How to Face Your Fears – Tips to Overcome Anxiety

Written By: The Planet D

We have often said that if you push yourself out of your comfort zone just a little each day, life will be more fulfilling, exciting, and you’ll gain more confidence. Feeling fear is natural but having anxiety to the point that you feel paralyzed can stop you from living life to the fullest.

The past year or so has heightened that anxiety in everyone. I know that we have lost a lot of confidence feeling uncertain about our future, however, as I look back on many obstacles in our life, we have found that when we have taken a chance to make a change, the outcome has always made our lives better. We are not saying to throw caution to the wind but if there is something that you really want to do but feel too much fear to take the next step we are here to help calm your nerves and take a leap to a better life.

Tips to Help you Face Your Fears

How do we get over our fears? Here are some of our tips. 

Take Baby Steps

When facing your fears, don’t go beyond what you can handle. If you have a fear of small places, scuba diving in a cenote in Mexico may be too much. If you have a fear of heights, perhaps bungee jumping should be taken out of the equation. Instead, go for something a little less traumatic. For someone with mild claustrophobia, try booking a fun night out in an escape room with your friends. If you have a fear of heights, why not go to the public pool and jump on the diving board and then work your way up to the high dive?

Maybe you’ve always wanted to try scuba diving, but it’s scary going 30 feet underwater, try snorkeling first to get your feet wet. Rock climbing or bunjy jumping might be too much for you, but what about rappelling or ziplining over the jungle? It’s still a thrill, but not quite so extreme.

Have a Cheering Section

deb

When I did the polar plunge in Antarctica I was terrified of the freezing water. Having friends as a support group, made me feel so much better. With their positive energy surrounding me, it made me feel safe and gave me the confidence to jump off the platform into sub-zero water. If I were to try it alone, I probably would have chickened out.

Positive Thinking

face your fears ireland

Whenever we’re afraid, we focus on positive thoughts. “People do this all the time, I’m going to be ok.” This has helped me jump off cliffs into icy waters when I really didn’t want to do it. This has helped Dave lead the way through a jungle path filled with spider webs on an early morning hike.

We both tell ourselves that people do this every day and have lived to tell the tale. It’s not like we’re riding a wing suit through a narrow canyon, we’re regular people that may be stepping out of our comfort zone, but we’re going to be ok. The mind is powerful and if you think positively, you can overcome some fears.

Do Something That Scares You a Little Bit on a Regular Basis

face your fears snowshoe

People think Dave and I are superhuman and not afraid of anything. The truth is, we’re afraid of everything. We’re afraid of failing, of not making it through an epic hike, or the fear of the unknown. When we trekked the Missinaibi Headwaters in the dead of winter, we were terrified of walking on frozen lakes, sleeping outside in -30? weather and having the stamina to make it through the 100km trek.

If we hadn’t done so many other things that scared us in the past, we wouldn’t have been able to face this challenge. It would have looked impossible. But because we’ve done so many things that scare us each day, we knew that if we stayed focused and pushed through, we would probably be ok.

Admit When you Are Afraid

face your fears ontario

Many times we think we are the only ones that are afraid in a situation but often, once I announce that I’m nervous or afraid, everyone else agrees. Whether it’s been sitting on a boat waiting to get in a cage to dive with great white sharks, or having to face whitewater in a kayak, when we say we’re afraid out loud, it feels better.

A lot of people will say to us, “I thought you weren’t afraid of anything.” Because they thought this, they were too nervous to mention their fears. Well, it turns out we’re just as afraid, if not more than they are! There’s strength in numbers, and when you don’t feel that you are alone, you suddenly are a lot less afraid.

Hire a Professional

face your fears kayaking

Dave and I do many things that seem actually insane. I flew a stunt plane in New Zealand, Dave jumped out of a plane in New Zealand. We both had a professional with us the entire time. When we take on an epic hike or decide that we want to face a raging river by kayak, we don’t go into it blindly.

