1) Don't Feel Ashamed
Fear is normal, rational, and reasonable - you are NOT alone. Everyone feels afraid, and no one else's fear is better or more acceptable than another's. We experience fear because we are living, breathing human beings.
Feeling ashamed of your fears is the most counterproductive process to engage in because we instantly spiral into self-doubts like "I am not good enough" or "I can't do this." Instead, I like to let my fear "wash over me" — I feel into it and acknowledge it. Sometimes, all it takes is to let my fear have space to exist before I can move on with whatever it is I am doing once it's had its time.
2) Ask Questions
Why am I afraid? Am I in danger? I often ask myself these questions while I'm climbing and feel a sense of fear creeping in. Contrary to what many might think, climbing is a very safe sport for the most part. We use equipment that has been tested extensively. So, my fear usually stems from exposure, like how someone might feel looking out of an airplane window when they have a fear of heights. We all know it's safe, and very unlikely something bad will happen. But humans aren't meant to exist high off the ground, so some of us feel fear when we do.
When I practice this process of asking myself what I am afraid of and if my life is truly in danger, most of the time, the answer "no." But this process helps me calm that "fight for flight" response and allows me to think more clearly.
Yep. Practice being scared. Get uncomfortable. The trick with this one is not to overdo it and traumatize yourself but slowly nudge the line of discomfort. Gradually, that line gets smaller and smaller —progress!
For example, you wouldn't volunteer to speak at a college graduation if you are terrified of public speaking. Instead, you might take some classes or practice in front of a close group of friends or family. Some may even start in front of a mirror until their discomfort becomes more comfortable.