Sunday, April 25, 2010

3 Exercises to Reduce Fear and Anxiety

This is another of those articles that bears repeating. In Star Trek V, the crew of the Starship Enterprise are taken over by a wayward Vulcan that's on a spiritual journey. He believed that freeing yourself of your fears, and the memories that haunt us is the key to eternal salvation. While a few of the crew buy into the notion, Captain Kirk, of course, does not. Being a Starfleet captain, he had learned to use and control his fears to his advantage. He said "I need my fears", it defined him.

That's Hollywood, but completely within the bounds of science. Few of us use fear to our advantage, we let it control us and make our decisions; it defines our lives and not necessarily in a good way. I'm speaking from experience here. Putting aside the Star Trek jab, fear is a serious problem for many of us, especially in this post-9/11 world. Think about your life before 9/11/2001, think about the daily and routine things you do differently. If you travel by air or rail you do. If you live in the Washington, DC area, it's in your face everywhere. Blocked streets, jersey walls, police and cameras everywhere, badges and security almost every where we work, shop, and play.

Fear defines where you work, how far you commute, and your ability to perform on the job. It defines your personal and professional relationships. It affects your ability to deal with customers, co-workers, and superiors. It defines your romances, your friends, and family relationships. It can and will make you a hermit, a shut-in; someone that wants to do nothing more than stay in bed on a beautiful summer day. It feels like a penalty box, but you'd rather stay in it and "take-em" for the team.

I've been there...

Coping with fear and anxiety is a "boot-strap" program. That's an old Army term that means you get back up on your feet, dust yourself off after being knocked down. That's easy to say, and way more difficult to do. Nonetheless, use the exercises in the article, seek professional help, and forget about the stigmas. You have to take care of you, so you can take care of your family, your job, and your responsibilities; continue to be a productive part of society.

3 Exercises to Reduce Fear and Anxiety

John Crawford

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