How to cultivate Courage: 9 tools that help you act bravely

How to cultivate courage

Nine tools towards braving fear and acting helpfully

There‘s enough that incites fear in me – like balancing at heights, certain jumps or actually publishing stuff I created. Experiencing anxiety and doubts also prompted me to research into & test what allows us to act better despite fear.
The results you’ll find in the below Armoury of Courage

Science, Weapons And Tactics

It’s not that firefighters, soldiers or surgeons don’t have fear, but rather that they trained their brains to focus on their mission even in the presence of fear. How?

Fear is a signal in our brain, as are other emotions. It‘s fired by the amygdala, a part of our brain that processes quicker than reason (cortex) thus is usually responsible for your first emotional response.

This first emotion can be checked by reason or overriden by a stronger emotion. Our brain always processes the strongest signal first.

We in turn can choose which emotion to boost by consciously shifting our attention towards the one we want to strengthen. (Tale of two Wolves)

Likewise, we can overpower fear when something else becomes more important to us. Like rescuing someone, or any goal or emotion that’s relevant enough.

Without fear there can’t be courage

Courage is looking fear right in the eye and saying, „Get the hell out of my way, I‘ve got things to do.“

Courage, also refered to as bravery or valour, can be defined as the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation.

In one of its earliest forms, the word courage also meant „To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.“ (Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me)

All of which usually strikes some degree of fear.

Courage hence is not absence of fear, but resistance to or even mastery of fear. Which grows with the judgement that something else is more important to you than your fear is, thus your will to face the situation becomes stronger than the feeling of fear that holds you back.

Consequently, you don‘t have to be fearless to be brave!

Quite the reverse. As Ambrose Redmoon elaborates: „To take action when one is not afraid is easy. To refrain when afraid is also easy. To take action regardless of fear is brave.“

So let‘s be thankful for feeling afraid, for this is half of what it takes for acting courageous. ;)

“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use.”

Can we train our brain so we’ll act bravely?

Yes, our brains can adapt if we train them to. Research shows that breaking old patterns of thinking to learn new ones can change amygdala activation. In his book Life Unlocked: 7 Revolutionary Lessons to Overcome Fear, S.S. Pillay states: „…it takes more than seven repetitions to learn a new way of thinking…“

In other words: We gotta practice a bit. If we keep at it though, we can rewire our brain even so far that the new, wished for reactions become our new nature.

Armory of Courage

Nine tools towards braving fear and acting helpfully

If one of the outlines strikes a chord, click to expand and read more

It’s alright to be afraid

You can only be brave when scared. So let‘s be grateful for feeling afraid, for this is half of what it takes for acting courageous

Admit you’re able

When afraid, rather than thinking or saying 'I can't', be honest with yourself & admit that you can, just might not be willing to risk imagined consequences

Breath, Smile, Tribe

If you feel paralyzed, smile. Our brain takes smiles as evidence that everything’s alright & signals our nervous system to unwind. Even a faked smile helps

Love yourself

Love is a strong, nurturing emotion that helps supersede fear. Loving someone gives you courage. You can make this strength permanent by loving yourself.

Still your mind

Meditation helps to calm and control our thoughts. Even 5 minutes in the morning can make you feel more serene and clear throughout the day.

Give yourself credit

Past accomplishments sponsor confidence thus help gather courage towards further undertakings. Appreciate and give yourself credit for what you tackled.

Act full-assed

Be honest with yourself. If something is important to you, convince yourself you are able to, and do what it takes

Live consciously

Self-Esteem is the reputation we acquire with ourselves. We can raise it by being honest with ourselves, taking responsibility & thinking independently

Repeat, evolve, enjoy

Find out what it takes, break down the journey into small steps, take the first right away. Make practice a habit. Repeat, evolve & enjoy

Courage is the most important quality
since it is the one that allows you to consistently practice all others.

What’s your experience?

Which is your fav piece in from the above armory? There’s something you like to add? Experiences, stories or quotes that come to mind on the subjects? If you care to share, drop me a message, on facebook or via email. I‘m looking forward to hearing from you.