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Embrace the New

Raise your hand if you have ever talked yourself out of doing something you wanted to do!

Raise your hand if you have ever wanted to try something new, but anxiety, fear or the unknown held you back!

Most people have experienced Neophobia (Fear of trying something new) at some point in their life. Allowing ourselves to try new things is often frightening because by definition it's unfamiliar. Unfamiliarity often sounds the alarm bell "danger—potentially unsafe." However, the reality is, most of the things we fear don't actually come to pass. What's more, we're often unable to anticipate the good things that do occur as a result of our trying something new. I would like to share with you 4 strategies to implement when you are presented with experiencing something new! After all, are you really living if fear, anxiety, uncertainty is ruling your lives?

1. Curiosity and Awareness

Approaching experiences with open curiosity. If you are struggling to do/try new things, start with seeking to gain awareness, in a non self-judgment way, of why you are struggling. Try asking yourself, is there something holding me back from this new experience? Is the experience in alignment with my values?

a. Check in with yourself by asking: when I am thinking about this new thing, what do I notice inside myself? What emotions and thoughts do I have?

2. Willingness to Allow Discomfort – and other hard feelings

How willing are you to experience the discomfort of trying something new? Are you willing to take a risk and be a little vulnerable and lean into whatever feelings (discomfort, anxiety, uncertainty) you may be feeling? The truth is a lot of people want to try new things and have different experiences, but the fear of uncertainty and discomfort will keep them stuck. When you are trying new things, it is quite normal to feel several hard feelings (not good/bad) feelings – but reframing them as hard makes it feel less scary.

3. Mindset

Most people want to “do and experience” new things in life. However, they are married to self-imposed limiting beliefs and negative thought traps that hold them captive.

Examine possible negative thought patterns that may be holding you back from experiences. Three common negative thought traps are: mind reading or fortune telling, catastrophizing, and emotional reasoning. Mind reading or fortune telling mindset is when you jump to a conclusion of what the outcome will be without having all the facts. You are predicting that things will turn out badly in the future and so you talk yourself out of new experiences. Another negative thought trap we fall into is Catastrophizing – this is when we predict that things will turn out absolutely horribly (worst case scenario), without having evidence for this. We end up talking ourselves out of whatever new and exciting thing we were facing. Lastly, emotional reasoning is when we believe something is true because it feels true. Feelings have become the evidence for the truth, in the absence of any objective evidence.

4. How do you want to Show up

Asking yourself “how do I want to show up in this situation” and then doing it through the lens of compassion, grace and courage. Remember, it’s not an all/nothing, good/bad approach when you are presented with new experiences. Reminding yourself that what you are doing is a hard thing and you are doing the best you can in this moment. Work to keep yourself connected to the present and the experience you are engaging in and if the negative thought traps start reappearing, because they probably will, gently notice that thought and choose to let it go.

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