We can all recall a time that we wish we’d been braver. Confronting your fears can be exhilarating, liberating and confidence-building – and will help you to make the most of new opportunities in your life.
Why do we feel fear?
Fear is built into our human hardwiring – from an evolutionary perspective, it’s been a useful trait. Our vulnerability to fear has enabled us through the ages to stay safe in situations of life, death or extreme danger.
It calls us to take action and to take care. But the same mechanisms that have served us well for so long can make things tricky in today’s world.
The predators we face now don’t necessarily have sharp teeth or big claws, and the day-to-day risks we confront have drastically changed.
All kinds of internal and external, physical and mental situations in today’s world can call upon our courage and test our strength of character.
While many physical dangers have, in fact, been removed from our paths, there’s still an assortment of mental challenges including stress, competition, comparison, doubt and vulnerability to overcome daily.
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.
It takes great strength to successfully navigate these experiences and face feelings that may scare you just as much as a skydive would, head on.
Fortunately, life provides an abundance of opportunities for you to cultivate your courage and become bolder, both inwardly and outwardly.
How does bravery affect your health?
If you find bravery hard to achieve in your daily life, the chances are you can think of a hundred different nerve-wracking situations that inspire a thumping heart, sweaty palms or your harsh inner critic to rear its ugly head.
Yet some bold souls have discovered that being brave through this ‘discomfort zone’ is the very point where transformation actually takes place.
In fact, courage cannot exist without fear. Those who may appear ‘fearless’ experience fear just as we all do. What sets them apart is their choice to prioritise something over that fear, and use it as their fuel to take courageous action.
It takes great pluck to be yourself, to trust your instincts, to stand up for what you believe in – to pioneer new territory.
But if you take a moment to reflect on your actions, you’ll notice that you’re probably already being bold more often than you realise, and therefore you might be a lot braver than you think.
Share what bravery means to you and inspire others
From walking the highest tightrope, to starting a campaign, to entering a war zone, courage can take on many different forms.
Being brave doesn’t always require a disastrous situation or a dramatic moment either; it can happen in the most normal of circumstances.
From sharing your story, to speaking out, saying goodbye, to letting someone in. Publicly or privately, every moment there are people who are mastering their fears and becoming everyday heroes.
Bravery is all around us and, undoubtedly, your small, courageous steps will spur others on in their journey – whether you know it or not.
How to tackle fear and become braver
Identify courageous role models in your life
It could be people you know, historical icons or famous figures. Fill your social media feed with individuals whose courage you admire, read books written by authors who have overcome challenges and listen to the wisdom of those who have persevered to push past their fears.
Words to live by
The words you choose to use create feedback loops in your brain. Repeat an empowering mantra to focus your mind and strengthen your resolve to be brave.
Find a phrase that resonates and make it your own, such as “I’ve got this”, “I am in control”, or “I am capable of doing this”.
Focus on others
Constantly focusing on your anxieties and doubts will strip you of your power. Instead, turn the attention away from you and start focusing on others. How will your courage help, support, uplift or empower others?
Remember why you’re choosing to be brave and let that fuel you to face your fears head on.
Adopt a power pose!
Check out Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on power posing and how you can use simple posture hacks (think: stand like Superwoman) to feel far more empowered and confident in any situation that life throws at you.
Photos by Joshua Yu, Vadym Lebedych and Brooke Cagle on Unsplash.