In the past few months multiple energy medicine clients have come to me seeking to overcome their fear. This request has been so prevalent that I wanted to address it in a way that may be helpful to other people too.

Fear is one of our greatest challenges in life. It keeps us from stepping forward in fullness. It quiets our true voice. It keeps us in the shadows and stops us from pursuing our deeper purpose. It often makes us want to hide. Or limit ourselves to only walking the safest path forward. When fear becomes generalized and creates a sense of overall anxiety, it can be paralyzing.

I’ve found that the following three steps can be highly effective for overcoming fear:

Step 1: Trace the origins of your deepest fears and release the associated emotional imprints.

Begin by tracking where your fears come from. Which situations provoke the greatest fear in you? What exactly are you afraid of in these situations? What do you see as the worst consequences or potential outcomes? Where does the fear live in your body?

Sometimes it is important to see the origination point of your fear (typically rooted in traumatic experiences from the past) and sometimes it is enough to simply release the energetic imprint associated with the fear whether or not you know where it came from.

What are energetic imprints? Energetic imprints are like stamps that leave an energetic mark on us when we’re unable to effectively process and release a difficult experience. They live within our energy field and can keep us stuck in negative reactive patterns, making it quite hard to change our habitual responses to familiar challenges.

If you’ve been working hard to consciously change your behavior but keep finding yourself reacting emotionally (as if something in your subconscious is taking over), you likely have an energetic imprint to release. Once an imprint is cleared you feel the freedom to react in a new and more conscious way when the same old triggers appear. You become more balanced. You’re no longer trapped in the grip of fear.

How can energetic imprints be removed? Energetic imprints can be released through (1) Work with an energy medicine practitioner* (this is important if they are deeply rooted); or (2) Intentional ritual in nature (if you are conscious of what you need to release).

*Please feel free to reach out if you need help identifying and releasing energetic imprints.

Working with the Four Elements can be very effective for releasing imprints. If you tend to feel a lot of sadness, grief or blockage then I recommend working with water. If you feel anger and frustration you may want to use fire. If the imprint has to do with finances, structures or harsh realities you may turn to earth. If it’s a thought pattern work with air.

You can create your own ritual by carefully and intentionally transmitting the energetic imprint to a fitting object from nature and then transforming it by throwing it into the fire, burying it in the earth, dropping it into the river or sending it to the wind. What’s important is that you are able to transmit the imprint, witness it release, and focus all of your intent on letting it go.

How does this affect fear? Releasing emotional imprints will lessen your irrational subconscious reactions to many experiences. It will help eliminate a sense of generalized anxiety. It will not, however, eliminate all fear from your life forever.

Fear seems to be an intrinsic part of the human condition and will never fully disappear. It helps us avoid feeling pain and loss, and keeps us from wandering into highly dangerous situations. So when it arises, you can simply see it and acknowledge it and pay attention to what it’s telling you. Weigh the risk of the situation with a calm state of mind, and react in a balanced or measured way.

The point here is that your fears don’t need to disappear entirely and it isn’t realistic to think they will. But by releasing the imprints you’ve calmed them down to a point where they become manageable. Now the second step becomes critical.

Step 2: Commit to moving forward with courage.

There is great power in acting from a place of courageousness. This is when you see and acknowledge your fear, and choose to continue forward with conviction.

How to find courage? Creating a false sense of bravado or suppressing your fear is not what we’re talking about here. I believe courage is most powerful and effective when it is anchored in a deep knowing of what is true and right. When your actions and choices align with your most deeply held values and beliefs, it becomes easy to step beyond fear.

If something is causing you a lot of anxiety or fear but it isn’t very important to you (i.e. not anchored in deeper purpose), just don’t do it. Save your energy and reserve your courage for all of those things that are truly important to you and can bring greater joy or meaning into your life.

Practicing Courage. Courage grows stronger with practice. Each time you choose and act with courage, you diminish fear. Practice choosing courage in ways that make you shine brightly in the world. Step forward with courage toward your greater purpose. Speak up clearly when you know something is right or wrong. Over time your fears drop away and your strength is reinforced.

Step 3: Focus Your Thoughts on the Positive.

My teachers often speak of the importance of what we choose to focus on – where we direct our gaze. Energy follows thought and form follows energy. So when we focus our thoughts and intentions on positive things, they appear more readily in our lives. Positivity begins to surround us as a buffer to the fear.

Similarly the same can happen if we focus on the negative, which is how we unconsciously feed and strengthen and reinforce our fears. Once you’ve released your energetic imprints, you’ll find that your thought patterns no longer revert to negativity and fear by default.

An important step in the process of freeing yourself from fear is simply choosing to focus your thoughts on what you love, enjoy, appreciate, and want to become or manifest. Give thanks for the immense beauty in the natural world and for all the positive things you do have in your life. Feed your hopes for the future. Nourish yourself with the things you love. Practice gratefulness and bring beauty into your life.

Follow these three steps and in time you’ll realize that your fears have lost their grip on you and you are free to thrive and live your best life!