Stress Managment: Worry - Anxiety - Fear

Jeff Herring

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Anxiety and its partner, worry, ’ are specific forms of fear. They can also be some of the most insidious and crippling emotions.

Worry can be useful if it motivates you to take action to make changes. Worry then becomes action.

Worry becomes a problem when we believe the big lie that “if only I worry enough about this, it will be OK"

The best definition I've ever heard of anxiety goes like this:

"Anxiety is when we mentally fastforward - to some possible future problem and our emotions catch up to match up our picture. "

In other words, anxiety is often caused by repeatedly picturing negative outcomes and then dragging our emotions along for the ride.


All of us must deal with fear in our lives. As a matter of fact, people who tell me they are never afraid tend to scare me.

It's my experience that they are lying, or worse.

Fear is so common that we can identify several general fears that are familiar to all of us. Here is a partial list of fears I hear about regularly in my office:

  • Fear of rejection. From the nervous teen-age boy who hangs up the phone when the girl answers, to the adult who is afraid to ask for a raise, fear of rejection keeps us from asking for what we want.

  • Fear of failure.

  • Fear of success.

  • Fear of being smothered or fear of being abandoned in elationships.

    While there are certainly times when fear is an appropriate response, fear many times simply holds us back from accomplishing what we want.

    Here are two tips for dealing successfully with fear.

  • Remember that courage is not having no fear at all. Courage is feeling the fear and proceeding anyway.

  • One of the best ways of dealing with fear that I've found comes in the form of an acronym: Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.

    What “false evidence" are you allowing to limit your life? What might that mean when you examine some of your fears?

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