This week’s article is last in a 4 part series entitled Self-Care In a Time of Fear. In part 1 we explored our attitudes towards people who are different than us and the fears that lie just underneath the surface. In part 2 we explored the subtle shades of fear by learning some of its different names and increasing our awareness of how it shows-up in our lives. In part 3 we learned 3 different strategies to help us minimize the impact of fear in our relationships. In this week’s article we will explore 5 different strategies to help us build courage.
I’d like to start by defining what courage is to make sure that we all start off on the same page.
Dictionary.com defines courage as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” While this definition is a great start, I don’t believe it fully captures what courage is.
I define courage as the following:
- Making a choice to face something that is difficult, dangerous, or painful, despite the fear we may feel.
Another way to look at this is instead of allowing fear to be a barrier standing in front of us, we move it beside us. We recognize that fear is just a normal part of the growth process.
When we view courage in this way, it empowers us to recognize that an attitude of courage is a muscle we can build and a skill that can be developed. We simply need a process for practicing courage. With this in mind, let’s look at 5 strategies to help you build courage.An attitude of courage is a muscle we can build and a skill that can be developed. Click To Tweet
5 Strategies to Build Courage
As in last week’s article, these 5 strategies are designed to work together.
Strategy #1 – Adopt an Attitude of Curiosity
Our fear is often triggered because we don’t know or understand something or someone. By adopting an attitude of curiosity you become open to learning about that person or challenge. When we are learning, we don’t have time for fear.
Strategy #2 – Start with One
Whenever we want to build a new habit, it’s always best to start with one. What I mean by this is to pick just one fear to work through at a time. When we try to “fix” everything at the same time, this can trigger feelings of fear and anxiety which might cause us to shut-down. So pick just one fear to start building your courage with. When you experience one small success it empowers you keep going, which ultimately helps you build confidence and courage.
Strategy #3 – Remember to Breathe
As soon as you verbalize a fear, this act alone can trigger a fear response. Practicing deep belly breathing can help to counteract your initial anxiety response, help you feel more grounded, and able to think clearly.
Strategy #4 – Break it Down
Our fears and anxiety can often be triggered when something feels bigger than us. By breaking it down into smaller steps, it helps the problem feel more manageable. Think about how you can break the problem down into small manageable steps that will lead you to a solution.
Strategy #5 – Take Action
Now that you know what you’re going to do it’s time to just do it. Don’t spend too much time thinking about what you’re going to do. Overthinking can cause you to become stuck. Take action on the steps that you identified in strategy #4. Do one thing first, and then the next thing.
As you go into this next week, I encourage you to pick one small fear to practice building courage, using the strategies above. Just because fear is a part of your life, it doesn’t mean that it has to overwhelm your life. You can learn how to not only live with but thrive through your fear.
Do you have another strategy that you’ve used to help you build courage? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Thanks so much for stopping by today.