How To Face A Fear

There are those so-called “experts” who would have us believe fear isn’t real. They contend fear is just a load of malarkey.

The fact of the matter is, fear is very, very real. So much so, dear reader, it is quite likely you yourself have a thing or two in your life right now causing you some level of fear. For example something may be required of you at work or perhaps in a personal relationship that is causing you to be afraid. This fear you experience is literally stealing the joy and gratification you hope for out of life.

Negative Effects of Fear

A dreadful fear of flying prevents you from the wonderful experiences of traveling to amazing places in the world or going to visit distance family members and friends.

Just the thought of public speaking makes you sick to stomach hence you put an extreme limitation on expressing yourself or sharing your talents and gifts with those who would greatly benefit.

You work hard get excellent results for the company but just can’t bring yourself to the point of asking your boss for that well-deserved long overdue raise. Perhaps you’re struggling as self employed because you are just too afraid to share your business with people.

Fear is something that stops us all dead in our tracks. BUT IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!

The Secret Weapon Against Fear

How powerful would it be to overcome any and ever fear stopping you from pursuing your dreams? Fear is real, a real enemy that will bring disaster after disaster to your life until you arm yourself with an effective weapon to stand against it. You can beat every single fear stopping you from succeeding.

But first let’s cover a few important facts about fear… what it is, what it isn’t and some things you may not know about it.

Fear is a physical state in your body, as is excitement. Fear and excitement are the exact same physical state. In either state your heart races, perspiration may show up, the chest tightens up a little and there’s a pit in your stomach as the result from a surge of cortisol. This is your body going into a hyper aware state as it readies itself for action. The only difference between fear and excitement is what your brain is doing while your body is physically reacting. When you’re excited your brain is going “yahoooo, this is going to be a blast riding this roller coaster”… when you’re afraid your brain is saying something like “there is no way I’m going on a dangerous apparatus like that roller coaster”, your brain is screaming “run away, get out of there, danger, danger”.

What’s important to understand is your mind is either working for you with excitement or against you with fear. When you’re afraid your body goes into a high state of arousal and agitation. You’re pounding heart has you all jacked up and you’re hyper aware of what’s going on, even freaking out a little bit. Now when you’re calm your body is in a low arousal state and very, very difficult to be agitated.

Research has proven that when you try to ignore your fears it actually makes them worse. Also proven is that positive thinking alone can make your fears worsen. So what do you do? Good news, there is strategy you can employ to beat every single fear. Mel Robbins (coach, public speaker, personal motivator) created the five-second rule and in combination with what she calls an anchor thought you can reframe what your mind to go from feeling agitation and making you afraid to high level of excitement and empowerment.

The 5 Second Rule

It works like magic.

Now remember, excitement and fear are the exact same thing in your body. So first things first, if you’ve got to do something that really makes you nervous or afraid to do before you’re about to do it come up with an anchor thought. An anchor thought is something that’s going to anchor you so that you don’t escalate any situation into a full-blown panic attack or into a situation where you screw things up. It’s a way for you to maintain control over what you’re thinking and how you behave.

Here’s an example on a fear of flying: When creating an anchor thought it’s important to pick something that is in the proper context of what you’re afraid to do. For flying, pick an anchor thought that has to do with the trip that you’re going to take. Perhaps you’re going on a vacation so picture in your mind relaxing on a beach or enjoying a fine meal at the resort with people you love. This is an anchor thought that makes you happy, excited and it relates to the flight you are about to take.

Another example: You need to have a difficult conversation with your boss so you pick an anchor thought about how you feel after having that conversation. It could look something like you picking up the phone, calling somebody you love and telling them the conversation with your boss was outstanding. You now feel pretty good about yourself and have your anchor thought so you’re ready to beat the fear and go have that conversation.

This is how you’re going to implement your anchor thought … when your body is going to start getting agitated and you feel nervousness coming with your heart beginning to race… count “5-4-3-2-1” and immediately insert your anchor thought in your mind. This is how you switch the gears in your mind and awaken your prefrontal cortex. This five second rule will trigger your brain that now you’re in control of your thoughts. You have interrupted the fear, settled your thoughts and readied your brain for your anchor thought.

