Want to expand your horizons, be a braver person and enjoy life to the fullest? The key is admitting what scares you and then pushing yourself to overcome it! Follow these steps to get there:
1) Tell yourself a story. If something frightens you, try talking about it unemotionally, as if you're describing a photo. For example, "The plane is taking off. The girl's seat belt is fastened. She's holding a book." In one study people were shown scary images, and then asked to talk about the pictures as detached observers. This behavior quieted activity in the area of the brain that registers fear.
2) Breathe from you belly. It's call diaphragmatic breathing. It's easy, and it works: Inhale slowly from your lower belly to a count of four, hold for four counts, then slowly exhale to a count of four. Keep doing this for several minutes. It will distract you from your thoughts and direct your attention to the present.
3) Clench and release. You can downshift from stressed to serene by practicing progressive muscle relaxation. To do this, you will be tensing each muscle group. Start with your feet and gradually move up your body, finishing with your eyes. It will loosen your muscles and ease you mind.
4) Admit your fear out loud. Simply voicing how scared you are taps into the more rational, less emotional part of your brain, one study found. Doing this increases activity in the logical parts of the brain and produces feelings of calmness.
5) Tweak your point of view and vocabulary. If you can reframe whatever it is that unnerves you and think of it as an exciting challenge you'll feel more confident and better able to cope. A first date could be an opportunity for love, and a 5k race is an opportunity to show off how much you've trained.