Face your fears

Overcoming fear can give you a huge feeling of success and a rush of adrenaline. But if it doesn’t go well it can end up making you even more scared and controlled by fear. So how do we overcome our fears in a healthy way?

Many riders, including myself, sometime feel fear during a ride.

My name is Helena Werner and I do a lot of work involving mental training and stress management, mostly within sports and how to perform during extreme situations

Fear is a very important thing; we need it to stay alive! It keeps us from doing or coming close to things that can kill us. Your body and mind’s task is to keep you alive and surviving something scary can give us a huge rush and that is exactly what many of us riders love and thrive on.

Have you ever been in love and felt that just the thought of the one you´re in love with gives you butterflies? Humans have a fantastic ability to imagine something and at the same time actually feel all the feelings that come with it, even if it doesn’t exist or has even happen yet. For riders, this means that the drop, race or gnarly section that you dread can scare you just thinking about it.

After years of crashing on my bike, and working as a police officer – it feels like I´ve become an expert at imagining things that can hurt me. If I ride down a rocky section my mind sets me off thinking that I could fall and knock out all my teeth, I can see myself landing short on that gap and I imagine the person I´m interrogating attacking me out of nowhere. So I´ve had a lot of help using these following tools!

- Take control of what you fear!

Let´s say you have a problem, a fear of something, and this problem is the size of a mouse. Your problem make you feel uncomfortable and a bit scared so you mentally lock it in your closet and decide to deal with it later. The more you think of this problem, your mouse, and the bigger it might get. When the day comes that you have to deal with it, your imagination have turned this mouse in to a lion. A lion can actually kill you, so opening that door will probably create a lot of fear and anxiety to keep you away from dealing with it!
So with this said, not dealing with it might create a bigger problem than it actually is. All that fear was a waste when you open the door and discover it´s just a tiny mouse! Take control and open that door!

- What do you need?

Are you lacking some skills to be able to do it? Make a plan step by step and then do it! If you want to race the World cup, or do a certain jump with on your bike, start with something that feels a little less scary and more comfortable for you at first.

- What is the worst that can happen?

Let your imagination go and let all hell break loose! When you are done with that, let it go and think of the most likely thing that will happen, and focus on how to deal with that.

Find strength in something that you´ve already overcome!

I bet that you´ve done something scary before. Fuel up with that feeling, how you did it and how it felt after. It doesn´t matter how small or big, just find that thing that worked and fuel up!

- Take a step back to find strength!

If you too feel scared, do something that you know will make you feel good. Find your flow and come back stronger for the next challenge!

Fear is individual!

I once had a session about fear with a group of chiefs within the police, all with years of experience of working on the beat. They looked at each other and one of them said “I´m never scared” and the others then agreed. I asked “Do you consider yourself to be brave?” And they all said yes! I said: “Without fear, you are not brave.” and it made them think. Most of them feel fear, just not what others might expect.

What others considered to be brave might not be scary at all to you. And that rider, who you consider to be brave, might not be scared at all. With that said – do not compare yourself with others, fear is very individual!

-Helena Werner

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