Are you someone who often worries about the future? Do you feel like you can’t shake your fear of what might happen? If so, you’re not alone. Many people experience this type of anxiety at some point in their lives.
Fortunately, there are ways to conquer this fear and even overcome them completely.
According to experts, here are ways to overcome your fear of the future:
Dr. Matt Glowiak, PhD, LCPC
National Certified Counselor | Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Choosing Therapy
Among the greatest fears of the human experience is that of the unknown. When we are unsure of what lies ahead, especially if it might be something that threatens our well-being, we excessively worry to the point of detriment.
Related: What to Do When You Worry Too Much
In doing this, we compromise any given moment—as we cannot be fully present. Though what lies ahead may truly be something undesirable, it helps not to ruin potentially positive moments in the present.
More often than not, our fears are irrational, and we assume the worst without evidence. In either case, worry is what brings us down.
Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome the fear of the future. Some of these include the following:
Remain in the present
Though this is easier said than done, especially when we know what lies ahead is undesirable, it only makes matters worse to continue thinking about it.
There are likely truly positive things to focus upon in the here, and now that will otherwise go missed if we don’t shift our focus. If something terrible is looming in the future, why make the consequences worse by worrying about it in the present?
Grounding techniques such as meditation and deep breathing can help bring one’s focus back to the present, which can and often provide some immediate relief.
Think five steps ahead with the expectation of getting knocked back three to four
The truth is that life does throw us unexpected challenges that compromise our planning. At the same time, the better we plan, the more prepared we are for the future.
Consider thinking five steps ahead with the expectation of getting knocked back three to four. Now, even when the unexpected hits us, we are still at least one to two steps ahead. Planning is important, but this should not be detrimental to what is happening in the present.
Gather the evidence and think critically
Many fears of the future are irrational ones. We jump to the worst-case scenario immediately without any actual evidence. In these cases, it helps to think critically about what one is facing.
Is it likely that the worst-case scenario will occur? If not, do not perseverate on it. If so, then do consider the actual consequences of it happening. Will it really be that bad? If not, try to avoid dwelling on it.
Everything begins with awareness; the more informed we are, the better. The truth is that in many cases where people fear the future, there is insufficient evidence to support it.
Utilize your support network
While the living experience is one in which no two people perceive and respond to the world in the same way, others think and respond similarly. Even when one feels lonely and as though no one is there for them, it is likely that someone is.
When we attempt to face a scary future alone, everything becomes worse. Rely on your support network when and where needed. These individuals may lift your spirits, share necessary resources, and—in the worst-case scenario—help ease the pain of whatever is impending.
Remember, nothing in life is guaranteed
We really cannot know for certain what is going to happen until it happens. Whether the future appears bright or dark, anything can happen in between.
Remaining realistically optimistic is appropriate. While toxic optimism goes against the evidence, realistic optimism recognizes that although something negative is likely to happen, it may not. This instills hope.
Related: Why Is Hope so Important in Life?
Dr. Flora Sadri-Azarbayejani, DO, MPH, FAAFP, FASAM
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Psyclarity Health
For some, it’s hard not to constantly worry about what the future holds. Whether it’s fear of the unknown or simply feeling like you’re not in control, this type of anxiety can really take a toll on your mental and emotional health.
If you’re someone who often feels anxious about the future, here are a few tips to help you overcome that fear:
Try to focus on the here and now and enjoy the moment you’re in
One of the best ways to overcome a fear of the future is to focus on the present moment. When you’re constantly thinking about what could happen, it’s easy to forget about all of the good things that are happening right now. Try to focus on the here and now, and enjoy the moment you’re in.
Create plans and goals
One of the best ways to feel in control is to create plans and set goals. Having a specific plan for your future can help ease some of the anxiety that comes with not knowing what will happen.
Sit down and brainstorm some things you’d like to accomplish, both short-term and long-term. It might also help to make a list of steps to reach those goals.
Take things one day at a time
Another helpful tip is to take things one day at a time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by what the future holds, break it down into manageable chunks.
Instead of worrying about what next week or month will bring, focus on what you can do today. When you focus on doing well today, it’s easier to trust that things will work out tomorrow.
Talk to someone you trust
If your anxiety about the future is really starting to impact your life, it might be helpful to talk to someone you trust. This could be a friend, family member, therapist, or anyone else who can offer support and understanding.
Talking about your fears can help you gain some perspective and might even help you devise a plan to address them.
Prepare for the worst
One way to ease your anxiety about the future is to prepare for the worst. This doesn’t mean that you should expect the worst to happen, but it can help to have a plan in place in case things don’t go as you’d hoped.
If you’re worried about losing your job, for example, start looking for other employment options and saving up money. If you’re concerned about your health, ensure you stay up-to-date on screenings and checkups.
