The main benefit of facing your fears is easy to spot. You’re no longer so scared of that thing! But there is much more we can gain from staring fear in the face.
Yes, it’s very tough. Sometimes, we have to face it over and over again in order to chip away at our fear. If you’ve been terrified of airplanes your whole life, one flight may not be enough to make the fear go away. It could be three, seven, ten flights before you notice you’re not as tense.
Facing fear takes a lot of bravery. Summoning our strength only to discover it may take a while can feel discouraging. So, to help keep us motivated to overcome those fears, here are a few other benefits we can all look forward to.
The power of neuroplasticity.
When we come to personally understand that we can change our own brains, it’s incredibly empowering. We can make ourselves calmer, more creative, anything we want. We are essentially the masters of certain portions of our brains.
In the book Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry, authors Catherine Pittman and Elizabeth Karle remind us that “the circuits must be hot in order to change”.
We need to activate fear in order to prove that we’re not necessarily in danger. Over time, our brains learn that this is not an object or event we should be frightened of, because we provoke and challenge that fear.
Learning to let go.
If we are not making progress with fear, it might be because we’re not facing it as much as we are suffering through it. When we finally stop tensing against the experience, we are learning a very important lesson. One many never absorb in this lifetime.
What we resist, persists. Just approaching fear is not enough. If we do so with our eyes squeezed shut, jaw clenched, and shoulders hunched, it may be no better than avoiding the fearsome situation.
Softening and letting go, on the other hand, lets the fear enter quickly and fully. It passes much more easily this way. After all, from a biological standpoint, you can only be so scared for so long.
Do you avoid feeling vulnerable? Many of us put off facing our fears because we worry about what anyone who witnesses it may think. We may even be frightened of having anyone know what we’re scared of.
If this sounds familiar, you’re rejecting an important part of yourself. Allowing yourself to be scared, be vulnerable, is a form of self-acceptance. If we can accept and nurture ourselves through negative emotions, we become better at accepting and nurturing people we love.
Overall, it just helps us become more compassionate human beings.
Feeling the rush.
Facing fear is exhilarating! True, we typically prefer feelings of relaxation and calm awareness. But once the burn of fear subsides, there is no better sensation than the rush of endorphins that seem to congratulate every cell in our bodies.
It’s the exact feeling that inspired the term “a natural high”.
Visit the comment section below and tell us how you overcame your greatest fear. What fear are you going to face next?