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Rob Dawson for MindSport

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How to reprogram a fear

Reprogramming a fear.

reprogram fear

Fear of failure, fear of letting ourselves and others down, worries about not being good enough and being afraid of this being shown when the time comes to act. These are just a few very common thoughts that run through most people’s heads be they parents, athletes, business people, family members or friends.

We often find ourselves running away from, hiding from, or trying to distract ourselves from or suppress our fears or anxieties. Whereas we would encourage the opposite. We want to be able to identify our fears, accept them, respect them and learn how to use them as allies rather than treat them as the enemy because we know that fears will never go away completely but maybe.

More importantly, we may not want them to and we know why, we know that they hold great power, a great force, a drive and a passion that burns. Our aim is to find that appreciation, control and harness the power that your fears hold to help unlock your true potential.


We can break this fear into ten key stages, the best thing about this is that you control it, nobody is telling you what to think, feel, or how to behave, instead we are simply looking to find a way of seeing fears in a different, more useful light. Stick to the path and build your journey to gain immense control over your fears or apprehensions


To start with we must identify the fear/apprehension/anxiety, this brings its own unique set of problems as a lot of us are so used to avoiding thinking about these things, having to confront them in our heads is often a difficult and daunting prospect


Next, we need to think a little deeper about the fear/apprehension/anxiety; be specific – if you have more than one and they are very specific then do them individually. We want to explore a bit more about why it affects you, why it is important to you, what started it and why it holds such power


The next stage is sometimes the toughest, projecting your fear, verbally, asserting it and making it real by telling one of your support network. When you are able to communicate your fear to another human being it stops just being a thought in your head and becomes something real, something shared, this is an important step. You need to pick a person you trust and just tell them your fears, most people try and comfort us, tell us not to worry, tell us it will be ok, but we are not looking for reassurance or advice, we simply want to say it out loud and make it real

Physical, Emotional & Behavioural

Next we explore how fear actually affects us.


The next 3 stages allow fear and its opportunity to affect us physically, emotionally and behaviourally. It explains how you feel physically when you experience this fear/apprehension/anxiety, allowing yourself to embrace these physical feelings, elevated heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, sweating, shaking, we explore the emotional impacts of fear or anxiety; sadness, anger, helplessness, embarrassment, pain or fear, and finally we investing time considering the behavioural impacts of fear, we don’t try to control them, simply allow them to happen, give the physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms their time to do their work.

We are aiming to allow fears to have a physical, emotional and behavioural impact rather than trying to avoid, distract or change them, we are not looking to fight the fear, we are looking to gain control, and remember by allowing these symptoms to have an impact, you are in control of the process


Next we consider the rational impact of fear. Having already allowed the physical, emotional and behavioural effects of fear their time in a controlled manner we consider the rational likelihood of them actually affecting the outcome of what we are attempting or a performance in a task, goal or event that is generating this fear

Respect and Gratitude

Stages 8 and 9 of the process see us start to respect fear by appreciating all the attributes it has driven us to develop, all the physical, emotional and behavioural areas we have developed and how we can use these areas in future to develop further and perform or achieve our goal or task


Finally, as we have controlled this process from the start, identifying and sharing the fear, allowing it the time to affect us, respecting and thanking it, we end by rescheduling it for another time, in order for us to now use the energy it has produced, harness the powers fear always intended to provide and go ahead and achieve our objectives

The aim is to study and condition each of these stages and piece them together to help solidify your control over your fears or apprehensions making ready for your time to act.

I help MMA athletes achieve their full potential. Feel free to reach out to me on Instagram 👇🏼

Or you can find a whole range of exercises over at MindSport

Top comments (1)

taliashaw_962 profile image
Talia Shaw

Really useful!

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