Feature Image by Bethany Cirlincione

Clowns, heights, being alone, dying – everyone is afraid of something. But while fear can be debilitating, it doesn’t have to overwhelm you or ruin your life. In fact, you can use your fears to help you live the best life possible.

“Fear is a good motivator for so many reasons,” says Monica Berg, author of Fear is Not an Option. “[Yes], fear can consume us and keep us from living our life fully, but the choice is ours. Fear can [also] motivate us to live our best life, appreciate our time in this world, and connect authentically with those we love.”

Ready to transform your fear into motivational fuel? Here’s how:

Recognize your fear and turn it into excitement
“Our bodies and brains have not evolved to know the difference between the fears we have now (i.e. saying something dumb in a meeting) versus our primal fears (i.e. being eaten by a saber tooth tiger),” says Mandie Brice, host of the Bold Moves podcast. In other words, your body has a similar physical response to fear as it does to excitement. For instance, your heart may race, your breath may quicken, and you may start to sweat a little. With a little practice, Brice says you can actually harness that fear and reframe it as excitement; trick your brain a little.

Practice intentional speaking to shift your current reality
Turning your fear into excitement isn’t easy, especially if it’s something you’ve dealt with for a long time. The good thing is, it’s very doable. Reciting positive affirmations to yourself can be helpful. Life coach and wellness expert Lauren Zoeller says, “Instead of telling yourself ‘I’m afraid; I can’t do it,’ change your statement to ‘this is a challenge I will overcome.’ When you speak positively, your brain will react in a positive manner. You are in charge of the reality you create for yourself.”

Turn your inaction into action
When something scares you, like starting your own business or leaving a comfortable yet lackluster relationship, the tendency is to freeze. It’s easier to stay right where you are than risk failure. But as Berg says, failure isn’t necessarily bad. “I know that goes against every instinct we have to succeed, but in essence, failing is just a part of the process of success,” she says. “When we are living a life of purpose and going beyond what is comfortable, failure is inevitable. If we learn from them and use them to launch forward more effectively, then how can we see them as bad? It’s often our failures that lead to our biggest successes.”

So when you’re starting to feel stuck and you know fear is holding you back, do something. Take action even in a small way. For instance, if you’re interested in starting your own business, do a quick Google search and read articles about how others did it. Inaction will only lead you to stew over your fears and all the “what if” scenarios. According to Berg, taking some seemingly tiny steps toward the life you want can lead to massive changes in your mind, body, and in your life.

xx, The FabFitFun Team