Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


Are You Addicted to Fear?

Learn how to let go.

If you don't make it your business to overcome fear, you better believe it'll try to overcome you. Most people are subservient to this emotion though they may not know it. I define fear as the emotional response to danger, perceived or real. What underscores fear in all its permutations is the feeling that you won't be all right.

Emotional Action Step from "Emotional Freedom". Harness Your Biology to Quiet Fear.

To short-circuit fear and turn off your flight-or-flight response, you'll need to train your brain to send chemicals to counteract them. Otherwise, fear and its hormones will make you crazed. In contrast, with a calm biology it's easier to find courage by practicing the combined techniques below to quiet your system.

To achieve immediate and longer term results:

• Eliminate caffeine, sugar, and other stimulants--these fuel the fight-or-flight response.
• Avoid people who reinforce your fear--they are biological irritants; stick close to emotional nurturers.
• Stay away from violent newscasts, traffic jams, arguments, or other stress inducers.

When you're in the grip of a fear-driven adrenaline rush, try these quick solutions.

• Use this Progressive Relaxation Technique: In a comfortable position, sitting or lying down, take a few deep breaths while letting your body go as limp as possible. When you're ready, begin by tightening the muscles in your toes...hold to a count of ten... then relax. Enjoy the relief of tension melting. Do the same with flexing your foot muscles, and move slowly through your entire body: calves, legs, stomach, back, neck, jaw, face, contracting and releasing each area.

• Immerse yourself in hot water to relax muscular tension as soon as possible.

Hope this article and the radio interview on Emotional Freedom In Stressful Economic Times below helps to take the edge off fear.

Judith Orloff, MD, is the author of Emotional Freedom NOW available in paperback and upon which this article is based. See her web site