How does fear hold me back, and what can I do about it?

Fear is a natural and instinctual response to a perceived threat or danger. It is an emotional and physiological reaction that prepares you to either confront the threat or flee from it, commonly known as the fight-or-flight response. Fear serves as a protective mechanism, helping you to survive and avoid potential harm.


Various factors trigger fear, including real or perceived threats to your physical safety, emotional well-being, or social standing. These triggers can be specific objects, situations, events, or even abstract concepts.

The experience of fear involves both cognitive and physiological responses. Cognitively, fear involves a sense of perceived danger, accompanied by thoughts of potential harm or negative outcomes. Physiologically, fear activates the autonomic nervous system, leading to increased heart rate, rapid breathing, heightened senses, sweating, and muscle tension. These physical responses prepare your body for immediate action.

While fear is a normal and necessary emotion, excessive or irrational fear is problematic and interferes with daily life. Anxiety disorders, such as generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or specific phobias, involve persistent and excessive fear or anxiety that is disproportionate to the actual threat or situation.

What are some ways to overcome fear?

Fear can hold you back in various aspects of life, preventing you from reaching your full potential and pursuing your goals. Below are five ways fear can limit your life and ways to overcome these.

Fear of failure

The fear of failure can paralyse you, preventing you from taking risks and pursuing new opportunities. To overcome this fear, it's important to reframe failure as a learning experience rather than a reflection of your worth. Embrace a growth mindset and focus on the lessons and growth that can come from setbacks. Set small, achievable goals to build confidence and gradually step out of your comfort zone.

Fear of rejection

The fear of rejection can hinder your social interactions, relationships, and professional pursuits. It's crucial to recognise that rejection is a normal part of life, and it doesn't define your worth as a person. Challenge negative self-talk and develop self-compassion. Surround yourself with supportive and encouraging individuals who can help you overcome the fear of rejection and provide constructive feedback.

Fear of change

Change can be intimidating and uncertain, leading to a fear of the unknown. However, growth and progress often require embracing change. Start by reframing change as an opportunity for growth and personal development. Sometimes, breaking down larger changes into smaller, manageable steps makes the process less overwhelming. Another trick is to manage your own expectations, try not to make things concrete in your mind, and know that there is always the potential for things to change. Seek support from friends, family, or therapists who can guide you through the process and offer reassurance.

Fear of taking risks

For personal and professional growth taking risks is necessary, but fear can keep you stuck in your comfort zone. Start by identifying the risks you want to take and their potential benefits. Develop a plan and gather information to minimise potential negative outcomes. Gradually expose yourself to calculated risks, starting with smaller steps, and gradually build up your confidence. Celebrate your successes along the way to boost your self-assurance.

Fear of judgement

The fear of being judged by others can limit your self-expression and authenticity. Recognise that everyone has insecurities, and most people focus on their own lives rather than judging you. Surround yourself with a supportive network of people who accept and appreciate you for who you are. Practice self-acceptance and self-love, focusing on your strengths and values. Engage in activities that boost your self-confidence and help you express yourself authentically.

Overcoming fear takes time and practice. Be kind to yourself as you work through your fears. If possible, consider seeking support from a hypnotherapist or counsellor who will provide guidance and strategies tailored to your specific fears and circumstances.

Understanding and addressing your fears can empower you to live a more fulfilling life, pursue personal growth, and face challenges with resilience. It's essential to approach fear with self-compassion, seek support from others when needed, and remember that it is a normal part of the human experience.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
Farnham GU9 & GU10
Written by Juliet Hollingsworth, MSc
Farnham GU9 & GU10

Juliet is a trauma-informed therapist. Her passion is helping people reach their potential through a combination of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and transpersonal psychology. Juliet works online and face to face with clients across the world. (DHP Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy. MSc Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal psychology.)

Show comments

Find a hypnotherapist dealing with Phobias

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals