Uncertainty fills many people with fear and anxiety. Fear is a natural response that our bodies developed over time to protect us from danger. When we encounter something we don’t know, our brain warns us to stay away in order to stay safe.

Yet in the modern world, where most of us no longer have to flee from predators in the woods, our fears are more abstract. We now have fears about health, money, our children’s future, our own future and the future of the planet. But living in a constant state of fear and anxiety is no life. Learning how to manage fear of the unknown is crucial to your health and long-term happiness.

Ask yourself if your fear makes sense

Fear is often irrational. Ask yourself what exactly you’re afraid of. Write down what your fears are and then some possible solutions. You may find that when you explore your fears in-depth, you realize that they either don’t make sense or can be resolved with only a few steps.  

Take a step outside your comfort zone

Your comfort zone is your safe space where you feel completely at ease. And while some people enjoy breaking out of their comfort zones, others never want to experience anything outside of it. Surrounding yourself with familiar people and things is comfortable, but it could contribute to your fear of the unknown.

An effective way to manage your anxiety is to embrace what and who you don’t know. Leaving your comfort zone to meet new people and try new things will show you that the unknown can lead to a positive experience. Start with baby steps, like trying a new recipe or going to a new place, and then work your way up to something more daring.

Zero in on the positives

A positive mindset can do wonders for managing fear. Instead of focusing on why you’re afraid, or on all of the negative possibilities, focus on the good things in your life. Think about memories that make you happy or of the people and things you’re grateful for. Take a couple of minutes each day to write down what makes you feel happy or grateful. When you recognize the positives in life, your fears and anxieties won’t seem so massive and scary.

Find a productive distraction

A great way to manage your fears is to do things that help clear your mind. Life will always have unknowns, so finding hobbies or pastimes that make you feel positive and fulfilled is important. Here are some ideas:

  • Pick up meditation
  • Get some exercise
  • Read a book or join a book club
  • Start a journal
  • Call up an old friend
  • Volunteer at a nonprofit, either in person or remotely
  • Listen to music or a podcast you enjoy

Speak up and ask for help

If your fears and anxieties start to interfere with your daily life, speaking with a therapist can help you sort through your feelings and develop coping mechanisms. A professional can also help you recognize why you’re fearful in the first place. Once you have a better understanding of the source of your anxiety, you can work toward eliminating that fear.

Worries and fears rarely make an adverse situation better — in fact, they can make it worse. Try some of these tips to manage your fears and you may find that you feel more liberated and in control of your life.

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