Get everything organized and in its place
Another way to reduce anxiety about the future is to get organized. This can help you feel more prepared and in control.
Start by decluttering your space and getting rid of things you don’t need. Then, create a system for tracking important information, like deadlines, appointments, and bills. When everything is organized and in its place, it can be easier to relax and not worry about what tomorrow will bring.
Blogger and Registered Nurse | Creator, Finding Joy Amongst Chaos
Face the fear head-on
Regarding success, the fear is that one may be unable to cope with the change or believes success is undeserved. Both fears result from guilt, a lack of self-confidence, or a self-belief of inadequacy.
Related: Why is Self Confidence Important?
To overcome this lack of faith in oneself, it is crucial to face the fear head-on. This often means going outside one’s comfort zone, the psychological place where one feels safe, secure, and in control of their environment.
Thus, an individual steps out of this safe zone and into an unfamiliar place where one feels compelled to act. Dealing with fear and making an effort to bring about positive change results in awkwardness, discomfort, and a feeling of less control.
But this is where change and personal growth happen.
In other words, this is where one overcomes fear. In this more stressful zone, one is challenged to discover strategies and take action to meet new challenges. As a result, self-confidence and resilience grow. This person learns they can adapt and improve with change.
Take small steps toward change
However, when one feels too stressed and out of control, fear can grow to a point where the person becomes overwhelmed and can only focus on the fear itself. This person tries to escape back into the safety of their comfort zone and may have difficulty leaving it again.
To avoid this, change is best when it can be taken in small steps. Setting a goal for oneself and coming up with a plan for facing one’s fear is vital.
An example is having a professionally guided savings and investment plan for the person who plans to retire at a certain age. This person saves what is needed over time.
An example of stepping outside the comfort zone is if the person takes an extra job to save the money needed.
Have a plan B
Also, it is helpful to have a Plan B, as positive change sometimes takes several attempts to effect. Plan B gives one a soft place to land if the extra time should be needed. Or it makes a way to keep things going while pursuing the goal.
In essence, having a plan and being prepared is of vital importance. Education and preparation go a long way in conquering fear. And to accomplish a plan, it is sometimes necessary to step outside our comfort zone as needed.
Fill your minds with thoughts of mindfulness and enjoy living in the moment
Another reason why many might fear the future is the unknown. Unfortunately, we can’t predict life events such as illness, injury, loss of loved ones, and death.
As we have little control over these things, it serves no purpose to worry about them. We can try to live as healthy as possible and get regular medical checkups. This way, prevention can be initiated, thus preventing poor health before it has a chance to get started.
As for the things we cannot control, it is best to fill our minds with thoughts of mindfulness and enjoy living in the moment.
Journaling is a great option for dealing with stress and worry. In my opinion, it’s the best activity for contentment, personal growth, and inspiration following counseling or therapy.
Having a good support system also helps to allay fears
Hence a different perspective from someone we trust can temper our subjective fears with more objective reasoning. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, getting wrapped up inside our heads with negative thoughts.
To conclude, fear is an inevitable part of life. Moreover, a small amount of fear is necessary to give us sufficient motivation to change and grow. However, we must temper that fear with proper planning, preparation, action, and support.
In the end, it is up to the individual to face and deal with the fear and move forward with life.
Becca Smith, LPC
Chief Clinical Officer, Basepoint Academy
The future holds many unknowns, and it can be natural to feel fear or anxiety about what may come. However, allowing these fears to consume us can negatively impact our mental health and well-being.
Here are some tips on how to overcome the fear of the future:
Accept uncertainty and focus on taking steps in the present moment
Your feelings are valid, but it is essential to acknowledge that the future is unpredictable, and trying to control it is futile. Accepting this uncertainty can help us let go of trying to control the outcome and focus on taking steps in the present moment.
For example, instead of constantly worrying about your future job, focus on putting effort into your current job search and networking opportunities.
Challenge negative thoughts
Fear of the future often stems from negative thought patterns or “what if” scenarios. It can be helpful to challenge these thoughts by asking ourselves if they are based on reality or irrational fear.
If it is a fear, try reframing it into a positive belief or action step that we can take. So, instead of constantly thinking, “what if I never find a job?” try reframing it to “I will put effort into my job search and trust that the right opportunity will come for me.“
Develop a growth mindset
Instead of viewing the unknowns as frightening, try to see them as opportunities for growth and development. Embrace challenges and view setbacks as learning experiences instead of failures.
If you are afraid of starting a new job or career, try to see it as a chance to learn and develop new skills. Or, if you are scared of a relationship ending, try to focus on the personal growth that may come from it and the possibility of finding new love in the future.
Remember past successes
Look back on past achievements or challenging times that you have overcome. Reminding yourself of your strengths and resilience can help to give hope for the future and decrease fear.
