Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) is a strategy used in many industries (sales, advertising, marketing, public relations, politics, religion), to control people by giving negative information to appeal to fear.
We experience fear, uncertainty, and doubt from time to time. Emotions are valid. Emotions of fear, uncertainty, and doubt, may be part of a positive situation if you’re trying something new, pushing your limits, and reaching outside of your comfort zone. But left unchecked, fear, uncertainty, and doubt can affect us negatively. We can develop negative self-talk, a downward spiral of thoughts, and reinforce negative core beliefs. When your internal voice says, “You aren’t good enough, you’ll make a fool of yourself, there’s no way you can do this.” That’s FUD. Listening to the voice of fear, uncertainty, and doubt erodes our confidence, motivation, and willingness to move forward in life. Negative self-talk and insecure core beliefs keep us from taking the leap and giving our all.
Here are some steps to take to address fear, uncertainty, doubt.
Because breahing is so basic, it is one of the most overlooked and under utilized tools that we have to calm down. Taking slow deep breaths can turn down the body’s fight or flight response. Start practicing breathing relaxation. Take 5 minutes throughout your day to simply breath to begin countering the effects of FUD.
FUD often leads us to view situations, people, and life as threatening or anxiety provoking. Unfortunately, viewing something as a threat decreases our optimal capacity for cognitive and physical performance as our body’s resources are diverted toward the fight or flight response. We get reactive, tunnel vision, panicky. If you notice FUD affecting your mindset and triggering your anxiety, utilize that heightened state and increased energy into something positive. Get a good workout in. Clean and complete tasks and chores.
Identify, Externalize, and Reframe
Get your thoughts and emotions out of your head and onto paper. Get a piece of paper and create two columns. In the first column, write down negative thoughts you have about yourself, your ability to succeed, and what the negative voice in your head tells you. In the second column, write down a counter argument for each negative thought you wrote down. Counter arguments can simply be the opposite, positive thoughts.
Visualize life without FUD
For some people, FUD becomes their default. As much as they want to life with contentment, they don't even know what that would look like. Start by visualizing a life a life without FUD. Visualize placing your FUD on clouds or leaves and watching them blow away. Visualize FUD as heavy weights, suitcases, and bags that you've been carrying and that now you can set down. Visualize FUD like the volume on a stereo that you can turn down and turn off. We cannot control what emotions or thoughts enter our minds, but we can do our best to control how we engage with them. Our minds are powerful. Visualization is an effective skills to begin imagining life without FUD.
Don't expect yourself to eliminate FUD right away. These strategies are like any muscle, and need to be practiced and built over time to work best. Practice these skills in your every days life to give yourself the confidence that these strategies can work for you when you most need them.
FUD is going to keep popping up in new situations as we venture through life. Just know that the more you face your fear, uncertainty, and doubt, the more you will be able to overcome it.