By Mary Anne Porto

When did the scariest things in life stop being haunted houses and getting the mini instead of the snack-size candy? Because it’s spooky season, we’re thinking about our fears and the best ways to face them head on, instead of just putting a mask on them and pretending they don’t exist. This week, we asked you, the GNI community, what strategies you use to cope with, and even push through, your fears. Here are your tricks and treats:

How do you handle fear?

“I remind myself that fear is a useful emotion! It tells us that something we care about is at-risk, whether that’s rational or not. I try to identify what is at risk and think about why I don’t want to lose it. Usually I can transform the fear into an understanding that I’m headed toward a growing moment.” - Jenieze

“Naming it!! Acknowledging that what I am feeling is fear, that I am afraid of X because of Y, is such a big step in the right direction. Then addressing it in small steps, telling a friend, and remembering to breathe help get me through it.” - Megan

“Keep moving! I named my fear and inner critic ‘Bertha’ so when the anxiety starts to set in, I just say to myself ‘Shut up, Bertha.’” - Sarah

“Extremely over prepare, research, and have a plan — even if it doesn’t end up happening, it makes me feel better leading up!” - Georgia

“I meditate a lot and check in with myself to ask if it’s ONLY fear I’m feeling. If I’m only feeling fear and not excitement or another positive emotion, then whatever causes the fear is not for me and it’s time to walk away and disengage.” - Leslie

“The most painful but effective way to face it in my experience is to keep putting myself the midst of it until it is no longer scary.” - Diana

“I let myself acknowledge it by writing it down. Then it’s there and I can tuck it away and revisit if I want or forget about it. I try to take Michelle Obama’s advice of not making deductions based in fear but instead from thinking about what SHOULD happen. Basically I deal with my fear by being afraid and doing the work anyway. So far it’s worked every time.” - Lisette

“I remind myself of all the other hard scary things I’ve done in the past and tell myself that even if it sucks I want/need to do it and I CAN do it. And that it’s usually not as bad as I think it’s going to be!” - Kelsey

“I’m usually the type to avoid it, unless I know I can tackle it with full gusto and succeed. But avoidance doesn’t make it disappear. The fear just sits there, waiting for me. Even if I overthink, or plan for ten scenarios, it waits. I’ll do my best to talk it out with a friend, or at least talk to myself like I’m my own friend. And make a plan, and act. I ask myself: What’s the worst that could happen? Will that actually happen? How bad is the worst in the grand scheme of things? How would you move on?” - Eunice

“I try to make it real by writing it down or telling a friend or trusted person. Once I can identify it, it feels more solvable — not to say it goes away, but it’s at least no longer just snowballing into its worst form in my brain.” - Tyler

What helpful strategies do you use for coping with fear?

Image credit: Chyntia Juls via Unsplash