As such, it can be helpful to keep track of our achievements and successes in a journal or create a “brag book” to reflect on during tough times. Self-promotion and celebrating our accomplishments can also help to build confidence and trust in ourselves.
Practice mindfulness to increase awareness of the present moment
Mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and focusing on the senses can help to calm racing thoughts about the future. These practices can also increase awareness of the present moment and allow us to let go of ruminating on what may or may not happen.
To practice mindfulness, try setting aside a few minutes each day to focus on your breath and notice any sensations or thoughts without judgment.
Seek support and connect with others
Speaking with a therapist or trusted loved one about your fears and concerns can be helpful. They may offer fresh perspectives and coping strategies while also providing emotional support.
Additionally, connecting with others who may be experiencing similar fears can help remind us that we are not alone. In other words, we can go through the journey of overcoming fear together.
Then, when we’re able to lighten the burden of fear, we can focus on enjoying and living in the present moment.
Kaytee Gillis, LCSW-BACS, MSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Board Approved Clinical Supervisor, Choosing Therapy
For my clients who experience fear of the future, I recommend these five things:
Focus your attention on the present moment
Mindfulness is when you focus your attention on the present moment. Many clients will ask me, “but how does this help me from worrying about the future?”
Mindfulness works to train the brain to focus on the here and now. This helps to relax the fears that come from the future. When you find your mind wandering to the future, or any anticipatory anxieties, bring it back to the present moment and the present task.
It won’t eliminate your concerns about the future, but it will give your mind a break, which will help decrease some of the symptoms that come from anxiety, such as increased heart rate, tension, etc.
Calling out the fears
This is something that I find works when we are experiencing anxiety about something such as a court date, upcoming test, or another significant event.
I will tell my clients to call out their fears out loud to themselves: “I am scared that I will fail this test,” and “I am scared that I will get bad news at this next medical appointment.”
Calling out the fears helps to make them real and tangible, so to speak, which helps to take them out of our minds. This can be done when they are alone in the car, in their homes, or even in their office or bathroom. Anywhere that is private.
Repeat mantras of safety
Have a set of mantras that you repeat to yourself. At first, this might seem childlike or immature, but it can calm that part of you that is stuck in the fears.
Saying things like, “I’m safe right now,” “I have the supports I need to work through this,” or “I will be okay” can shift the mindset.
Write it out
Grab a journal (or any piece of paper or handy word document) and write out your fears. Often, when we see them written out, we can look at them more objectively or realistically, which can help us step back a bit from that fear mindset. I will often tell clients to.
Move your body
When experiencing negative or distressing feelings, action can often help. Get up and stretch, and do a couple of minutes of free movement or exercise.
Licensed Psychotherapist | Certified Integrative Mental Health Professional
Fear of the future is one of our most pervasive fears as humans. This may date back to early human history when being able to plan for a future attack or opportunity could enhance our chances of survival.
However, despite living in a world where many of us are not fighting for our survival on a day-to-day basis, this fear has stayed with us. Because we can’t predict the future, this uncertainty can make us feel helpless, scared, and out of control. But we don’t have to let this fear control us.
Here are some strategies for overcoming fear of the future:
Recognize your past successes
Remind yourself that you are a capable person who has handled changes, obstacles, and challenges in the past. Fear of the future can often be related to insecurity or uncertainty that you have the skills to deal with what life throws at you.
However, asking yourself, “what’s the evidence that I can’t handle this?” can help you recognize that there is probably much more evidence that you can handle future unknowns than you aren’t.
Make peace with the uncertainty of life
While this is easier said than done, fear of the future is also linked to a desire to predict and control. However, life doesn’t work like that, and the more time we spend refusing to accept the realities of life, the more we suffer.
Accepting life (and future uncertainty) for what it is can bring you a great deal of peace.
Plan for what you can
While worrying about things out of your control will not be helpful to you, planning for what it can definitely help to ease fear and anxiety.
Focusing on what is within your control can help take focus away from all the things that aren’t. This can look like taking out a (life, travel, health) insurance policy, scheduling a rain date, or securing multiple options for yourself if things don’t go according to plan.
While worrying about the future is something that plagues us from time to time, you don’t have to let it control your life. Conquering this fear will allow you to take more calculated risks, which can bring about lots of positive changes in your life.
Former Chair and CEO, Anthem Healthcare | Author, “The Potentialist I“
Evaluate and act upon awareness
Keep in mind you’ll be living longer—you need to evaluate and act upon awareness. Are you living as healthy a life as possible to be as capable and strong later in life? Are you planning financially?
You need a fund and plan to navigate; social security will likely not pull you through. Heard the saying that the first person to live to 150 years old has already been born?
Get ready and act now! Be prepared. Don’t wait until you have to handle it. The changes cannot be ignored; this is a transformative time.
Avoid predisposition to be negative
So many times, we just raise our hands and shake our heads, thinking it’s all going to be a mess; why even bother?
