Overcoming Fear and Anxiety Learning to take control

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Perpetual Worrier

I grew up as a perpetual worrier, and it’s no surprise either. I was raised by a single parent (also a perpetual worrier) who struggled on a weekly basis to pay the bills and put food on the table. It was a scarcity fuelled household, and the foundation of my mindset was built on that.

I took the anxiety with me through my childhood all the way to university. Questions cropped up in my head such as:

•How will I pay off my debt?
•What am I going to do after university?
•What if I don’t get the grades and I can’t get a job?
•What if I don’t live up to the expectations of my friends and family?
•What if I don’t like the course?

3 years later I graduated from university and all those worries turned out to be superficial.

But then a new plan cropped up. I decided to go travelling. And of course, I packed my backpack with some new anxious questions:

•What if I run out of money?
•What if I don’t meet anyone or when i do i don’t live up to their expectations?
•What if I get hurt or become ill?
•What if I can’t find a job?
•What if I don’t like it?

Same fears. New context.

Clear pattern. Vicious circle.

I’d combat my old fears, find a different context, and compose new fears to become anxious about.

Is it just me, or do you do the same?


My Perspective on Anxiety – Let it Guide You

I’m still human, I still live with fears from time to time, and so do you. The difference now is that I understand myself more and have better control over my fear.

Accept that fear exists and there’s no running away from it.

In 25 years on this planet, about 80% of my fears didn’t materialise, and most of the ones that did weren’t experienced at the intensity I’d imagined them at.

The aim isn’t to get rid of anxiety, but rather, learning to control it and use it to guide you towards your passions and vision in life.

I can only be thankful for anxiety. It’s always shown me what I really want, and has pushed me forwards towards my goals in life.

Without anxiety, I wouldn’t have sacrificed and worked so hard to go to university. I wouldn’t have graduated university as the top student in my business school. I wouldn’t have made a rash decision to travel the world for 3 years. And considering all of that, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog.

So when you’re experiencing anxiety, here’s a few things to remind yourself:

•Realise that you are not alone with your anxious thoughts, everybody has fears and it’s all part of being human.
•Remind yourself that despite the fears, you’ve made it here, and it always turns out ok in the end.
•Remember that your thoughts are not real and that you have the option to control your reality and how you react to your fears.
•Become aware of your fears as soon as they arise. Confront and feel the fear, acknowledge it. If the fear is something you really want to do and isn’t going to hurt you or others, go towards it, use the fear and let it guide you to new territories.
•And finally, a very powerful and useful question to ask yourself to put the fear into perspective: Will this matter in one year’s time? And if it still matters in 1 year, try 5, then 10, then 20.


Conclusion

It was a great decision to hit the road three years ago. It put me out there, forced me to become vulnerable, and massively increased my exposure to fear.

In turn, this enabled me to learn a lot faster, since more often than not, I had no choice but to ride with fear.

Most of the great moments in life are found on the other side of fear. Never let fear outweigh the potentiality of experience. Work with it, not against it. It’s there to guide you towards your calling and show you what truly matters in life.

Thanks for reading and all the best,

Daniel Beaumont, Wednesday 6th January 2015


About the Author

Hello everyone, I’m Dan – a 28-year-old social entrepreneur and writer from the north of England, living in Bucharest, Romania. I’m currently writing my first book about my 4-year journey around the world seeking wisdom and life-lessons from everyday people I met hitchhiking and Couchsurfing.

I discovered that travel, if approached with the right mindset, can be life-changing, and a trip combining travel, purpose and introspection is a great way to learn, challenge oneself and change for the better. Now my mission in life is to share what I’ve learned to inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and use travel, entrepreneurship and technology as a means to make the world a better place.

I’m also the founder of Podstel – a vision to help humanity belong and grow by creating a worldwide network of ‘homes’ that bring locals and travellers together to share their stories, passions and skills. The first two Podstels are open and thriving in Bucharest, so if you’re passing through, be sure to come and say hi, or stay the night with us.

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5 Comments

  1. Thank you for the kind words Crystal, and glad you like reading. I’ve just looked on your site now and following too. Love what you are doing. Let’s connect 🙂

  2. Dan, I find your comments to be insightful and useful. I especially relate to your statement that most of the things we fear either don’t occur or turn out not to be as horrid as we imagined they would be. I do wonder whether some of your views and perspectives come from being a “twenty-something” and whether you’ll have slightly different views as you get older. I’m not suggesting that you will or that you should; I’m just wondering (out loud) whether there are age-related variables that impact people’s risk-taking capacities and inclinations.

    • Hi Ron, thank you for your comments and kind words. I agree that with you that over time one could become more fearful towards pursuing events because of increasing responsbilities in life e.g. kids, declining health, etc, however there is the other side of the argument too, that with more years and more experience you might learn to better understand your risk and therefore be able to mitigate them much better than a 20 something year old.

      Thanks for the prompt of thought actually… maybe it’s a very individual thing and we can’t generalise fear at all. I say this because i know some very risk taking older people, and on the other side of the coin, some very fearful 20 year olds. Finally… it’s also good to consider the fear and in what context … for example, i might not be fearful of adventure, and hitchhiking, but speaking in front of a large audience is something that i am incredibly scared of, and maybe an older person with more experience is not…. What are your thoughts about this?

      All the best, Dan

  3. Thought provoking read Daniel, enjoying the blogs thoroughly. Keep it up!

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