Have you ever felt fear or anxiety take over your life? If you have then you will know what a vicious cycle that can be. By changing your mindset you can learn to become the master of fear, rid yourself of negative self-talk and thus live a life of joy.

Yet it can be a problem if you find yourself in a situation where fear is out of control or you are in an anxious state or suffering panic attacks. Changing your mindset isn't so simple and easy.

In the movie, National Treasure, the heroes found themselves in a situation where the "villains" have the upper hand. If they tried to take on the "enemy" at that point, it would have been futile, even making the situation worse. Instead the heroes do what they can until they have the upper hand. (If you haven't seen National Treasure I am sure you can think of a movie with a similar synopsis.)

In the same way, before taking any action it is often best to wait until you are in a better frame of mind. Wait until you are able to have the upper hand.
One of the first steps to mastering fear is not to be frightened of it; which sounds silly in a way. Although many people do fear it. By simply allowing yourself to feel it, fear will pass through you quickly. Perhaps even quicker than you realise.

Here is an exercise to help you achieve that. Actually you can use this for any “negative” emotion.

Get yourself as comfortable as possible and close your eyes. It doesn’t matter whether you are sitting up or lying down. Simply choose which is best for you. Imagine yourself standing in front of a dark pool. That pool represents the fear you are experiencing. Count to 3 and jump in. Yes you are going to immerse yourself in it. (If it helps you can imagine someone who is willing to take the jump with you, holding your hand.) As you swim toward the bottom of the pool allow yourself to experience the fear in its fullness. Don’t be too hard on yourself, simply allow yourself to experience it as best as you can. Of course the more you allow yourself to experience it, the quicker it passes. At first there may be resistance but that's OK. Swim deeper and deeper into the feeling.

Then see a bright light at the bottom of the pool. Swim towards it. As you do, you will feel yourself getting lighter and lighter. When you reach the bright light, you will see that pool of fear you were swimming through was nothing more than an illusion. You will feel better and the fear will have gone. (If for some reason it hasn’t go through the exercise again. It is probably because you weren’t allowing yourself to experience the feeling fully.)

But what happens when fear has moved onto anxiety and panic attacks. I wouldn't recommend doing the exercise above in a heightened state. The grip of fear will be extremely strong and the "fight or flight" will have kicked in. It could be overwhelming. So is there anything you can do?

Yes absolutely. Unlike the scenario above, it is more of a get out of there fast situation. The following step alone is not enough to rid yourself of anxiety. What it will do is bring the anxiety down. By bringing the anxiety down you are then in a position to use the various cognitive re-training tools. From personal and professional experience this little trick works a treat!

The part of the brain that triggers panic attacks is also the side of the brain that is used for working out complex maths problems. Don't worry I'm not suggesting you start doing calculus!

It is really an easy thing to remember and even children can use it. All you do is count by 17's. The trick is to do it in your mind. No pen and paper. If the anxiety is extremely high it may be a while before you get past 17! But keep going until you feel calmer. The further you count the more relaxed you will feel. Speaking from personal experience whenever I have used this tool, I can actually feel myself “coming down” from the heightened state. Then when you have control of the anxiety you can then start shifting your mindset. (Of course you can use this technique for anything to help break an unwanted cycle.)
This simple tool is incredible.

The mind is powerful and by mastering fears we truly can live a life of joy.

If you are looking for ways to enjoy your life more and master fear visit http://www.feartojoy.com for more free tips.

Author's Bio: 

Felicity Baker suffered from clinical anxiety for over 30 years of her life. It nearly destroyed her in 2008 when she found herself in an hospital emergency ward unable to swallow anything, including her own saliva.

After months of testing, Felicity discovered there was nothing wrong with her physically. The power of her mind had created the situation as she was no longer able to live with such extreme anxiety.

In under 3 years she has managed to turn her life around and now lives with joy and passion. The first 12 months was purely dedicated to her retraing herself to eat.

Felicity founded From Fear to Joy to inspire and empower people to be all they can be through love and joy. She helps people master fear and rid themselves of negative self-talk so they can live they life they too deserve.