Remember to also look at the good and accept challenges even when bombarded with politics and bad news. Humans tend to be more comfortable waiting too long before taking action.
Do not buy into negative, manipulative language. You must know what to do and how you will make an informed decision when everything you see and hear might be false. You must use wisdom to plan.
Break through the limits of the past
So much technology is and will continue to change how we live and function.
Take the technology for virtual meetings, FaceTime, Zoom, and all the rest; now, the distance for meetings and conversations is limitless, and seeing what someone else is viewing is done instantaneously.
Related: How Has Technology Changed Our Lives
Remember that the best days are still ahead
There is a frame of mind that the end goal is to leave people and the world perhaps a little better than you found them and live with the hope and belief that your best days are still ahead.
That allows you to always grow and work toward success using knowledge, information, skills, and wisdom that help you plan.
Understand who you are
Project your true self:
- Learn to be more collaborative
- Improve relationship skills
- Take time to think about decisions in a different way
Heather Wilson, LCSW, LCADC, CCTP
Executive Director, Epiphany Wellness
Many people struggle with fear of the future. But the good news is that there are things you can do to overcome this fear. By taking steps to manage your anxiety and better cope with uncertainty, you can feel more confident about the future.
Identify your fears
The first step is to identify what you’re afraid of. What are you worried might happen? Once you know your specific worries, you can start to address them head-on.
It will be easier to master your fears and phobias once you’ve pinpointed what they are.
Realize some things are outside of your control
Like it says in the serenity prayer, people must strive to accept the things they cannot change, find the courage to change the things they can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.
Determine which fears are irrational, which are outside of your control, and which fears you can do something about.
Develop a plan to deal with what you’re afraid of
Once you know what you’re afraid of, it can be helpful to develop a plan to deal with it. For example, what can you do to reduce the likelihood of your worst-case scenario happening? And what will you do if it does happen?
Having a plan can help you feel more prepared and less anxious about the future.
Build coping skills
Learning how to cope with stress and anxiety can be incredibly helpful in managing fear of the future.
Some coping skills that may be helpful include cue-controlled relaxation, self-control desensitization, and self-statement modification. These have been proven to help with situation-specific anxiety reactions.
Seek professional help
Suppose your fear of the future is impacting your quality of life. In that case, it may be time to seek help from a professional. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven to help people with anxiety and panic disorders.
A therapist can offer support and guidance as you work to overcome your fear. They may also prescribe medication that will help alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
Susan Gentile, RN
Nurse Practitioner, ChoicePoint
Focusing on the future is not as easy as one might think. Often when we look forward, we are influenced by our past experiences and the anxiety or fear that we might face in the future.
Focusing on the future is good for setting goals and aspirations, but becoming anxious about these potential events can ruin your motivation and distract you from achieving your goal.
Here are some tips to overcome the fear of the future:
Take action and do not give up
The biggest key to overcoming fear is taking action, working toward your dreams, and not giving up.
Fear is a very common human emotion. Fear will always be a part of your life, so it’s good to learn how to work with instead of against it.
Almost everyone experiences fear at some point in their life. Fear is a unique feeling; its power is so strong that it can compel you to do almost everything in life.
You learn to:
- Jump into the water
- How to ride a bicycle
- How to swim
- How to drive
All because of your fear. The main point is not to let the fear of the future hold you back from taking risks.
Remember, nothing is predictable, so don’t waste your time planning the perfect future; instead, go with the flow. Take unpredictable turns and see where that takes you.
Fear helps you to perform better and overcome the challenges in your life. It motivates you to overcome your inner potential.
Combat Trauma/PTSD Psychotherapist
Have quality guidance and time to plan
Fear of the future often relates to the past, especially if someone has experienced trauma or adversities in their earlier life. For many people, the fear of failure is enough to never try or attempt new things, change careers, or engage in deeper relationships.
The question is whether people can harness fear as a motivator for change. For example, fear of losing a marriage, relationship, or job is sometimes the only thing that brings men into therapy.
It must be so bad that we’re near self-implosion, all dominated by beliefs that “I’m not good enough, unwanted, or incapable” of being successful in anything they do.
Our experiences can distort our thinking patterns and create illogical thought processes, often quickly resolved by a few sessions of psychotherapy. With the right tools in place and working preventatively instead of reactively, most find success in confronting their fears.
The flip side of this coin is fear as a type of paralysis that creates a “freeze” response emotionally and mentally, resulting in no move or shift in our behavior whatsoever.
We stay exactly as we are for fear of doing anything different, even if it means a greater reward. I always remind clients that doing nothing is an option, but don’t expect change. I have found this decision is generally made from the viewpoint of self-preservation.
The unknown is a scary idea, and clients often feel that the anticipation of change is the hardest hurdle to overcome. Our minds create and build up what appears to be an insurmountable level of anxiety.
