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Fear is a basic, intense, primitive human emotion that is designed to motivate us to avoid danger. According to American Psychological Association (APA), fear is aroused by the detection of an imminent physical or psychological threat, involving an immediate reaction that triggers a set of physiological changes (e.g., rapid heartbeat, redirection of blood flow, tensing of the muscles, etc.) resulting in a universal biochemical response. Fear is incredibly complex, as it can be caused by circumstances, thoughts, past experiences, trauma and more. Everyone fears different things, at different rates and responds in different ways. Although experiencing fear is inevitable, there are certain ways we may inadvertently increase the chances that our biggest fears might come true. To help deflect your fears and avoid them turning into reality, consider the following suggestions:

  • Be mindful of your reactions: Sometimes the fear of something may causes us to react in a way that increases the chances that our fear might come true.
  • Remain curious: Replace the word fear with curiosity: When you feel fear, take that as a reminder to bring curiosity to the moment. Diffuse your fears by remembering that your fear is simply an emotional signal that something new is afoot. 
    • Shift your focus: Rather than holding your biggest fears at the forefront of your mind, shift your focus to more positive thoughts. 
  • Avoid exhaustion: Sleep is a fundamental necessity of life, and even a minor sleep deficit can have a significant effect on your physical and mental health. Prioritize your sleep hygiene as poor sleep habits can affect your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle), which can have a negative impact on your mood. 
    • Exercise daily: Integrating regular exercise into your routine helps with releasing endorphins (the hormones in one’s body associated with feeling pleasure), increases the production of melatonin (the body’s main sleep-inducing hormone), and can help you remain physically fit.
  • Amp up your distress tolerance skills: Distress tolerance is one of the four key areas, also known as modules, that make up the psychotherapeutic intervention known as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Distress tolerance skills are short-term coping strategies that are intended to help individuals learn tools and techniques to get through challenging situations when emotions are heightened and avoid destructive behavior. Rather than becoming overwhelmed by or hiding from unwanted emotions, it teaches individuals sets of crisis survival skills to assist in finding meaning in, accepting, and tolerating distress, which can be helpful in diminishing fears and instrumental in navigating them, if and when they arise.

For Information and Support

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


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