MindOverMatter-2Any time I was afraid of something or felt my body giving in to illness, I remember my mom saying, “mind of matter”. Unfortunately, that statement isn’t very true when it comes to getting sick. I mean, I’ve successfully held off vomiting a few times, but always succumbed to it not matter how hard I thought I wouldn’t let myself get sick. As far as conquering fears though, I think this is definitely true. It all comes back to the mind being incredibly powerful.

It’s amazing how your mind can tell you to be afraid of something and your mind can then tell your mind that you’re not. That seems like it makes no sense, but it really does! The brain is the only organ that uses itself to understand itself. That’s crazy! One part of your brain is like “You should be afraid of that cliff!” and another part of your brain is like “Don’t tell me what to do. I got this.” Sometimes you should listen to the part of your brain that’s telling you to be careful, but sometimes you need to listen to the part that’s telling you “YOU GOT THIS!”

I’m afraid of a few things: spiders, the dark, and heights are probably the worst. I haven’t encountered many spiders since moving to the Bay Area and when I do, I have my boyfriend deal with it. The funny thing about being afraid of the dark is… I can’t sleep with lights on. CONUNDRUM! If I’m in bed, I’m ok. I have a boyfriend, a dog, and a cat around me that will keep me safe from the Boogie Man, but if I’m alone… I keep a trail of lights on behind me, shades open for moonlights, and I make sure the closet door is closed. I know I’m not the only one that needs to have closets closed. Don’t act like you don’t. There’s the mind being funny again. One part of it knows there is nothing in there but a mess of clothes and one part is telling you if you leave it open demons will get you while you sleep. Unfortunately, I’ve sided with the part that is concerned about demons.

Although I haven’t quite mastered the concept of mind over matter in regards to spiders and closet demons, I have used it to conquer my fear of heights. I am in no way close to skydiving or base jumping, but I am much more comfortable with climbing. I love obstacle course races and they love having you climb walls, ropes, nets and steep hills. I always felt like such a hack when I would skip obstacle after obstacle because I was too afraid to climb it. At some point, I told my mind to get it together. Everyone else around me had no problem getting over the cargo net and I’m tired of being the one that’s shaking like a leaf. Little by little, race by race, I was able to skip less obstacles and get over walls and nets faster and faster. There are still a few height obstacles that get me weak in the knees, but the more I tell myself that I CAN do this, the more my mind lets me. It’s an absolutely incredible feeling when you can conquer a fear without even acknowledging it any more. My mind has stopped fueling my doubts about heights, now I just need it to stop fueling my irrational fear of closet demons. Baby steps.