But with quality guidance and a plan, anyone can see anticipation as a time to prepare and plan. The only flaw is that we must commit to change.
Jennifer Hartman, NP
Nurse Practitioner specializing in Breast Oncology | International Professional Speaker, SpeakerHub
Ground yourself in the known truths of the present
As a nurse practitioner in surgical breast oncology, many of my breast cancer survivor patients fear the future of their health. They live in constant fear of the what-ifs.
What if cancer comes back? What if I die? I suggest grounding yourself in the known truths of the present instead of the possible trauma of the future.
Write down the truths you know right now and remind yourself of them regularly. For example:
- “I feel healthy.”
- “My scans are clear.”
- “I am going to all my appointments and receiving all the care I need.”
This will help you appreciate the present and spend less time occupied mourning events that may not even happen in the future.
Life and Success Coach | Owner, Millennial Zen Coaching
Stop waiting for the “right time” to do things; go for it!
When it comes to our goals and dreams, there is no such thing as the “right time” to pursue them. If we keep waiting and delaying, we’ll find ourselves sitting on the sidelines while others experience life’s adventures.
Instead of reaching for our heart’s desires, we focus on what might go wrong and try to protect ourselves from discomfort or failure. But this kind of thinking actually holds us back.
Whether it’s starting a new business, learning to sing or dance, or taking a road trip across the country, we need to stop waiting for that perfect moment and go for it!
By embracing innovation and taking risks, we can become antifragile—more robust in the face of adversity rather than crumbling under pressure. And with a clear purpose driving us forward, we can truly thrive and feel alive in all that we do.
So don’t let fear hold you back: take that leap of faith today and start living your best life! After all, tomorrow isn’t promised, so why wait? When we seize the day with courage and confidence, there’s nothing we can’t achieve.
Let’s make every moment count by saying yes to possibility and finding joy in every new adventure. Let’s stop waiting around—too many amazing things are just waiting to be discovered! So what are you waiting for? Go get ’em!
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes—they’re a part of life
When making mistakes, many of us tend to be afraid or ashamed. We worry that we will be judged for our errors or that we will never be able to recover from them.
But as the saying goes, “failure is the mother of all innovation.” Without mistakes, we would never have made the innovations that have changed the course of human history—from Thomas Edison’s light bulb to Steve Jobs’ first computer.
While failure can be brutal and sometimes even devastating, it can make us stronger. In fact, there is even a concept known as “antifragility,” which refers to systems that survive shocks and thrive because of them.
Related: How to Get Over Past Mistakes
Of course, none of us are perfect, and no one expects us to be. So don’t let your fear of making mistakes hold you back from pursuing your dreams and living your purpose in life.
Ultimately, what matters most is how you choose to react when things go wrong—whether you let setbacks defeat you or use them as motivation for growth and success.
Remember: with every mistake comes an opportunity for growth and greatness. So rather than being afraid of making mistakes look at them as something that leads you to achieve your goals and realize your true potential in this world.
Don’t compare yourself to others because you’re unique and exceptional in your own way
Everyone has their strengths and talents, and it’s important to celebrate those differences instead of trying to be like someone else.
Whether you’re a natural innovator with a knack for problem-solving or a resilient antifragile individual who thrives in challenging circumstances, you have something extraordinary to offer the world.
Your purpose drives you, giving meaning and purpose to everything you do. It takes courage to follow your passions and blaze your own path in life, but the results can be truly transformative.
Remember that you are here for a reason—so don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t enough just as you are. You are extraordinary, completely unique, and imperfect, just like you are.
So go out there and shine brightly, knowing that each day brings new opportunities for growth and self-discovery. You are one of a kind, and nothing can stand in your way. So, believe in yourself, embrace your true potential, and keep moving forward!
Embrace change—it’s always going to happen, so you might as well roll with it
Change is inevitable, and the only thing we can do is learn how to embrace it. Whether it comes in the form of innovation, new opportunities, or curveballs that we never saw coming, change will always be a part of our lives.
While it might seem scary or daunting at first, we should remember that change can often be a positive thing. In fact, research has shown that embracing change—or what has been termed “antifragile” behavior—can help us grow and thrive.
So instead of allowing ourselves to become rigid and stuck in our ways, let’s see change as an opportunity for growth and purpose. After all, how can we truly succeed in this ever-changing world if we aren’t constantly evolving and changing with the times?
Let’s not shy away from the challenge of change; instead, let’s meet it head-on with open arms! Let’s seize every opportunity to learn new things and connect with others in meaningful ways.
Embracing change may seem difficult at first, but once you start rolling with the punches, you’ll realize just how rewarding it can be. And who knows, you might even find that you enjoy changing more than you thought possible!
If there’s one thing I have learned throughout my life so far, it’s this: embrace change now or risk getting left behind.
