4 Foolproof Techniques for Calming Fear

I often ask under earners, “When’s the last time you did something you were scared to do?” They’d scratch their heads, seemingly stumped.

When I ask high earners, they laugh and say, “All the time. It’s a way of life.”

Ages ago, after one of those conversations, I pulled out a piece of paper and wrote, in red crayon: Do What You Fear. That’s How You SucceedIt still sits, framed, on my desk today.

Though Joseph Campbell put it far more eloquently: The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

Admittedly, entering the Cave of Fear is…well…terrifying…for everyone. I have yet to meet a successful woman who hasn’t struggled with fear and self-doubt.

But—here’s the key—they didn’t let the fear stop them. Once I decided it wouldn’t stop me either, my income skyrocketed. But it wasn’t easy. It never is.

Let me suggest 4 techniques I use to significantly calm my fears.

1. Breathe

“Keep taking deep breaths,” I instruct clients as they’re dipping their toes into unfamiliar waters. Deep breathing (and yawning) reduces stress, sends oxygen to the brain, activates the calming parasympathetic nervous system and increases dopamine (a neurotransmitter that effects pleasure and motivation). As your anxiety wanes, you’ll find your courage increases.

2. Positive Self Talk.

Words are powerful. They shape your reality. When in the throes of fear, speak to yourself as if you’re a loving parent or an encouraging friend, saying things like, ‘You can do this. You’ll be great.’ And after you take action, congratulate yourself, regardless of the results: ‘You did it. You were very brave. I’m so proud of you.’

3. Clarity of Purpose

A purpose can be very ambitious (create world peace) or seemingly trivial (spread joy). What matters is that you have a clear vision that nourishes your Soul and enriches your life. A strong sense of purpose generates an unrelenting persistence in a way that money alone never could. No matter how frightening, a stirring vision turns, ‘I want to’ into ‘I HAVE to.’

4. Enter the Cave

Though it feels counterintuitive, acting in spite of fear will calm your nerves as you fail to detect any signs of danger, allowing the logical brain to leap back into operation, helping you make healthier decisions. Avoidance, on the other hand, always activates the Limbic System’s fear seeking sensor, heightening anxiety.

I’d love to know if any of these techniques help you…or if you have any tips to add. Leave me a comment below.

Comments & Feedback

  • Robin Kahn

    Barbara, I love this! I am always scared doing the work I do and I do find meaning in it — so I breathe, I talk to myself, I do the power pose, I dance. I treat myself like my own loving parent and I enter the cave with faith.

  • Lisa

    Steps 3 and 4 helped me a lot!

    I am currently writing a list of things I want instead ruminating about what I don’t want.

    Every time I enter the cave to work on this I feel nutty. I feel like running away by texting a friend or watching something mindless on TV.

    When I start on it, it doesn’t feel so bad. It is hard work though.

    • barbara huson

      Oh yes, Lisa, it IS hard work. But you’re so right. Once you start, it really feels good. And the more I do it, the more motivated I am to start, remembering how good it feels. After a while, Facing Fear becomes almost like a habit. I really like the idea of listing what you want instead of ruminating on what you don’t. That’s brilliant. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lisa

    Thanks Barbara,

    I’ll remember how good it feels while I’m doing it and how clear my head feels afterwards. It’s turned into a big project. I have to stop and feel why I want something. It can feel nutty writing a long letter to yourself.

    I heard somewhere that every time you express more of what you don’t want the universe gets confused and send you back more of what you don’t want, but when you flip it what you actually want, the universe picks up correctly on what you want so long as it’s positive. The question is – is it really what you want? Apparently a lot of people block what they really want for reasons you would probably understand better than I would.

  • Jenifer

    You have the BEST emails! I have found as I have gotten older that I am more anxious about the smallest things now. Fear has become a part of my life when I don’t need it to be. I quickly go to “but what if they can’t fix it/help/etc.” and that quickly spirals into my biggest fear of being without enough money and living in a cardboard box. So silly to even type this but it is a big thing in my life.
    I have written down your quotes and am going to keep this front and center to keep me focused on moving forward. I also am reminding myself that often wonderful people and events happen to help me along my journey, I just need to have faith that all will be ok and keep moving forward.

    • barbara huson

      Thanks for the compliment, Jenifer. You totally made my day. As for the fear you often feel, I urge you to work on rewiring that. Faith is important. But those messages of ‘not enough and living in a cardboard box’ are deeply wired in your brain. Regardless of how much faith you have, unless you weaken those old neuropathways sending that message, and build new more positive neuropathways with more positive messages, fear will be your default mode. Have you read my latest book? It’s all about that!!

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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