“Sometimes fear is nothing more than the anxiety leading up to an event.”
So I have a fear of flying. Ok, maybe that’s not entirely true. It’s not the FLYING I hate, it’s everything leading up to it. The same thing applies to stage fright. Every single moment leading to being on stage is filled with enormous fear, anxiety, and the like. But the moment I am on stage, the fears subside and I am calm again. For some of us, fear is nothing more than anxiety that leads up to an event. We don’t necessarily fear the event itself, but everything leading up to it. In that case, we aren’t afraid of the event, we’re simply trapped in a mental state OF fear.
So what do we do about this? Assuming that the fear is nearly absolved when the event begins, then surviving the fearful ride leading up to the event is simply a matter of time. Take comfort in knowing that as the seconds pass, you are actually getting closer to the fear vanishing. Each passing moment is one step closer to freedom from the fear and anxiety. This can bring comfort to some of us.
For others, surviving this period can happen if you distract yourself. Read a book, watch a movie, clean, write, do whatever it takes to take your mind off the subject of the fear. Once the event happens and you’re forced into the situation, you will ‘autopilot’ in some cases, and in others you will simply excel. Therefore distracting yourself could be a viable alternative because you combat fear with something else that interests you, until that fear has a chance to go away on its own.
Perhaps the best approach is a mix of both, added with simple acceptance of your fear. Admit that the fear is there. Acknowledge its presence. Maybe have a little bit of fun trying to figure out some possible causes of the fear (“When was the first time I flew? Was I afraid then? What could have changed to trigger this fear?” etc..). Sometimes simply naming the presence of fear can be a huge first step toward conquering it.
At the end of the day, fear is a natural human reaction. While many of us have strange bouts with fear or anxiety, it can be a fleeting thing. It’s important to hold it together just for the time you need to. Because like most things in life, “this too shall pass…”