After all, tomorrow is never guaranteed, so why wouldn’t we want to live our best lives today? So go out there and make your mark on this world. Change is waiting for you!
Be your biggest fan—give yourself credit where it’s due, and don’t be too hard on yourself
As a wise person once said, we should all be our biggest fans. After all, what’s the point of trying to achieve great things if we never give ourselves credit for our hard work and innovation?
We should embrace our successes, no matter how big or small, and learn from our mistakes along the way. And that’s especially true when it comes to being too hard on ourselves.
After all, nobody is perfect, so why hold ourselves to unattainable standards? Instead of beating yourself up for your mistakes, try to find a more antifragile approach that allows you to be flexible, resilient, and full of purpose.
In other words, always strive to be your own biggest supporter because, at the end of the day, self-confidence is everything.
Take some time for self-care every day
When was the last time you took some time for yourself? Whether it’s just a few minutes of meditation or one hour of reading a good book, focusing on your well-being is essential for staying healthy and happy.
Amidst the constant demands of everyday life, it can be easy to lose sight of our own needs and goals. But by prioritizing self-care, we can stay attuned to our inner desires and passions, improving our mental and emotional health.
To truly embrace self-care, we must be willing to experiment and challenge ourselves. Whether trying new activities or pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone, innovation is key to building resilience and discovering new ways to thrive in any situation.
At the same time, self-care should always go hand in hand with taking care of others; after all, we are all interconnected.
By embracing the idea of antifragility—becoming more robust in response to stressors—we tap into our most profound sense of purpose and meaning, allowing us to weather any storm with grace and calmness.
So why not take some time today to focus on yourself? Whether it’s 10 minutes of yoga or an hour spent journaling your thoughts and dreams, commit right now to treat yourself with love and compassion every day. You owe it to yourself—you deserve it!
We can overcome our fear of the future by embracing antifragile innovation and becoming stronger in response to stressors. We can discover new ways to thrive in any situation by trying new things and pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone.
By embracing the idea of antifragility, we tap into our deepest sense of purpose and meaning, allowing us to weather any storm with grace and calmness.
Face it, embrace it, purge it, replace it
Fear of the future can be based on almost anything. Is it a:
- Fear of not being able to keep up with our rapidly changing world?
- Fear of loneliness?
- Fear of death?
- Fear of a zombie apocalypse?
There is one key factor that any fear of the future is based on. Worry, specifically, worrying about things that have not come to pass.
The average person processes roughly sixty-thousand thoughts per day; of these thoughts, 85% are negative and based on worrying about the future. Since these fears have not happened yet, they recycle themselves in your subconscious over and over each day.
However, you can break the cycle.
In my book “Lights, Action, YOU!” I address fearing the future and how to stop yourself from worrying about things that have not happened yet.
It’s a technique I teach in my coaching program, and I created a catchphrase that my clients use as a tool to solve their fear of the future issues. “Face it, embrace it, purge it, replace it.”
This means acknowledging the fear and facing it no matter how dark it is. Stripping away the layers and exposing the root cause is the first step. Honestly ask yourself what it is that you are afraid of.
Once you identify the fear, you need to face it head-on. Talking it out or writing it down helps you embrace the fear. You are embracing the fear, not confronting it.
Confrontation can elicit feelings of frustration and even give your fear more fuel, which is the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. By embracing your fear, you are identifying why you have this fear in the first place.
Once you identify your fear and understand the cause, you can let it go. It sounds simple, but many people are resistant. Understand that when you purge your fear, you don’t necessarily get rid of it forever.
Instead, purging allows you to work through it and come to terms with the fear, not wallow in it. Now you can move it aside.
When you work through your fear, come to terms with it and move it aside, you have now made room in your subconscious to replace this fear and worry of the future with positive affirmations, gratitude, and living in the present moment.
For example, instead of saying, “I am afraid of being alone when I get old,” change it to “I am grateful for the friends and family I have.” Again, put yourself in the present moment.
Remember, fearing the future and worrying about things that have not come to pass is energy wasted on thoughts that have no ground to stand on.
Related: Why Worrying Is a Waste of Time
Once you face your fears, embrace them, move them aside and replace them with positive affirmations, you will create a future that is not fearful but bright.
Founder and CEO, Britannia School of Academics
Effectively plan for your future
Is fear good for us? It won’t be wrong to say that fear is usually perceived as something negative—a weakness we must rid ourselves of.
However, fear is one of the most natural and powerful emotions we have developed over thousands of years of evolution. Powerful? I hear you say. Yes, fear empowers us to realize that there is a threat to our interests that we must prepare ourselves for.
In the dynamic world that we live in today, technology, social norms, government policies, regulations, and the economy are all changing so fast. These changes obviously mean that new skills-set are required for individuals to have a successful career.
