Three things to do with fear

Find its core. This can be useful with fears of all types: it took me most of my life, for example, to learn that I wasn’t afraid of heights, but of falling. But it’s especially potent when your fear is about something more nebulous and emotional, where a specific fear can be a front for something larger. If the thing you feared happened, what would happen next? And after that? (If my lover leaves me, I’ll die alone.) If you were or did the thing you fear, what kind of a person would you be? (If I followed my passion, I’d be irresponsible.)

Appreciate it. Most of our fears aren’t crazy. Many of them arise from truly difficult or painful parts of our experience. Take a minute to notice the real pain that this fear is trying to protect you from.

Breathe into it. At the very least, this will slowly make space around your fear and move you one step closer to being able to say “oh, it’s you again” when it rears its head, instead of running away screaming. Sometimes, just being with the fear may even lessen it. Either way, being present — even if only for a moment — takes power from fear and gives it back to you, the one to whom it rightly belongs.

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