Mental Toughness Moment: Overcoming fear |

Mental Toughness Moment: Overcoming fear

Dr. Haley Perlus

Dr. Haley Perlus
Courtesy photo

One of the things I love about sports psychology, mental toughness training, and performance psychology is that there are so many different tips, tricks, and tools to cope with our mental blocks. We can experiment with one, and if we like it, we keep it. If it doesn’t help for a particular situation, we put it aside and we choose to use another tool.

When it comes to dealing with fear, we’ve talked about many tools. We’ve talked about reframing. We’ve talked about distraction control. We’ve talked about relaxation. Today, I want to share another technique that might help you to cope with your fears.

As I’m creating this blog, I’m sitting on a dock not very high above the water. But it reminds me of the Red Bull Cliff Divers who stand on a cliff up about 88 feet above the water before they take the leap and free fly for about 3 seconds at speeds up to 85 52 mph. If you haven’t already realized it, Red Bull Cliff Diving is an extreme sport.

During COVID-19, the Red Bull Cliff Divers were on a 21-month break before an event was able to be scheduled. When they came back, many were terrified. It was so scary that athletes wondered why they were back there preparing to jump.

Then they used this technique. First, they decided that they wanted it more than feared it. That is the first question we all need to answer. Once you’ve answered “yes,” the next technique is to do it anyway. The athletes took their fears with them. One Red Bull Cliff Diver talked about fear as his best friend. They leap off the cliff with their best friend. They don’t create more drama than is necessary, and they don’t give their fears more attention than it is already getting. They accept the fear, embrace the fear and jump with it.

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Try this technique. Think about a situation where this technique might help you. Where are you afraid and need to feel the fear and do it anyway? See how far you can leap into your challenge. Want it more than you fear it, and then feel the fear and do it anyway.

Dr. Haley Perlus is a sports psychologist in the Vail Valley. To read more of her content, visit

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