Overcoming Fear and Anxiety


November 9, 2018

There are three kinds of people in the world: 

(1) those who have fear and anxiety and admit it;

(2) those who have fear and anxiety and don’t admit it

(3) those who truly don’t have fear and anxiety, but cause it in others! 

And often, a (1) and a (2) will end up marrying a (3), but that’s another blog for another day.

So this blog is for the (1)’s.   If you do struggle with anxiety and are courageous enough to admit it, you know how difficult it can be.  Fearful thoughts popping in your head in the middle of the night, difficulty making decisions, second-guessing yourself, and then severe issues such as anxiety disorders and panic disorders can make life miserable.  Here are some practical tips to help lessen and even resolve fear and anxiety.

Set the bar at “manageable anxiety” and not “zero anxiety.” 

A life with zero fear and anxiety is not a healthy life.  Would you want to be married to someone who doesn’t care enough about you to worry about your relationship, your health and how your job is going?  Sometimes anxiety just means that you care about yourself or someone else.

See the value in some anxiety. 

You need your anxiety.  When you wake up on the morning of the first of the month, you need to be concerned that you pay your rent or mortgage.  Your anxiety keeps you from saying, “I had a long day yesterday, I’ll call in sick and go to a matinee.”  Fear can be your friend, at decent levels.

Get to the “why.” 

Instead of trying to stop feeling anxious, move toward the feeling and not away from it.   Ask yourself why you are feeling it at this particular time.  Often, when you understand the root, you are halfway to getting it resolved.  For example, you are anxious about keeping your job because your boss told you that your performance was lacking.  However, if it’s a long-term job and you have a good history, and your boss said nothing more than that, that anxiety is probably irrational.  So why would you have that fear?  For many people, it’s because they aren’t able to feel secure about their talents, their competencies and their value in the workplace.  So when there is a glitch like a negative performance review, they forget who they are and what they can do.  If that is the “why”, you will feel some relief almost immediately.

Never, never, never suck it up and isolate.  Fear is like a cyst.   It metastasizes in the darkness, and it shrinks in the laser beam.  Use the laser beam of the right people in your life to tell them your fears.  Let them be “People Fuel” for you, and that will calm you down.

Manageable fear doesn’t get in the way of a great life.  Keep the balance.

John Townsend, Ph.D.

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