If you are not careful and planned enough, you can find yourself in a situation where you are:
- Have limited prospects of growth
- Limited earning potential
- Are simply unhappy with your work or career in general
Therefore, the fear of the future is a good thing. This is not an imaginary threat but a very real one. How we respond to this fear is good or bad for us, not the fear itself.
Appreciating this will help us understand the importance of careful planning concerning the choices we make about our future.
Below, we will discuss some tips on effective planning for your future to overcome this fear.
Be clear about your goals
We all have different meanings and perspectives when we talk about the future. For most people future is all about their career; for some, it could be about their retirement plan, and the list goes on.
If you are part of the majority and wary of your career, be sure to clearly define what it is that your career goals are. “I want to be the best heart surgeon by the time I am 40” is surely a much clearer goal than “I want to be a doctor one day.”
The first is very specific and quantifiable, and the second is a bit vague with no deadline. Use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) principle when setting goals.
Carry out your SWOT analysis
It is often the case that we want to achieve specific goals in life but don’t know how to achieve these goals.
A very good starting point is to carry out a critical analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). Make sure you do it in writing and do not rush; all your subsequent planning will rely on this SWOT.
Let’s say you want to be a heart surgeon by age 40. As part of your SWOT analysis, you realized a weakness you do not have the funds required to finance your studies. As big a problem as it sounds, you at least know a hurdle you need to overcome.
You can consider options such as securing a scholarship, finding work to start saving money and considering overseas universities where the course fees are significantly lower. You might need to adjust your goals a little bit, perhaps moving the 40 to 45 if that’s what a reasonable plan requires.
Have a plan in place
It naturally follows that you have a well-thought-of plan in place based on the SWOT analysis. The plan should be realistic and allow for breaks, social activities, and gaps to accommodate events/situations you cannot foresee, such as sickness.
You must follow the plan with discipline and review the plan to update and when required. Avoid any temptations to adjust your goals unless absolutely needed.
Related: How to Develop Self Discipline?
Having the plan in place and the knowledge that you are sticking to it will give you peace of mind and self-confidence; this will help you to avoid your fear of the future, making you stressed and anxious.
Seek help and support when needed
The ability to seek help and support when needed is often undervalued. If you struggle to reach out to others for help, you should mention that as a weakness in your SWOT and make sure your plan involves overcoming this weakness.
Make sure you have a mentor and a circle of friends/peers who support you in your life goals. Having an outside view is critical to the success of your own plans, even if you might sometimes decide to follow your intuition rather than the advice (assuming you have good reasons to).
If stuck badly, be prepared and unapologetic to seek help from others who are experienced and resourced to help.
Don’t let your fears overpower you
Fear of the future is a good servant but a bad master. You want your fear of the future to drive you toward the very best possible version of yourself.
However, if it’s making you anxious and stressed (despite taking the above-mentioned steps), then you will need to re-assess your strategy.
Make sure you are not doing any of the following:
- Have a goal that is not clearly defined or realistic.
- Have a plan that is unrealistic to follow, e.g., long working hours.
- Not taking any holidays.
- Compromising your mental or physical health, e.g., by not taking regular breaks or getting a good amount of sleep.
- Not asking for help even if needed.
- Spending more time worrying about the plan than working as per the plan.
If you are unsure, reach out to an experienced therapist for help. If you have a mentor, they can also advise you on what you need to change to regain control of the situation.
Certified Life and Weight Loss Coach, Spices & Greens
It’s normal to feel anxious about what lies ahead. After all, the future is full of unknowns. But for some people, this anxiety can become all-consuming, preventing them from living in the present and enjoying their lives.
If you’re struggling with fear of the future, there are a few things you can do to regain control.
Focus on the positive outcomes
First, it’s important to understand that your thoughts influence your emotions. So if you’re constantly dwelling on worst-case scenarios, it’s no wonder you’re feeling anxious.
Instead, try to focus just as much on the positive outcomes. What are the chances that everything will turn out okay? How likely is it that your worst fears will come true?
Keep things in perspective, and remember that worrying does not change the outcome of events.
Get clarity on the future you want
Second, it’s essential to get clarity on the future that you want. What are your goals and aspirations? Once you have a clearer picture of what you want, you can start to take steps toward making this future a reality.
Additionally, it’s helpful to mentally rehearse the future. Visualize yourself achieving your goals and imagine how you will feel once you reach them. By doing this, you can begin to reframe your fear as excitement and motivation.
Practice mindfulness and focus on the present
Finally, practice mindfulness. This means living in the present moment and accepting things as they are. Mindfulness can help you disengage from anxious thoughts about the future and focus on the here and now.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness, such as meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi. Start with something simple like taking a few deep breaths and focusing on your breath when you start to feel anxious.
With time and practice, you’ll be able to overcome your fear of the future and live a more peaceful, present-focused life.
