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The Adventure

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Conquering Fear: 5 Tips to Help Get You Through Anything

  
  
  

by Ellen Barone

Vacations seem to be all about fun, sun and escapism. But if you look past the recreation, they can also inspire powerful insights and help you on your path to living a bolder, braver life at home.

Suspension bridge in the Amazon by Hank BaroneI was a dizzying 90-feet above the dense Amazon jungle. The narrow canopy bridge beneath me sagged and bounced with each anxious step. White-knuckled, I clutched the straining steel guide wires that heaved and creaked as I inched my way across the wobbly expanse.

I spotted a shiny new piece of wood replacing one of the weathered, mossy planks that comprised the hanging bridge’s timber flooring and tried not to obsess about the unthinkable – a floorboard suddenly crumbling and plunging my foot, and me, into the dense tangle below. With laser focus, I concentrated my gaze at a distant point and edged my way to the awaiting platform.

If only there weren’t five more bridges to cross. If only my legs would stop threatening to collapse. If only I’d read the brochure more carefully… I wanted to be fearless. I really did.  

Most of us don’t set off on vacation to face our fears. But the angst of travelling beyond your comfort zone, no matter how unnerving, can serve to teach, inspire and challenge us to push through and return home bolder and braver.

The next time fear threatens to ruin your adventure here are five strategies to help transform terror into courage.

1. Question your thoughts
Look closely at the thoughts fueling the fear. Are they realistic? Is a different, less terrifying, scenario just as possible?

2. Allow for discomfort
It’s easy to opt out. But if you're willing to be uncomfortable, to allow yourself to notice the roiling emotions but not buy into them, you reduce fear’s power, and that's when boldness begins.

3. Push through
Courage doesn’t come to those who avoid fear; it comes to those who act in spite of it. When you choose not to defy fear, you choose not to honor your capabilities. Choose otherwise.

4. Evaluate the consequences
Ask yourself, "What is it costing me to be afraid?" If the answer is your joy, your sense of peace, or your relationships, the cost is too high.

5. Have faith
Bravery is not instantaneous. It is a habit of thought cultivated with effort and humility and faith. The greatest act of courage is to identify your fear, accept it and move forward: The feeling may still be unpleasant, but it’s tinged with hope and nurtured with love rather than pain.


Ellen Barone is a freelance journalist specializing in travel and frequent contributor to the Adventure. For the latest travel news, tips, and reviews, visit her website at EllenBarone.com.

Photo: Canopy Bridge, Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica eco-lodge, Peruvian Amazon. ©Hank Barone.

Comments

The night before the first time I did the BB Mt. Nimbus via ferrata I had a nightmare that the rungs got further apart as I walked and the bridge got longer every step I took. By the time I got there it wasn't as big a deal as I made up in my mind. Great advise Ellen! I have some incredible memories from adventures I've done by just allowing myself to have some faith, in fun!
Posted @ Wednesday, August 08, 2012 2:04 PM by Becky CMH Reservations
Becky,  
 
You're braver than I am! Just looking at the photograph of that bridge gives me nightmares. Good for you! You inspire.  
 
Last time I was on the mountain with CMH I was signed up for the via ferrata but weather didn't cooperate and I couldn't have been more relieved.  
 
Thanks for sharing your inspiration.  
 
Ellen 
Posted @ Friday, August 10, 2012 12:47 PM by Ellen Barone
Ellen, I appreciate your insightful articles. I relate to your thoughts while challenging yourself. Great information. When in Ecuador, I climbed to the top of an observation tower and walking bridge while almost over looking the canopy. I felt terror but managed to do it. Sandra
Posted @ Friday, August 10, 2012 11:57 PM by Sandra Kennedy
Thanks Sandra, knowing how courageous you are in daily life, I can only imagine how open and brave you are on the road. As always, thanks for reading and sharing. Ellen
Posted @ Saturday, August 11, 2012 12:50 PM by Ellen Barone
That reminded me of bridges I crossed backpacking in Southern Argentina. I was alone, and had no fear of the hiking, but the bridges had more missing pieces than existing ones! I seriously thought 'How silly, all this adventuring and this is how I'm going to die.' Never considered not doing it of course, THAT would have been crazy! Great article!
Posted @ Friday, August 17, 2012 12:27 AM by Stephanie
I was remembering your photos of those very bridges, Stephanie, as I crossed this one in the Amazon. And then again, as I was writing this article. Had it been me in Argentina, facing fear or not, I'm not so sure I would've headed across those ramshackle bridges. Glad you made it to the other side so we could meet up in Peru! Enjoying your blogs. Thanks for tuning in. Ellen
Posted @ Friday, August 17, 2012 7:04 PM by Ellen Barone
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