What to Do Instead of Freaking Out: How to Overcome Your Fears

Harness your fear to create a life without limits.

Two goldfish swimming in their fish bowl with plants and rocks at the bottom

Comfort zones and fear of what lies beyond them can constrict our lives. It keeps us small, like a goldfish in a small bowl. In some people, a kind of claustrophobia can develop, a shortness-of-breath, an awareness of that limitation, and we call it anxiety. Because there really isn’t a bowl, it is our own rigid thinking that prevents us from growing into bigger better selves. Knowing how to overcome your fears is key to personal growth and thriving in high school, college, and beyond.

Become a warrior and conquer your fears.

There is no logical reason to stay trapped in a cycle of negative thinking. So when this starts to happen, instead of surrendering to it, start a fear project. What is one thing that really terrifies you? Public speaking? Mountain Biking? Geometry? Choose one and create a project in which you will have to face it head-on. Angela Ceberano was petrified of public speaking, and being on camera and so she started a YouTube channel where she would have to do just that every day.

Overcoming fears reduces anxiety. 

Beyond her vlog on designer handbags and traveling blowing up, the levels of anxiety she normally felt in her daily life dissolved. And now whenever she has a resurgence of anxious feelings, she starts a new fear project and urges us to do the same: “Use fear to motivate you and energize you to do the things you really want to do in your life.” 

At Bayhill High School, our alternative curriculum, projects, and active learning challenges help students to push the boundaries of their comfort zones to get over their fears and dissolve any anxiety they may have around learning.  

Students wait in line to deliver their speeches for Student Council on Election Day.

Our students overcome their fears.

Elise, overcoming her fear of public speaking on Election Day

Elise’s Story Overcoming her Fear of Public Speaking

One Bayhill student faced her fear of public speaking. Before running for student body president, Elise hated speaking in front of large groups. “I didn’t like reading aloud in class, doing presentations, even simple stuff like having conversations with new people was really scary for me. I have been nervous since freshman year about my senior presentation. But now, that I had to work with Ms. Satini to lead assemblies, student council meetings, and work at so many events at school, I feel totally fine about it. I feel a lot more comfortable at school now that I faced my fears.”

Annabelle overcoming her fear of heights while leaning over bridge railing

Annabelle’s Story of Overcoming her Fear of Heights

Annabelle had a fear of heights and was scared to go on the annual freshman field trip to the Ropes Course. “They made us do team building stuff before, and then we had to climb to the top of some really tall trees. All of my classmates held one side of the rope and the other side was attached to me.” At the top of the tree are obstacles to climb and jump between. “I felt totally scared. But in the end, I survived.” Through the ropes course challenge, teens like Annabelle not only face and overcome their fears, but learn to trust each other and themselves. 

Kamryn’s Story of Overcoming her Fear of Performing

Kamryn says that before joining band class she was terrified of singing in front of other people. “But every day we practice in class and I get over my fear. I know that if I can play the piano and sing in front of my band, then I can sing in front of any number of people and it will be fine.”

Two students practice playing the keyboard together in Band Class at Bayhill High School

The band is set to perform at AT&T Park’s EdRev on May 4th in front of hundreds of people. After playing there last year, Kamryn says she’s ready for anything. “If I ever have to do a job interview, or talk to a professor in college,” she says,  “I know I can do it and not be so shy.”

Come visit our alternative high school in Berkeley and observe the way we are transforming anxiety and helping our student to overcome their fears and create endless possibilities.

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