Do you sometimes find yourself immersed in worries and fears, and wonder how to stop focusing on these fearful and unpleasant thoughts?
Fear grows when you give it too much attention. To get rid of it, you need to stop focusing on it, and direct your attention somewhere else.
If you keep thinking on your fears, they will grow out of proportion and take over your life, since whatever you focus on grows, including your fears.
It is like growing a plant. If you water it regularly, give it fertilizers, and take good care of it, it will grow and become strong. If you ignore undesirable thoughts and avoid feeding them with your attention, they would eventually disappear.
You might say that it is impossible to ignore thoughts. Well, it might not be easy, but not impossible. It is impossible to lift 50 pounds, speak a foreign language or swim, if your body is too weak, you never learned a foreign language, or if don’t know to swim. However, with training, this would become possible.
It’s the same with training your mind to stop giving attention to unpleasant thoughts, worries or fears.
Instead of letting your attention dwell fears, focus on happy thoughts. Make it an exercise and habit to replace fearful thoughts with happy thoughts.
The mind cannot think on two things at the same time. If you insist to focus on happy thoughts you will not make room for the opposite thoughts.
Do not Focus on Fears
If you focus on your fears, think of them every day, and give them your time and energy, they will grow and become strong. They might grow out of proportion, take over your life, affect your behavior, and eventually, come true.
As a plant grows by giving it water regularly, so fears grow if give them your constant attention.
Here are few examples of fearful thoughts:
- You fear that you might be fired from your job.
- You are afraid that you might not find a job.
- You might have fears about losing your money and investments.
- You are afraid that your plans will not work out.
- You are afraid that your girlfriend or boyfriend might leave you.
- You might have fearful thoughts about your health or about the health of the people close to you.
Suppose you are afraid to lose your job. You keep thinking about this fear and build unhappy scenarios in your mind. This might affect your efficiency, productivity and motivation, and eventually, you might materialize your fears.
Is this something reasonable to do? No, it is not a reasonable thing to do.
If instead, you focus on success in your job and expect to be promoted, you will act as a successful person, keep your job, and might get a promotion.
Remember, whatever you focus on grows. This applies to fears, and it also applies to thoughts about success.
With a little training, you can learn to change the focus of your thinking, and direct it to positive thoughts. This will make positive and courageous thoughts grow and fill your mind, and prevent access to negative and fearful thoughts.
You might say that it is not so easy to change your mindset, grow positive thoughts, and disregard fearful thoughts, but like everything else, with perseverance, you will win.
When you allow thoughts of fear to enter your mind and occupy it, you are making them the focus of your attention, and giving them the permission to grow and get stronger.
When a thought arises in the mind, at first, it usually does not have much power. With a little effort on your part, you can ignore it. However, if you choose to allow this thought to stay in your mind, it will gain power and become the focal point of your attention.
If you continue to pour the energy of your attention into fearful thoughts, gradually, thinking about fear will turn into a habit. This will adversely affect your behavior and your expectations. You might become negative, and lose courage and motivation.
If you don’t strive to stop focusing your attention on fearful thoughts, your mind will start thinking on all kinds of disastrous scenarios, increasing your fears, and making you believe that there is no solution to your problem.
Gradually, the fears will take control of your mind, behavior and actions, and consequently, you would start acting in such a way as to make your fears come true. Is this something that you want? I am sure you don’t.
Most of your fears won’t come true. They are just thoughts and nothing more.
How to Stop Focusing on Fears
1. Fears are just thoughts
Realize that fears are just thoughts. They are not your reality. You make them your reality if you keep thinking of them.
Fears are worries. You worry about things that have not happened. Maybe they will never happen. So why cause yourself suffering by thinking of them? Instead, look for constructive ways to improve the situation.
Fears that occupy your attention are like stressful people entering your house and harassing you. Chase them out by refusing to have anything to do with them.
Fears are unpleasant thoughts that you do not need. Occupy your time with better things, like reading a motivating book, exercising your body, or learning something useful.
2. Fill your mind with happy thoughts
Strive to fill your mind with positive and happy thoughts. When fear arises in you, do not let your attention focus on it. Instead, think of something pleasant and funny. If the fearful thoughts persist, do not give in, and continue to veer your attention to the happy thoughts.
3. You need to realize that you are not your thoughts
Thoughts are ideas and memories that pass through the mind and demand your attention. These thoughts are like visitors that want to enter your home. Like actual unwelcome visitors, refuse to admit them into your home, which in this case is your mind.
If you can show some lack of interest in your fearful thoughts, they will lose their power over you.
When you realize that your thoughts are just passing visitors, it becomes easier to ignore them.
4. Repeat positive affirmations
If you repeat positive affirmations, it becomes easier to ignore negative and fearful thoughts. This act will not leave room in your mind for fear thoughts.
Instead of allowing fear thoughts to dwell in your mind, repeat one or more sentences that show your confidence and your hope. Here are a few examples:
- “I have the courage and energy to deal effectively with every situation.”
- “I am full of courage and inner strength.”
- “Certainty, optimism and happiness are filling my mind and my life.”
5. Watch a funny or inspiring movie
Go watch a comedy or an inspiring success story. This will take your mind away from the fear.
6. Exercise your body
Exercising your body, walking, swimming, or any other kind of sport, will boost your energy level and make you feel strong and confident. Physical exercises makes you more positive and happy, and enable you deal more effectively with fears.
7. Learn to control your attention
This is an important step. It is great to be in charge of your attention, and be able to direct it wherever you want.
This will give the ability to decide what thoughts to think and what thoughts to ignore.
This means that you can ignore stressful, unhappy and fearful thoughts. I do not mean that you suppress these thoughts, as this is unhealthy. I mean that you stay uninterested in them. This will take all the power from them and they will fade away.
How do you control your attention? You need to strive to focus your attention on your actions, on what you are doing at the moment. Concentration exercises can help a great deal. You attention should be on what you are doing. Do not do one thing and at the same time think of something else.
Practicing various concentration exercises train you to focus, and develop the ability to control of your thoughts. Practicing them, will sharpen your mind, enable you to choose or avoid thoughts at will, and to experience peace of mind.
If you wish to learn focus exercises, I highly recommend reading the book Focus Your Attention, where you will find all the guidance and exercises you need.