Change Your Reponse To Fear…

On Friday, I wrote about how I’ve been facing more discomfort in my life, and how it’s made me feel better – bolder, stronger, more capable kinda better. And I’m reminded of something that Mel Robbins talks about in her book, ‘Take Control of Your Life.’

Yes, I know… I’m going on about Mel Robbins again. But it’s good stuff, I promise. 

Mel says, “Change your response to fear and you change your life.”

If you know of Mel, you’ll no doubt have heard her talk about the 5 Second Rule. Simply put, it’s a countdown to action, rather than fight/flight/freeze/fridge – whatever your response is to fear.

When I decide against the gym, it’s because I’m on some level I’m afraid – of the discomfort of exercise, of walking in alone, of doing something different.  So as much as I know going will make me feel amazing, if I think about it for too long, I’ll find a reason not to go. I’ll lie to myself that I’ll do it later or tomorrow. I’ll tell myself it’s just too dark and wet today. Maybe I go back to bed, or waste time doing other things that are nowhere near as beneficial to how I feel.

This is my fear-based response: to find a reason not to go.

So I can use (and have been using) Mel Robbin’s 5 Second Rule to change this response for the better; to disrupt my habit of avoidance. 

If I’ve decided that I want to hit the gym in the morning, then when my alarm goes off it’s: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 step out of bed and 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 splash water on my face and 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 start getting dressed…. until I’m 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 get into the car. Before you know it, I’m at the gym, working out and feeling grand!

I really like this because it’s so simple, and it focuses on behaviour as a habit, rather than some fixed personality trait.

And it can work for anything!

Want to drink less coffee? 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… make a green tea.

Too scared to speak up? 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… start talking.

Putting something off? 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… open up the email you’re avoiding.

About to go ‘nuclear’ on your spouse?… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 take some long, deep breaths before you speak.

Just imagine what your life would look like if you found a way to walk towards the things that scared you; imagine the kind of person that you would become.

If that image inspires you, then I suggest that you jot down what you would like to change, taking note of what your fear-based reaction is in these situations, then 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… do what you need to do. 


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