“I see it as an alarm — like a smoke detector — a good alarm isn’t always silenced,” added Dr. Gillihan ready for it.
Accepting fear can help you face your fears.
If you find yourself overestimating the risk of something terrible happening, start by recognizing your fear and looking at it objectively, said Joel Minden, a clinical psychologist at the Chico Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Chico, Calif., and the author of “Show Your Fear That’s Boss.
Remind yourself that this is the emotional response that occurs when you expect bad things to happen, he said, an awkward annoyance, “almost like my brain is a kid throwing a tantrum right now.”
Be patient and kind to yourself, he said, as you would with a friend, as you take small, manageable steps to face your fears.
“This is an opportunity to learn how to accept and tolerate fear,” he added.
Todd B. Kashdan, a psychology professor and director of the Well-Being Lab at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, had gathered the courage to finally try outdoor rock climbing in Arizona; he started small by climbing the rock climbing wall at his gym.
On his first try outside, his hands were sweating so much that the chalk wouldn’t stay on them. One of the guides gave him a choice: you can stay on the ground – alone, in the middle of the desert – or you can climb and take your fear with you.
“My heart exploded,” said Dr. Kashdan, co-author of “The Upside of Your Dark Side,” a book exploring the usefulness of anger, fear, and doubt. “But I had a very clear task and I knew I could do it with the fear because this expert guide told me he did it, people are doing it, you’re going to do it.”