Mind Over Matter: Conquering Fears

By Taylor Mead, Regular ContributorSeptember 4, 2015

Every individual has his or her own fear(s). Whether it be spiders, new situations, or, in my case, dark water, there comes a point when we all have to conquer the things that scare us most.

A few days ago, for instance, while I was on vacation with my family, we decided to go swimming in Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida. Beautiful, clear spring water is what I was promised, so I went for it. Upon getting there, they told us we had to kayak or canoe to the spot where the river turned into the springs, and I was totally fine with that.... until I saw the water.

It was dark and full of algae, rocks, and tree stumps, and I was terrified to say the least. As we paddled down the river, I became more and more nervous. The canoe was shaking back and forth, and I was so scared we would tip over and end up in the water. I panicked.

But, as we turned the last bend in the river toward the springs, my nerves began to calm. We made it to our destination. I made it.


image via tidewaterperform.com

I was so happy to have gotten there and to have survived the river. And now, being there felt ten times more rewarding than it would have if I had I just gotten out of the car and jumped into the springs.

I had faced one of my greatest fears, and it made the 72 degree water of the springs that much nicer.

According to Psychology Today, “Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn't feel it, we couldn't protect ourselves from legitimate threats.” In other words, fear is a necessary part of survival. Not surprisingly though, it also states, “Often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason.”

My unwillingness to swim, kayak, or canoe in dark water could have caused me to “hang back,” instead of doing what I had gone there to do, but I knew I wanted to go to the springs; so I pushed myself to do so. I did not regret it for one second.

Similarly, Heather Duke, an 18-year-old from Beverly Hills, Florida, faced her fear of meeting and talking to new people by volunteering at her local Boys and Girls Club once a week when she was 17-years-old. Now about a year later, she still works there with children ages five to seven and loves it.

“It felt great to have conquered that fear. I couldn’t stop talking about it,” Duke stated about overcoming some of the things that scare her most. “I can do anything as long as I try and don’t back down.” And she’s right.

Every time I am scared to do something and push myself to do it anyway, I am always surprised by how good it feels to not give up.

Duke said it perfectly herself; it really does feel great to conquer your fears, because a lot of times those moments of success are the most memorable.

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” — Babe Ruth

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About Taylor

TAYLOR_MEAD_writer_bio.jpgTaylor is a rising senior at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York where she is studying Communication & Media Studies with a Journalism concentration and a Spanish minor. When she's not writing or editing for class and extracurriculars, you can find her spending time with friends and family, participating in activities with the Smart Girls Group at Fordham University, or eating. Her passions include writing, volunteering, and empowering young women to be their best, most confident selves.


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