you feel how much stronger, more resilient and confident you are.
You see, you can do so much more than you thought you could.
You realise some fear is healthy because – now you can handle so much more – than before.