Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

What is it?

It’s one of the fundamental human emotions we all experience when faced with the threat of harm either physical or emotional, real or imagined. Traditionally fear is regarded as a “negative emotion” but it actually serves an important role in keeping you safe.

What is it telling you?

Fear is alerting you of a potential and imminent threat. It’s telling you to focus and be ready to act in the face of danger, if that danger is real. If the threat is imagined, it’s telling you to reevaluate your perception and interpretation of a situation. Your learning to cope with the fear of an imagined threat is an invitation to grow as a human being.

How to manage it?

Pay close attention and evaluate if your fear is real or imagined by looking at the evidence. If it’s real, act on it now.

If it’s imagined:

  • Before anything else – BREATHE! Breathe slowly and deeply several times to calm down both your body and your mind.
  • Avoid avoidance. If you face your fear, it will lose its power over you and it will fade.
  • Be kind to yourself as you would to a loved one going through a similar experience.
  • Practice being OK with things being out of your control.
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation. They are a very powerful tool to overcome fear and anxiety.