Mental Toughness Training: Overcome Fear

To overcome anything, there must first be an understanding and acceptance of it. This requires a bit of mental effort to distinguish what it is, why it is. 

Fear in and of itself is not a bad thing. Sometime back in the caveman days maybe, our brains processed a life threatening dangerous situation and sent adrenaline coursing through our bodies so we can either flee or fight. 

Fast forward to modern times, where for the most part, especially those of us living in the comforts of the first world rarely come face to face with life threatening danger. However, that flight or fight response still exists within each of us. 

With the development of our brains (damn you cerebral cortex), we have become thinking beings and, at least for me, over-thinking beings creating meanings for everything that is happening around us. We’ve learned to react to non-life threatening situations like being judged or perceived as “wrong” or “inferior” or failing to reach a certain expectation of a task with this same fear, eliciting that same adrenaline as if there is a huge hungry bear ready to pounce on us, or for me, a scary-ass clown looking at me funny. LOL. 

We now deal with these “mental” fears as if they were physically real and it’s damn overwhelming. We panic. We may withdraw. We lose control over our emotions. We experience anxiety. We may throw a temper tantrum. But there isn’t sufficient use of that adrenaline coursing through our bodies…I mean, how do we flee from or fight imaginary demons that lurk in our minds?! 

We are now officially STRESSED AF. Mentally and physically stressed!  Lots of oxidation going on in our poor cells. And oftentimes, we just don’t know what to do. I’m not going to get into nutritional supplementation here but there are some great anti-oxidant, adaptogenic, and nootropic products that do indeed help. 

Without spending a dime though, we can begin training our brain muscle. The key is to slow down our thoughts and breath, to regain mental clarity about the situation recognizing the destructive automatic-seeming response.  Get  centered in the moment and ask yourself, “WTF is really going on here?  Is there a knife wielding scary-ass clown looking at me funny?” If the answer is no, then tell yourself that you are safe and there is no imminent danger. 

This, of course, is easier said than done especially when emotions are volatile. It takes discipline and consistent effort. You don’t get a 6pack doing a 30 second plank every few days. Just as you would train for a race or a competition, it takes time. So be patient and hunker down. Keep at it. You can make a peaceful response as automatic as your fear responses. #meditationisyourfriend

Being mentally tough means having equanimity in the face of challenge. It does not mean being angry, argumentative, or violent. It means facing the challenge and creating a solution and having the grit to execute it. 


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