At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
If your worries threaten to overcome you and keep you from trying new things, there are several techniques which can help. You will need to define your fear, educate yourself, meditate, or even take steps to confront it directly.
A fear of the unknown can stem from many different sources. You may be worried about a new job, aging, or how you'll be received at the next party. Uncertainty is part of normal life, but for some people, a fear of the unknown can be crippling.
The first step in overcoming your fear of the unknown is understanding what it is. Everyone experiences fear at one time or another, and even the most confident people are afraid of something. Fear is a natural reaction, a part of your mind designed to keep you safe. To start with, ask yourself what you are afraid of, whether it be a certain kind of situation, losing something or someone, or simply living in generally uncertain times.
If your fear of the unknown is based on something outside of your control, educating yourself can be a good way to cut the fear down to size. People have been irrationally afraid of everything from vaccines making them sick to the Large Hadron Collider causing a black hole that will destroy Earth. These fears can look dramatic and be difficult to understand. Learning about the actual chances of having something disastrous happen to you can ease the fear and give you a better idea of your real risks.
Meditation and visualization can help you focus in a productive way on your fear. Finding a quiet moment in your room—or if you have lots of small children, even the bathroom—can help you face your fear of the unknown mentally. A recommended exercise is imagining how you would deal with your fear step by step. Imagining ways to defeat it once a day can help you feel calmer before you face it in real life.
If what you're afraid of is not something that will actually harm you, you can take baby steps to face it in real life. A fear of social gatherings can be eased by having a friend go with you. A fear of heights can be gradually overcome by taking the stairs in tall buildings. Taking a class in doing something that will help you directly overcome your fear, like swimming lessons for those afraid of the water and confidence-building activities for those afraid of public speaking, can help as well.