Thursday, August 25, 2011


How to Be Brave

Face down your fears and bring more satisfaction into your life by building up your strongest self.

Steps to Courage
Make a decision to be brave. We don't have to succumb to the unhelpful negative chatter in our minds. "Being courageous doesn't mean not having fear," says Judith Orloff, MD, author of Positive Energy (Three Rivers Press). "It's just that the feeling doesn't control you. Establish a basic personal philosophy that fear is an opportunity to grow, not something you run from."

Accept your limitations. Nobody can do all things, all the time. If, like me, you want to be more physically adventurous, take steps to make your body stronger and come up with some healthy physical challenges -- walk a little farther, try a new regimen. But tell yourself, "It's okay I can't do it all. I'm human."

Be grateful for your fear. People tend to try to push the feeling away, which doesn't work, at least for long. Instead, embrace and feel it. "Fear is a healthy survival response," says Neil Fiore, PhD, author of Awaken Your Strongest Self (McGraw-Hill). "You can't shut it off, but you can bring it under control." When you get the jolt telling you something's dangerous, that's your cue to evaluate the situation. Are you really in trouble or is your head playing tricks on you? Then you can decide where to go from there.

Build your mental strength. Think often about your important traits, goals, and values. "The neuropathways in the brain that are used the most are the most likely to fire," says Peter Ubel, MD, author of You're Stronger Than You Think (McGraw-Hill). "If you remind yourself of your good traits, they're more likely to kick in when you need them." Make a list of your strengths and goals, in your mind or on paper.
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