5 Ways to Live Beyond Fear
Fear can be a great informant. It helps us tap into past experiences that are connected to negative emotions and feelings, and affords us an opportunity to heal. Think of fear as a projection of what you’ve experienced in the past or a worry about the future. What you’re most afraid of is usually not based in the reality of the present moment — it’s something the mind latches on to create unrest about a future that may or may not happen.
Once we understand the source of our fear, we can start to shrink it and get grounded in knowing that in this very moment, we are OK. With that in mind, here are five ways to start living beyond your fear today.
1. Stay Present
Fear fades when we are in the moment because it stems from past experiences that we project into our future — if you know what it feels like to fall down and skin your knee, you mostly likely want to avoid that today. Every time you feel fearful, bring your mind into the moment, and tell yourself that you are bigger than your fears.
A blade of grass bends in a storm, but it doesn't get uprooted. It bends and flows, accommodating for stormy weather at that moment. A blade of grass shifts its center of gravity to exist in its new reality. Adaptability and resilience are necessary to move through life with positivity, which will help your spirit stay light and lifted.
These traits strengthen from acceptance of what is in the moment. Things are going to change, that’s inevitable, but taking a pause and centering in the present moment can help keep you grounded, inviting in calm and comfort, and minimizing fear.
2. Realize You Are Not Your Thoughts
According to the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most famous ancient Hindu scriptures: “For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.”
We have more than 6,000 thoughts each day, and most of them are connected to the past and future. But the incessant thoughts constantly running through your mind do not need to belong to you. You do not need to accept ownership of them or even believe them.
Your thoughts are heavily impacted by what you consume via social media, television, news, and the company you keep. When thoughts are polluted with negative banter, it pulls our energy down, creating self-doubt, fear, and anxiety — which otherwise could have been used toward moving in a direction that is more serving had we chosen better thoughts.
The truth is, you can choose your own thoughts — and dismiss those that are not serving you. Using the breath to become present and calm, you can begin to see thoughts like clouds, passing by innocently in the sky. By observing thoughts without attaching emotion to them, you can further detach from fearful thoughts.
3. Accept That Nothing Is Certain
Indian monk and guru Paramahansa Yogananda once said, “There is no security anywhere in this world: at any time, your consciousness may be forced to give up the body by disease or misfortune. The wise therefore are not tossed with the ups and downs of the waves of happiness or misery.”
Uncertainty is a state of limited knowledge where it is impossible to exactly describe a future outcome, and it can be a precursor to fear and anxiety. Often across cultures, the word "uncertainty" has negative connotations and is seen as dark and undesirable.
But panic and anxiety can result when we give in to this belief that uncertainty is “bad” — this gives fear of uncertainty even more power. The only thing certain is this moment, and the more we can lean into this truth with our practices (see below), the more we can remain centered and untouched by ever-changing external conditions that often lead to fear of the unknown. By accepting what is, we begin to cultivate more resilience and ease into day-to-day living.
4. Embrace Change
As you learn to accept that nothing is certain, you will start to get more comfortable with the truth that you are not in control of external things. Being change-adaptive and keeping an open mind about your situation and your future is key to living fearlessly. Cultivating a habit of embracing the “isness” can be done like any other exercise — through commitment, dedication, and time.
It is through a combination of yoga techniques and philosophy — blended with modern-day techniques — that we can harness the tools to handle changes that come without warning, with acceptance and courage. The more you practice, the easier it will become to disassociate pain with change, and instead, see it as a truth, or principle of the world, without fear or judgment.
5. Practice Breathwork
Yogic breathwork has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. There are many breathing exercises available on Roundglass and you’re encouraged to try them out to see which ones resonate the most within your practice.
Try: Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama), which can help balance your nervous system and lessen your body’s stress response over time — helping you to relax easier in the face of fear. In this practice, you’ll inhale and exhale through one nostril at a time.
We do this type of breathing to help prepare for meditation — and to help clear the mind of unwanted thoughts associated with fear and anxiety.
Incorporating these techniques for overcoming fear allows us to keep calm in the face of what is frightening. The more we can welcome in a sense of safety and calm, the better equipped we are to face the inevitable challenges that life throws our way.
Try this Roundglass course, Meditations for Living Beyond Fear, by life coach Leena Gupta to experience how breathwork may help to release negative thoughts and emotions that can scare you out of going after what you want.