At first glance, it may not seem that fear and negative thinking are linked together. After all, there is plenty to fear in daily life.

And while a certain level of fear is perfectly normal, some of us have crippling issues with fear. And at the root of this crippling fear is negative thought patterns.

This negative outlook makes it even harder for us to manage our challenges, move forward, and face our fears.

Practicing positive thinking allows fearful individuals to focus on strengths and accomplishments, which increases happiness, motivation, and the courage to act and follow through with the things that seem too frightening.

This allows us to spend more time progressing while spending less time feeling stuck. What it amounts to is taking control of your life so you can conquer your fears.

The tips below are practical suggestions that you can use to develop more positive thinking patterns so you can take control during times of fear and be more productive and successful in reaching your goals.

1. Take Good Care of Yourself

To take control of your life and face your fears, start at the baseline. Make sure your basic needs are met. Because it’s so much harder to feel positive when your fundamental needs aren’t being met.
Eat well, get enough exercise, make sure you have healthy social interaction and get enough sleep.
Once these needs are met, you stand a better chance at facing your fears.

2. Remind Yourself of Why You’re Grateful

Fearful, stressful times aren’t as pressing when you’re focused on the good in your life. If you can, take just 60 seconds a day to appreciate the beautiful things life has offered you. It will make a big difference.

Fear is negativity-based thinking. Focusing on gratitude helps you consider the opposite of fear – excitement. This is a huge step toward overcoming your fears.

3. Seek Proof Instead of Making Assumptions

Sometimes our fears can get the better of us, causing us to drum up all sorts of unlikely fantasies of how awful things are. When that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Fear of not being disliked or outcast, for example, can lead us to assume that we know what others are thinking.

But usually, our fears aren’t real. If you fear someone’s bad mood is the direct result of something you’ve done, or that others are gossiping about you, for example, speak up and ask what’s going on.

Avoid wasting time worrying unless there’s proof. Chances are you’re wrong.

4. Refrain from Using Absolutes

Does your fear come from a story you tell yourself about how you “never win at games” or “nobody ever likes me?”

Absolutes like ‘always’ and ‘never’ make situations seem worse than they are. Using absolutes also leads you to believe things that don’t have sufficient evidence of being true.

Instead of using absolutes, find just one piece of evidence that goes against the absolute. If you say “never”, then find just one exception to the rule, the absolute is null and void.

5. Eliminate Negative Thinking

Negative thoughts only have the power you allow. If you notice yourself in a negative space, detach. Don’t judge. Your thoughts hold no power over you if you don’t judge them. If you notice yourself having a negative thought, detach from it, witness it, and let it go.

When you have a negative thought pop into your mind, like “I can’t start my new YouTube channel because I’m not attractive enough.” Instead of running away with that story, separate yourself from it. Think “okay, I see I just had a thought that I shouldn’t start my Youtube channel. What thought will come next?”

That way you’re not giving the thought any energy. It needs energy to have power. Cut off the source.

6. Crush the “ANTs”

In “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,” Dr. Daniel Amen describes “ANTs” – Automatic Negative Thoughts. ANTs are reactionary thoughts that bring you down.

For example, if you see people laughing and conclude “they’re laughing at me.” Or if you catch wind that your boss wants to see you and conclude that you’ve done something wrong. ” When these thoughts pop up, identify them as ANTs, and squash or crush them!

7. Vocalize Your Feelings

If you have someone you trust, talk about your fears with them. Other people can offer support and different perspectives that you hadn’t considered before. And often, the sensation of feeling supported is enough to make fears seem less dire.

Even if you don’t have anyone to talk to, it can be helpful to make sure you’ve got some privacy, then speak aloud. In a way it’s similar to journaling your fears but verbalizing them aloud tends to make them feel lesser also. You just might get some new insight from this practice. Try it and see!

8. Become More Socially Active

Decrease loneliness by spending more time with others. Surround yourself with positive people, and their energy will uplift you.

These positive feelings give you confidence and courage to face your fears, leading to a greater sense of control over your life.

9. Be Helpful To Others

Volunteer your time, money, or your resources to help others. The more positive energy you put out, the more you will receive.

This is especially valuable if your fear is based on social anxiety. Being of use and doing things with a purpose tends to take some of the sting off of being socially anxious.

10. Use Pattern Interrupts

Finally, if you find yourself ruminating on all the “what if’s” behind your fears, stop it by interrupting the pattern. Force yourself to do something else.

Focusing on the negative is never productive, as it’s not rational or solution-oriented.

Change your environment. Take a walk, sit outside.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to anything in life, training yourself to think positive is a powerful tool to have in your toolbox. It is no different with respect to overcoming your fear.

We fear things we have no control over. Adopting a positive mindset gives you control over the one thing you can always change no matter what – your perspective. And once you have control over that, fear doesn’t stand a chance.

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