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How To Cope With Fear


Fears about what may happen to you and/or loved ones, about money and/or your job are normal. There are time when fear of the unknown can be overwhelming. 

The following ideas have helped other people cope with fear. As you read through these ideas, think about what may work for you. Feel free to try more than one idea at a time. If one doesn't work, move on to the next.  

If fear affects your day-to-day living or treatment or taking your meds as prescribed, speak with your doctor and/or consult with a mental health professional such as a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist who has experience with your primary health condition.

  • Don’t let fear be an elephant in the room. Talk about your fear. Talking about your fear will not make your condition worse.
    • At least talk with the people closest to you. (While you’re at it, let them talk, too. Get and give support.)
    • Also consider speaking with:
      • Other people in a similar situation such as in a support group.  Support groupos can provide a wealth of  practical information and support in addition to helping to cope with fear. In addition to in person groups, there are online support groups and groups that meet via the telephone. If one group doesn't work for you, try another. For more information, see: Support Groups 101.
      • A mental health professional (a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist.). For information about how to choose a mental health professional, click here
      • Your doctor or a member of his or her office staff.
      • A hot line.
      • Your religious or spiritual counselor.
  • Use your fear to empower yourself by:
    • Taking care of yourself, 
    • Taking your medications as directed
    • Keeping your health care providers up to date.
  • Take a time out and distract yourself. Do an activity that takes your total attention - preferably something you like to do.
  • Calm your body with a hot bath or shower.
  • Change your thoughts. Remember that fear is a thought in your mind. You can change to a different subject. 
    • Focus on the things you can control
    • Work on keeping a positive attitude. For tips about how to keep a positive attitude, click here.
  • Look for humor in the situation. 
  • Avoid random internet surfing. Many sites discuss worst case scenarios or include unreliable information.
  • Counteract fear with facts. Learn what to expect. Ask questions of your healthcare team.
  • Update your affairs by making sure your will and other papers such as Advance Healthcare Directives are up-to-date so you don't have to worry about them.
  • Embrace your fear. Understand it for what it is, and what is causing it. Accept that it is human to feel fear. Then you can let it go.

To learn how to cope with particular fears, click on the following appropriate link:

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