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Overcome Athletic fear by changing your Mindset with 11 tips

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

"Danger is real, fear is an illusion"

In life we are raised and conditioned individually different because everyones' experience will be unique no matter how similar it may seem. We have 2 fears when we are born... the fear of falling, and loud noises. Everything else after that is learned or conditioned into us by parents, teachers, close family/friends, t.v and social media. These influences affect our subconscious mind more than we realize, and slowly we develop fears or insecurities that we never had before. Including fear of heights, confined spaces, failure, status, beauty, confidence... because our mind believes it is deemed helpful to our safety and or life choices. However, much of these fears and insecurities are projected onto kids, teens, and young adults, whom other wise would not have these fears.

Fear may help you stay safe, but it also limits your potential for experiences and growth. Fear as stated from before is an illusion... It is only there to keep us "safe" but if we understand how to train our mindsets to overcome fear, we will perform to our highest potential. Fear can paralyze us if we allow it to control us. It is just as powerful as confidence, yet in the opposite effect. But, when we have complete confidence in our selves, we can accomplish amazing feats with perfect precision that most people other wise would say is "impossible" or "crazy". Again, when people are generally conditioned to have more fear than confidence, it is no surprise that majority of people will not reach their potentials because they believe a successful life is achieved without taking risks...

But, nothing could be further from the truth... If we don't take calculated risks, we will not be able to grow. Risk creates growth and necessary lessons in life so we can improve and be better for tomorrow. Of course not every attempt we are going to succeed, but we will be able to learn and make adjustments that will create better results in the future efforts.

The key word is "calculated", we definitely need to be thoughtful of how far we want to put ourselves into danger for a "thrill" or "experience". But, that is subjective to each individual. Some have better talents or experience to perform dangerous activities with poise and confidence, which is A MUST if attempting dangerous acts or skilled tasks.

Majority of the people who've I've seen do amazing feats, worked their way up the ladder of progressions, failures, setbacks, and years of passion. So, jumping into certain things definitely should have a risk-reward aspect calculated to see if this is worth trying or the right level for me. Personally I love snowboarding and believe I'm a great athlete, and decent boarder, but that doesn't mean I will try to do backflips and crazy tricks that I'd love to be able to do, and might get lucky landing some, but realistically I'm going to hurt myself. So, the athletes that can do those feats have boarded since they were kids and went thru the progressions that gave them muscle memory, body awareness and CONFIDENCE. Not saying there can't be the odd 1 out that skips levels, but it takes a lot of failure and reps that many don't see in order to be that good.

Now this is just an example to explain the “risk-reward” scale that comes into effect when making decisions regarding if something is safe or too dangerous to attempt. We all have our own scale for different things in life, but the key thing should be maximizing the opportunities that are within our "safe" limit. Plus, the more you push that boundary of your limits, the higher the bar raises for how far you can push it within a “safer” boundary. This is why something right now might be too scary or dangerous, but as you progress through experiences and progressions, you develop the skills and confidence needed to function at a higher “risk” level with more likeliness to succeed.

A prime example in my athletic life of fear, is dealing with “the fear of being hit by a baseball”. When we are young we go through growing pains of being hit by the ball when hitting because pitchers are less accurate and it's inevitable that you will get hit. Now this either toughens us and we move on, or we constantly worry about the ball hitting us in the back of our mind, and this will cause less opportunity for hitting the ball with our best efforts because “fear” is in the mind. No major league baseball player can be afraid of the ball, instead you have to be confident you can attack it. Even though all hitters know the pain that comes with being hit by the ball. But, again this goes back to the “risk-reward” scale, and if you want to get the glory executing and hitting the ball, you must have the confidence to deal with the risk of being hit. No one has died yet in baseball, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen… The game is very dangerous, however skill, experience and practice keeps athletes safer in those dangerous conditions.

In my experiences I have been hit in the head multiple times with 90+ mph and it definitely took a few At-Bats to get the confidence back and not think about the ball. It’s just human nature to protect ourselves, especially our head. Plus, I have seen other players severely hurt by the ball and luckily walk away from it. So, the risk is always there, but that’s what makes sports fun. Without that opportunity for pain and failure, there is no pleasure and success.

