Fear of the unknown is rooted in our brain’s natural tendency to be cautious and avoid anything that poses an unknown risk. If you’re feeling apprehensive about new experiences, think back on what your life was like before you felt this way. You likely had a lot more fun than now and maybe even did some things that seemed scary at first but turned out to be rewarding. There are ways to overcome this fear and get back to having fun again. Try these 12 steps:
1. Don’t be afraid to feel scared
Fear of the unknown is normal, and you’re not alone in feeling this way. Acknowledge your fear and accept it for what it is. This will help you move on to the next step. For example, if you’re afraid of heights, accept that you feel scared and then focus on the positives of hiking, such as the views.
2. Identify the root of your fear
It’s easier to find a solution when you know why you’re afraid. What is it about the new experience that scares you? Is it the unfamiliarity, the risk involved, or something else?
3. Break down the experience into smaller parts
If the whole experience seems too daunting, break it down into smaller steps that seem more manageable. You can gradually work your way up to doing the entire thing.
4. Compare the risks involved to those in your everyday life
The risks involved in the new experience are likely no greater than those you take every day. You may be overlooking some of the dangers in your everyday life. Challenge yourself to face your fears and take some calculated risks.
5. Practice self-compassion
When you make a mistake or feel afraid, be kind to yourself. Accept that it’s natural to feel this way sometimes, and don’t beat yourself up over it. For example, you’re more likely to feel afraid of getting lost in a new city if you’ve never traveled before. However, everyone gets lost at some point, and even locals sometimes steer the wrong way on the street or take the wrong exit. Allow yourself to make mistakes without feeling ashamed.
6. Don’t let your fear prevent you from doing things you love
Doing the most important things to you is worth facing any fears that stand in the way. If this includes making friends, choosing an apartment, or having fun with people instead of staying home alone every weekend, then do it! You’ll only regret not trying it later on down the road.
7. Take action despite your fear
The only way to overcome fear is to face it head-on. Move forward despite your apprehensions and see what happens. Imagine what you might do if you had a fear of heights. If you’re afraid of skydiving, start by looking at pictures or watching videos about it, then move on to reading books and articles about other people’s experiences. Once your curiosity is satisfied, go for a trial lesson with an instructor.
8. Don’t overthink things too much
A certain amount of analysis helps in decision-making but can also paralyze action. Take baby steps to act on your new lifestyle choices until the habit becomes more ingrained and natural. For example, if you’re thinking about taking up scuba diving lessons, go to one session first before committing fully (and think carefully about whether this lifestyle choice is right for you).
9. Seek out support from others
Surrounding yourself with the right people can help you develop courage and overcome fear. Talk about your new experience with supportive and encouraging people, and ask for their advice on how to best face your fears. Rent a yacht from a boat rental company and invite your friends to a party to celebrate a milestone. This is an excellent way to overcome fear, as it’s an activity you enjoy and have done many times, combined with the reward of spending time with those who mean a lot to you.
10. Visualize a positive outcome for your new experience
What would be the ideal result of the new experience? What do you think will happen if you go through with it? Imagine yourself enjoying this future moment as much as possible, and see what that does for your self-confidence.
11. Remind yourself of past successes
Think about all the things you’ve done before where you felt scared at first but somehow managed to find success despite this fear. These memories when facing a new experience.
12. Seek professional help if necessary
If your fear is so intense that it’s causing you a lot of stress or preventing you from enjoying life, talk to a professional about treatment options. Don’t let your fears hold you back from living the lifestyle you deserve.
Fear of the unknown is a natural response that can be overcome by taking small steps and being compassionate with yourself. Surrounding yourself with supportive people and visualizing a positive outcome are two helpful techniques in doing so. Don’t forget to also remind yourself of your past successes. If fear is still too great, seek professional help. Living life to the fullest is worth facing any fears that may get in your way.