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How to Leave Fear Behind

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - Joe Kiedinger

Fear itself doesn’t exist. It’s really and truly just a construct of your mind. That’s why I like to refer to it with this acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR).

So, let’s break that down. The way we typically see fear is as a strong, unpleasant emotion caused by the anticipation of danger. It’s when we expect to be afraid of something that’s coming. Did you notice the words “anticipation” and “expect”? That means, our minds and bodies experience a feeling due to something that may or may not happen—something imaginary.

Now, that’s not to say actual fear doesn’t exist. People do experience dangerous situations in life that call for a true fear reaction. But, I’d argue that 99% of the situations in which we feel fear are totally unnecessary and constructed by our own minds.

You might have a big client presentation looming and keep flubbing on the explanation of your company’s newest technology, creating a sense of dread: You think, “I know I’m going to bomb it in the meeting tomorrow and the client is going to think I’m a complete clown.” As a result of these thoughts, your amygdala sends a distress signal to your hypothalamus, a command center of sorts, which sends adrenaline into your body preparing you to either fight or flee.

This stress hormone has very real physiological effects on your body. Your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate increase and your pupils dilate—causing detrimental health effects that compound over time.

So, how do you stop the cycle? First, observe what’s really going on. Look at the facts and don’t assign any emotions to the situation. See things for what they are rather than worrying about what might come. When you can look at events subjectively, rather than emotionally, you’ve begun to win the battle.


ACTION PLAN: Get after your stressors and take control of your life with our Organizational Health program.

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