Each sport can teach us valuable life lessons in so many aspects, that will help us to succeed in challenging or fearful situations that help us grow and over come our comfort zone. Which is needed for real growth. However, if we stay paralyzed by fear or “the ball” in life, we will never get the results we truly could achieve and this hinders our potential for success and satisfaction. We need to overcome life’s fears by slowly expanding our boundaries in different avenues. Weather goals, dreams, careers, relationships, they all will have limiting factors that will contribute to fear of failure and keep us in our comfort zone. No great person stayed in their comfort zone to become who they are, so what makes you any different?

We overcome fear by putting ourselves into those challenging situations and pushing through the adversity of failure or pain. With those setbacks we can make adjustments and continuously become more confident in our abilities. With this process we grow and eventually reach the levels we always dreamed of or knew we could achieve. It takes time, effort, discipline, resilience and more to reach our highest potential and best life. But, if we are persistent and trusting in the process while focusing on maximizing the present moment, then we can achieve anything we desire. Manifestations happen by thinking, believing, then doing. With strong convictions “danger” becomes inevitable and we lose the fear because we have more trust in ourselves, but a better mindset to be in the moment and execute what’s needed to stay safe and enjoy the experience we are striving for is crucial for success.

11 Tips how to overcome F.E.A.R

1) Take a break

It's very hard to think straight or perform when anxiety is flooding the brain. Take 15 minutes to walk around or clear your mind by relaxing for a bit, until you've settled down and can attempt you fear.

2) Learn to breath

If you start to get a faster heartbeat or sweating palms, the best thing is not to fight it.

Stay where you are and simply feel the panic without trying to distract yourself. Place the palm of your hand on your stomach and breathe slowly and deeply.

The goal is to help the mind get used to coping with panic, which takes the fear of fear away. Check out our blog all about helpful breathing techniques!

3) Imagine the worst

Try imagining the worst thing that can happen, perhaps it's panicking and having a heart attack. Then try to think yourself into having a heart attack. It's just not possible. The fear will run away the more you chase it. Find ways to show yourself it's not as bad as you think it is.

4) Look at the facts

It sometimes helps to challenge fearful thoughts. For example, if you're scared of going near the edge of and slipping and falling, ask yourself if you have ever heard of this happening to someone. Ask yourself what you would say to a friend who had a similar fear. Use the reality of things to help calm you down.

5) Don't try to be perfect

Life is full of stresses, yet many of us feel that our lives have to be perfect. Negative days and setbacks will always happen, and it's important to remember that life is messy. Strive to be your best, and know sometimes we fall short. Learn, adapt, move forward.

6) Visualize a happy place

Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a place of safety and peace. It could be a picture of you walking on a beautiful beach, or snuggled up in bed with your pet next to you, or a happy memory from your childhood. Let the positive feelings soothe you until you feel more relaxed.

7) Talk about it

Sharing fears takes away a lot of their scariness. Find those people who you trust and know will support you to help you overcome this fear. Keeping it hidden will only let it grow in more fear. Bring it to the surface and tackle it.

8) Go back to the basics

Lots of people turn to alcohol or drugs to self-treat anxiety, but this will only make matters worse. Simple, everyday things like a good night's sleep, a wholesome meal and a walk are often the best cures for anxiety.

9) Reward yourself

Give yourself a treat. Once you got through that fear reward yourself with something you really enjoy, so your mind makes a connection between risk and reward. Eventually, you can use this to help motivate you to get grow and expand your experiences.

10) Reflect on past achievements

Remember any past experiences that were scary before you really tried it? Use those growths and achievements to remember that it's probably not as bad as it seems, and once you really try, you will realize this too!

11) Face your fear

Avoiding fears only makes them scarier. Whatever your fear, if you face it, it should start to fade. If you panic one day about getting into a elevator, for example, it's best to get back into a elevator the next day to show your mind it's safe. The more positive experiences, the less fear can creep into the picture.

No matter what comes our way Fear is always going to be there because it's a part of life. It helps keep us alive at times, and is only meant for our safety. But, it just means we need to know how to harness this energy and use it to our advantage. That untapped adrenaline can be used to achieve amazing feats that otherwise would go wasted if the fear overtakes the confidence. Majority of people who are professionals or masters of something, still get nervous before games, shows, performances, etc, because it's human nature to want the best outcome. But, once we learn to stay in the moment, have fun and resort back to our training, the butterflies go away, and the energy is harnessed into confidence. So find what makes you face your fears and level up to the best life you can achieve. Use these 11 tips to maximize your athletics, business, schooling or whatever comes your way. Just be willing to try, and open up to new adventures that could change your life forever for the better.

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