Something remarkable happens in your brain because you’ve interrupted the fear by using the five-second rule to assert control, awakened your prefrontal cortex and inserted an image that can textually make sense to your brain. You actually switch the gears in your mind and reframe the thoughts of fear into thoughts of excitement because you have a vision that makes sense based on what you’re doing. You just tricked your brain! Recall the fact of fear and excitement being the exact same thing. What makes the difference between them is what your brain is saying so when you use the five-second rule and your anchor thought you will always control what you’re thinking about and how you act. If fear stops you this will change your life.

Fear Is Real

You can’t control the feelings that are going to rise up in your body when you’re on a plane or when you’re talking to your boss or when you see somebody that’s attractive and you really want to go over and talk to that person. But you can always control what you think and you can always make a decision about the actions you’re going to take so the next time you feel afraid… “5-4-3-2-1”; go to your anchor thought; tell yourself you’re excited… And that my friend is the power you have of how you beat fear.

Hi I Am Mel Robbins

Your comments, questions and opinions are important. What did you think of this article? Please post your thoughts in the comment section below… I look forward to reading them and getting back to you with a reply if requested. All the best!

Disclaimer: Neither the content of this article nor any of the self hypnosis sessions offered on this website intended to treat or cure any disease, nor should anything be taken as medical advice. None of this website’s content or products mentioned have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You should always consult your physician before starting any new health-related regime.


  • Kevin And Jade

    Wow, Myles. What a timely post!

    I’m part of a mental health group on Facebook and somebody just asked how to arrest fear. I’ll go and share your post with them now.

    It’s a shame that emotional management isn’t part of academic education. I think we could all use these kinds of tools, not just to live our daily lives (which is already a monumental task when you’re hampered by an inability to manage strong emotions) but also to succeed in achieving any ambitious goals we might have set for ourselves. 

    Thank you for sharing!

    • Myles

      That’s terrific, very good to hear you can help others with this article. Your comment and insight is greatly appreciated!

  • SeunJeremiah

    Thanks foe this educative post the natural tendency of many people is to deny that they have a problem caused by fear of some kind. They’re afraid of confronting it. In turn, it becomes a major source of stress, unhappiness, and psychosomatic illness, unlike myself I do have a lot of fears and I guess you made me understand I have got to face them regardless. Much appreciated. 

    • Myles

      Your comment is appreciated as is your transparency. All the best! 

  • Henderson

    Wow Myles, this is just fabulous. It’s awesome to know that I can actually deal with my fears infive seconds and everything is gone. Well, everyone somehow has fears and I do too(not something I like to talk about) but I think I’ll give this five seconds technique a go and see how the anchor thought can help me drive my dears away. Great post and it’s worth sharing.

    • Myles

      Great to get your input. The 5 second rule is a tool and just as when you use any tool at first it takes some getting used to, but the more the use it the better you get with it and the better the results you achieve. All the best.

  • RoDarrick

    Hello Myles,  this is such an excellent discussion on a very sensitive topic as how to face a fear. Fear is really an illusion, a trick of the mind and overcoming it seems like an impossible task. But reading through this post, I learnt well on how trick our mind with the anchor thought theory. I really like this based on the fact that we need to see beyond the current situation and balance the aftermath before fear comes into play. Wow! I will surely inculcate this into my daily living and see how best it goes out for me. Thanks 

    • Myles

      Thanks for the comment and all the best in implementing the ‘anchor thought’.

  • Daniella

    Hi Myles,

    Awesome post! It looks like it has been written for me:)

    When I speak to a stranger or when I have a work presentation, my heart starts to beat faster. My face gets red, and if there were a hole, I would hide my self in it:).
    Thank you for the great tip about counting from 5 to 1. I’ve read somewhere that breathing and expiring six times helps reduce fear and anxiety. Is that a good thing to do too?
    I am curious if it works.

    Thank you for this excellent post!

    • Myles

      hi Daniella, adding the breathing technique you mentioned in your comment would be good in my opinion. How well it works varies from person to person, however using breathing techniques is recommended. All the best!

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