We take a course or hire a guide. Having an experienced professional there to teach you, take care of you and make sure that you are safe, will alleviate many of the fears that you may have. You’ll find that by having a professional watch your back, you’ll discover a lot of courage within that you never thought you’d ever have.

So with National Face Your Fears Day here to motivate everyone to face their fears, make some plans to do something that scares you. Do something that scares you today! Maybe you’ve been afraid to approach someone you’ve had a crush on or maybe you’ve been afraid to apply for that new job.

If you have a fear of heights, maybe it is time to take an elevator up to the tallest building in your city and look out from the highest floor. It may be big, it may be small. But whatever it is, today is your day to get it done.

What’s your greatest fear? Are you planning on facing your fears today?

face your fears pin

This post was created as part of my collaboration with Carnival. As always, all of the opinions, thoughts, and ideas in this post are our own.

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

24 thoughts on “How to Face Your Fears – Tips to Overcome Anxiety”

  1. ” FEAR IS NOTHING THAN OUR STATE OF MIND”…
    WE CAN’T LIVE WITH FEAR FOR SOMETHING FOR THE ENTIRE LIFE…
    SO BY FACING THE FEAR, WE CAN INCREASE THE ABILITY TO HANDLE OR MANAGE THE THINGS EASILY…
    WONDERFUL ARTICLE…
    AMAZING IMAGES…

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  2. I JUST WANNA CONTINUE KARYN COMMENT THAT YOU COUPLES ARE BEST EXAMPLE FOR HOW TO TRAVEL HAPPILY AND HOW TO MAKE AS AN ADVENTUROUS…….

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  3. This is a great post! I tend to be scared of some things and write them off before I’ve really considered them (especially trying weird food). I’m fairly adventurous when it comes to adrenaline stuff (love bungy jumping etc.) but I need to try baby steps in the food direction too! 🙂
    -Petra http://www.theglobalcouple.com

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  4. Good advice! I’ve always loved that Travel gives you that moment to ‘re-set’, to imagine a slightly different life and to choose a bolder one. Also was funny to hear that one of the fears was actually using a spa for the first time! Like you said, fear does come in all shapes and sizes =)

    As for mine, as much as I love visiting Australia, I’m always wary when I check into a hotel and am walking around. My local friend asked me to google up clock spider to show me one of the spiders she sometimes finds in her house and I barely slept that night!

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  5. Wonderful advice! Fears affect all of us, and I’ve definitely found that travel is a great way to chip away at them. When I first started traveling solo, it showed me not to be so worried about what other people thought of me. I still worry about that, but less than I used to, and every solo trip helps with that. I used to be so afraid of every little thing going wrong, and while I still feel that way sometimes, I can at least remind myself that usually everything works out just fine. Travel has taught me to relax about things and be more flexible. So maybe I use travel to fight my over-anxious tendencies more than concrete fears, but still very effective!

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  6. I didn’t know there was a national Face Your Fears Day!
    Bookmarking this so I’ll remember – hopefully – next year:)
    Great post guys!
    And I definitely agree that travel makes it easier to face some fears. When I travel I feel more confident.

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    • Thanks Sofie! I can’t wait to see what you do next year! It’s always fun to have an excuse to do something that’s always scared you. I’m going to start planning now!

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  7. Great article, and I agree with you. The best way to get over your fears of doing something is to just do it. I had a fear of heights and especially ziplining. However, what I did is to go ziplining at a local zoo. This zoo is an alligator farm and the ziplining is right over the alligators. If I fell, I would not only hit the ground hard, I would be eaten! But I finally did it, it was a lot of fun, and after the first time, I could not wait to go again. So now hopefully I am ready to zipline through the jungles of Peru. However, walking through the spider webs will take a little more effort.

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    • Wow! Now that’s a scary zipline for your first time. But glad you did it and faced your fears. Now when you go to Peru it won’t be so impossible. You’ll know what to expect! C

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  8. I really love this, and completely agree. It’s all about baby steps. I really love Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk on making stress your friend, and I think it’s exactly the same with fear – it’s a totally natural and positive reaction much of the time. It’s funny, though, that you mention fear of heights – I have long had this ‘fear’ and tried everything to conquer it, even multi-pitch rock climbs. I would still get totally dizzy even standing on a chair. I could still get my logical brain to climb temples and cross bridges but it was so painful, until I realized that an antihistamine cures that ‘fear’ in about 30 minutes. Awesome! I did a polar plunge too – what an amazing experience!