Many people are paralyzed by their fear of the unknown and uncertainty of what is to come. Will the future bring difficulty or prosperity, blessing or cursing? No one truly knows.
However, there is hope if we reflect upon the wisdom we’ve gained from surviving our past to prepare ourselves for the unknown.
Chart your course
It has been said, “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.” That nugget of wisdom is invaluable to those who are petrified by the volatility and unpredictability of the future. Yet, it requires self-reflection to reconcile the fears you may carry with you today.
Case in point: Can you identify the thread of “plan and purpose” in your life? Whether you realize it or not, you go no place by accident, so all the difficulties you’ve endured over time have strengthened your resolve to face the future with confidence.
Trials are meant to teach you lessons you need to know for the future, so trace the thread of knowledge and wisdom you’ve gained through life’s challenges to prepare your heart and mind for whatever lies ahead.
Accept the unknown and whatever lies ahead
If you fear the future, it is likely because you’re unwilling to accept the unknown. You’ve likely been burned in the past, and those memories still haunt your mind today.
That is why perspective is vital to work past the mental roadblock of acceptance and ensure that no matter what happens, you’re ready to face the future because you’ve survived the past.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enjoy what lies ahead. Life may, in fact, get more difficult and troublesome before it gets better.
However, training your mind to accept whatever lies ahead, come what may, will enable you to face the future with peace of mind, heart, and spirit.
Trust the process
Everything you go through in life has meaning and purpose. It may not seem so now, but when you look back upon your life journey, you’ll recognize that what you learned previously shaped who you are today.
Therefore, if your perspective is focused on learning from your life experiences, you’ll counter your fear with confidence that what lies ahead will only make you stronger.
Positive thinking can move psychological mountains if you don’t hide from the storms you’re facing but recognize that the greatest area of peace and contentment is directly at the center of the trial.
Case in point: The eye of a hurricane is ironically where the storm is most calm, so stay committed to remain at the center of your trial, and you’ll find the peace that transcends all understanding, regardless of what the future brings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I fear the future?
Fear of the future can stem from a variety of reasons, and it can be unique to each individual. Some common reasons include:
• Past experiences: If you’ve had negative experiences in the past, it can shape your perspective and make you more fearful of what’s to come.
• Lack of control: The feeling of not having control over what will happen in the future can be scary.
• Uncertainty: The unknown can be unsettling, and the future is inherently uncertain.
• Perfectionism: If you have high expectations for yourself and the future, it can be easy to become overwhelmed and fear that you won’t be able to meet those expectations.
• Trauma: Traumatic experiences can leave lasting effects and make you more fearful of the future.
Should I be scared of the future?
While it’s natural to feel some level of fear or apprehension about the future, it’s important not to let that fear consume or paralyze you. Instead, view the future as an opportunity for growth, learning, and personal development.
Consider adopting a proactive approach to addressing your concerns. Remember, the future is a series of choices and actions, and with the right mindset, you can shape it into something positive and fulfilling.
Is it normal to be scared of the future?
Yes, it is completely normal to feel scared or anxious about the future. Uncertainty is a part of life, and it is natural for humans to feel apprehensive about the unknown. What’s important is learning how to manage this fear and channel it into constructive actions.
How can I identify my fears about the future?
Identifying your fears about the future can be a challenging task, but it is a crucial step in overcoming them. Here are some ways you can do so:
• Keep a journal: Write down your thoughts and feelings about the future. Pay attention to what triggers negative emotions and what kind of scenarios you imagine.
• Reflect on your past experiences: Think about past events that have shaped your perspective and contributed to your fears.
• Talk to someone: Share your fears with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist. They can offer a different perspective and help you process your emotions.
• Mindfulness practices: Take a moment to pause and check in with yourself. What emotions are you feeling, and what are you thinking about the future?
By becoming more aware of your fears, you can start to understand them better and work towards overcoming them.
Can therapy help with fear of the future?
Yes, therapy can be incredibly helpful for managing fear of the future. A therapist can provide a safe and supportive environment to explore your thoughts and feelings about the future. They can also help you develop coping strategies and give you tools to manage your fears.
Types of therapy that may be particularly helpful for fear of the future include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and mindfulness-based therapies.
How can I develop a positive outlook on the future?
How can I develop a positive outlook on the future?
Developing a positive outlook on the future takes time and effort, but it is possible. Here are some tips to get you started:
• Practice gratitude: Focus on what you have in your life right now and what you’re thankful for.
• Surround yourself with positive people: Seek out friends and family members who have a positive outlook and encourage you to do the same.
• Set achievable goals: Write down what you want to achieve in the future, and make a plan to get there. This will give you a sense of purpose and direction.
• Engage in activities you enjoy: Doing things that bring you joy can help you feel more positive about the future.
• Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness can help you stay present in the moment and focus on what’s happening right now rather than worrying about the future.
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