Amy Rees Anderson

Four Ways To Reduce Fear

In the article “Love Is Medicine for Fear: Life, especially pandemic life, is full of threats and uncertainty. When we feel afraid, bringing more love into our lives can help.” written by Arthur Brooks in The Atlantic, he explains:

“More isolation plus more hostility equals less love; less love equals more fear. To reduce fear, we need to bring more love into our lives.” He then suggests four ways to get started on bringing more love into your life which reads:

1. Confess your fear to someone you trust. Many people carry their fears stoically, never sharing them openly with others. Hidden fear often expresses itself obliquely and in unproductive ways, such as hostility or aloofness. It is also a missed opportunity: To confess fear, while scary in and of itself, is an act of vulnerability that stimulates the love you crave, in yourself and in the ones you allow to comfort you.

2. Make your love overt. Today, tell someone you love her or him. Not someone you would normally say that to, but rather to a friend or family member for whom this would not feel natural. The point here is to break a barrier of expression for yourself but in a way that is relatively safe. The more you say “I love you,” the less strange or scary it will feel. It is a small act of courage. The payoff is not just more closeness, but also an increase in your fortitude, which you might need for the next step.

3. Take a risk. Confess your love or admiration for someone who doesn’t know that you have these feelings. This requires particular courage in the case of romantic love, because the risk of personal rejection feels so high—and is even harder if you have no practice with this kind of rejection. It is a direct confrontation of fear with love. But even telling someone you’d like to be friends, or telling a co-worker you admire them, can feel risky, because the feeling could be unrequited. Do it anyway.

If you want, blame the coronavirus: Say the lockdown has made you a little crazy. Or tell the person why you are doing it, and let them comfort you (and see where it goes from there).

4. Love your enemies. This is perhaps the hardest piece of advice, in our polarized ideological climate. But it may also result in an enormous payoff to you personally as well as to the broader culture of contempt we have come to inhabit. Try resolving for a week not to attack anyone over differences of opinion, in person or on social media. Disagreement is fine, but try to have those conversations with understanding and kindness.I realize that this advice runs counter to today’s culture. If you think someone is wrong, your instinct may be to hate more, to fight harder. But you can’t insult anyone into agreement, and you probably have little or no real power to force others to do your will. Furthermore, antagonism, the opposite of an expression of love, will likely only make your fears worse.

What I’m suggesting isn’t easy. Showing love in the face of fear isn’t a natural reaction. Fear instinctively provokes fight or flight, not tenderness and affection. But remember: Instinct doesn’t care if you are happy. You need to violate your instincts if you want to build a better, less fearful life.

…Walk toward your fear. Face it, feel it, and love courageously.”

HE’S SO RIGHT!!! The four ways to reduce fear are love, love, love and love 🙂

~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )

1 Comment

  • Patrick Milligan says:

    Each of these four points are spot on in every way. As a former combat military officer, these principles outlined by Amy Anderson are what allowed me to move forward in a healthy manner and continue to embrace life and to help others do the same. I can’t imagine this being said better and that I can wholly endorse.

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