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    • Thanks Anne! I so agree with you. Baby steps in everything makes a big difference. We were chatting with one of our guides this summer and they said that there are levels of facing your fear that can actually cause you to revert back to even being more fearful. If you shock your system too much, you can go right back to the drawing board. Taking it one step at a time is much healthier (we think). Great for you facing your fear with a multipitch climb. I found that to be a good way to face it too. There’s something about being on the rock that makes me feel safer than something like bunjy jumping 🙂 I’m not sure what you mean about the antihistamine, are you saying that you felt congested when you felt fear?

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      • Actually, it was just that my ‘fear’ – which is what I called it when it seemed like the world was spinning when I’d look down from above and I’d feel a sudden sense of panic, wasn’t actually fear. Other people called it ‘vertigo’ which it isn’t really either, since it was just with heights. I’d guess from what I’ve read since that it’s an inner ear issue, not fear at all. Antihistamines work for seasickness and carsickness in a similar way, I think, but after so many years of struggling to overcome it, I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to be able to lean over the edge of a rickety bridge! 🙂

      • Wow! That’s great that you figured it out. Who knows, maybe many people suffering from fear of heights simply need a claritin 🙂

  9. I started get nervous when I just reading some of the things you’ve done! I think I’d rather jump from an airplane than jump in a polar plunge.

    Good for you two for getting over your fears together. It’s nice to have someone to nudge you along. And I completely agree about a professional…they can make everything a little bit better.

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    • Haha, thanks Jessica. I was seriously having a panic attack about the Polar Plunge. It was not high on my bucket list, but I was like “well, I’m in Antarctica, if I don’t do it I’ll regret it” The silly thing was, I did it again in the Arctic! That was purely out of peer pressure 🙂 Everyone else was doing it and I thought, “well, If I don’t do it, I won’t hear the end of it for the rest of the trip” Which was totally not true, nobody would care except me 🙂 Now however, I am not so afraid of cold water. I think I conquered that fear!

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  10. Hi Deb and Dave, this was really great. I never used to think of myself as a fearful person but as I get older my anxiety is getting worse and I keep finding more and more things to be scared of.

    I think I’m going to need to have advice like this to return back to as I go through my travels, so I’ve favourited this post. And it’s really great to hear that the more you face your fears and take babysteps, the easier it seems to get.

    You guys have had tons of great adventures and I’m sure that if you’d let your fear stop you you wouldn’t have done any of it. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    • You are not alone Karyn. We have felt the same way. In our younger years, we didn’t really think of the consequences or even think that anything was too dangerous. It was exciting! Now, we do think things over and have a lot more fear. Dave and I have talked about this. As we get older, we feel the anxiety more. That’s why we feel that it is important to keep pushing ourselves to do things (a bit) if we give into it, we’ll be too afraid to try anything. I think it happens to many people, that’s why so many retirees end up at the golf course day in day out. It’s safe. If you go back to baby steps, I really think that’s a great way to face your fears. I mentioned it in another comment, but I’ll say it again here… We were talking to our kayaking guide this summer and she explained to us that sometimes doing something that scares you can revert you back to even being more fearful. If you get in over your head, you can become paralyzed with fear in the future and have to start all over again. That’s why it’s important to do baby steps. If you get to the top of the world’s highest bunjy jump and have a panic attack while standing on the ledge, that may be too much and you’ll never do it again, and amplify your fear of heights. That happened to me in Africa years ago. I had just finished a crazy zipline over the Zambizi River and conquered my fear of heights. I loved it. I should have left it at that, but instead I went on to the gorge swing. Standing on the ledge, I chickened out and freaked out. I was right back to the drawing board!

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