02 Feb Overcoming fears to find a new happiness confidence
As most of you would well be aware I spend most of my time talking about and writing about happiness. Basing my work on the relatively new and exciting science of positive psychology my focus tends to be much more on what’s working rather than on what’s not working; on strengths rather than on weaknesses; on what’s good rather than on what’s bad; and on creating more positive emotions rather than working through negative emotions.
But note that I wrote, just a few lines ago, that my focus tends to be “more” on NOT exclusively on what’s working and what’s positive because as a positive psychologist I don’t believe we should totally ignore negative emotions and problems. In fact we need to work on these issues and on this “excess baggage” as clinical and counselling psychologists have done for decades JUST not at the cost of, or as long as we take into account the positives and the good that for too long was ignored.
What I’m saying is that as well as building on strengths and striving towards positive goals we also need to face up to and overcome demons and fears. We need to acknowledge the problems in our lives, and face them head on working towards overcoming them so they don’t continually hold us back from being the best we can be; from finding real and meaningful happiness and success.
And the reality is we all have these fears; we all have anxieties and demons and troubles from our past that in some ways, to a greater or lesser extent, can be holding us back and impeding our efforts or desire to reach our potential. We can’t change the past or undo what’s happened before BUT we can make changes today (and tomorrow) that will make for a better and brighter future.
And the best way to overcome fears and phobias, anxieties and apprehensions is, quite simply, to face up to them; but to face up to them in a positive and constructive way with a view to finding the most effective solution available.
Facing up to fears and demons is not, obviously, always easy. But it is possible and there are at least two ways we can go about. In some ways, the most powerful and quickest route to being anxiety free is what psychologists call “flooding”. This involves, quite literally, throwing yourself in the deep end and surrounding yourself with as much of the feared stimulus or as fully into the feared situation as possible. What we know is that if you stay there long enough (which will clearly be difficult and distressing) the anxiety and distress will eventually diminish and the next time you face this feared situation it will be much easier.
An alternative is to gradually face up to your fears, slowly and steadily, starting with some easier and less scary situations and then building up to the bigger demons over days or weeks. This is clearly a slightly easier approach but also one that takes considerably more time (which is not necessarily a bad thing).
Ultimately, however, the best approach will depend on you and what you prefer as well as the type of situation you fear. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter because the end result should be the same…less fear, more confidence and a significantly greater opportunity to live your best life with less anxiety and more happiness and positive emotion.
So give some thought to and start planning out how you can face up to the fears and anxieties in your life. What are the demons holding you back and what will happen if you keep avoiding them or pretending they don’t exist?
If you can start taking steps towards facing these fears then you’ll also be taking steps towards a happier better life but please also note, in closing, that this can be extremely difficult for many people so if you need help, please reach out and let us know because we have a range of programs and a team of experts who’re highly trained in working with people to achieve the very real goal of less anxiety and more happiness!
So get to it and/or get in touch and as you progress, which you will, keep us posted and share your gains as we could all benefit from hearing some inspirational stories of positive change.
PS: For more help consider the following options:
Dr. Happy (aka Prof. Tim Sharp) is running a one-day workshop (with limited places) in Sydney on February 18 in which much of the above will be covered so check out the details and register HERE
Dr. Timothy Sharp & Associates is a clinical psychology practice that offers individual therapy helping people overcome, among other things, anxiety and fear, depression and stress. You can find out more HERE and get in touch with one of our psychologists to ask questions or make an appointment
Overcoming Depression Treatment is an online self-help program developed by Dr. Sharp which includes much of what you'll need to achieve what's described above. You can find out more HERE