The Skillful Podcast Episode 55: Emotions Explained: Fear

#55: Emotions Explained: Fear 

Today’s episode focuses on the emotion of fear. At its most fundamental, fear keeps us safe. It guides us to fight, flee, or freeze in the face of danger. 

Often, though, fear can be chronic, manifesting as anxiety, worry, or tension even when we are safe. This episode helps you identify fear in all its manifestations and provides tools to help you cope with it.

Show Highlights:

  • Fear is a broad category that includes anxiety and apprehension as well as something much stronger, like terror or shock
  • Our nervous system registers fear automatically, outside our conscious awareness
  • Paying attention to what happens in the body in the presence of fear such as clenching teeth, holding of the breath, and tensing muscles
  • Feeling exhausted may be the result of prolonged anxiety
  • Avoidance is the most common expression of fear
  • Procrastination interpreted as an expression of fear
  • Check the Facts: Is the fear relevant to the current situation and is it effective to act on the fear right now?
  • Are interpretations or assumptions inflaming the fear?
  • If acting on fear is not effective, approach what you want to avoid
  • The antidote to fear is to feel in control, which we can do with the skill of Build Mastery

DBT Skills Discussed

Resources

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Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.


#55: Emotions Explained: Fear Transcript

Marielle Berg 

Hello and welcome to the Skillful Podcast where we explore DBT and RO-DBT skills to help you reduce emotional suffering, improve your relationships, and become more present in your life. I’m your host, Marielle Berg, a psychotherapist at the Bay Area DBT and Couples Counseling Center.

Marielle Berg 

Hey, Ed, how are you doing today?

Ed Fowler 

I am doing good. It’s good to be back podcasting again.

Marielle Berg 

And now I feel like we’re getting into a rhythm because we recently went over anger. And now we are going to be discussing another big emotion that people often talk about when they come to DBT, or maybe therapy in general, which is fear.

Ed Fowler 

Yes.

Marielle Berg 

All about fear today.

Ed Fowler 

Fun.

Marielle Berg 

I know so much fun.

Ed Fowler 

Actually, for me, I have found it really helpful to reflect on fear and the impact of fear and what fear is about and what to do with fear. And so I actually do enjoy talking about fear. So no judgments, no judgments.

Marielle Berg 

Well, I will say I don’t know if I enjoy talking about it. But I feel like fear is one of my most troublesome emotions, like one of the emotions I feel the most often, that really makes me unhappy when I’m deeply in it. So I know a lot about fear. And for me, it would be more anxiety, which I think is in the fear, kind of, category.

Ed Fowler 

Yes definitely.

Marielle Berg 

It’s a version of fear. And I’m sure many people can relate to different levels of anxiety at different times. And I find it very uncomfortable. And I unfortunately am more familiar with it than I’d like to be.

Ed Fowler 

Well, I know for me, I also have felt a lot of fear throughout my life and anxiety and that kind of stuff, and have, you know, grown and being able to deal with it. And when we talk about in distress tolerance, noticing our Subjective Units of Distress our SUDs and trying to rate it zero to 10, the one that will jump up the most and get me into the territory, where I cannot access Wise Mind is fear. And it’s the one still that if I get triggered into some fear or anxiety, I will be gone and I won’t know it. And so even though I feel more comfort with talking about it and reflecting on it, and even experiencing it, it is the one that I still will struggle with the most.

Marielle Berg 

Wow. So I didn’t know that before we started recording that that was also. So I know that we are not alone in this. Often I think it’s anger that trips people up the most but clearly fear is up there rivaling

Ed Fowler 

Way up there.

Marielle Berg 

Yeah. Okay. So let’s let’s talk about the different gradations of fear from like lower level fear to higher level fear because I know we have talked about previously on the podcast that sometimes just naming or emotion can have a soothing or calming effect. So I’ll start with talking a little bit about some language that can help describe fear when it’s at the lower level or less intense. So anxiety, of course, is the big one. Apprehension is another way to think about it. Edginess are feeling kind of on edge. Nervousness is another great term to describe what you might be feeling, or even just feeling kind of uneasy or tense. And these are all coming from our DBT skills training handouts and worksheets by Marsha Linehan.

Ed Fowler 

And

Ed Fowler 

in that book and the emotion regulation section, they have these really great handouts that describe key emotions in a lot of detail. And it is really helpful to like look at it and look at the, like a lot of ways to reflect on the experience of an emotion like fear. And I think that, you know, being able to name the emotion just makes a big difference. So being able to say, Oh, I’m feeling a lot of tension. What is this, is this fear? Maybe I’m feeling a lot of edginess, I’m on edge. Is this fear? Where we know where feeling fear is when we’re more in the kind of like, intense like, terror or horror or just feeling really overwhelmed, like a lot of nervous tension that we can feel so physically. Or shock, just you know, feeling so in such shock after something very difficult has happened, which again, that’s the all of this is biological, our body is meant to be on alert for something that is life threatening, and that’s what fear is telling us. And so, you know, we will feel all the range from Oh, I feel a little uneasy to I feel horrified, I feel I am in shock from what’s going on right now. And all of that is just a different way to describe feeling the core emotion of fear.

Marielle Berg 

And I think about how useful fear is how we need it, as you said, to keep us away from danger, and how often in our modern lives, we are probably feeling fear. And even as you’re describing the kind of shock, or horror, the more extreme levels of fear, I can experience that on a regular basis, looking at the news. And so we often are bombarded with images, with stories, with information about things that are happening in the world that we have little to no control over, that can be horrifying, that can bring up the most intense fear. And so how, how do we manage that? And I don’t have particular answers, I have things that can help with it. But it’s, it’s something I think about pretty regularly.

Ed Fowler 

Yeah. And I think that all of our emotions are an expression of our nervous system. All emotions are part of our nervous system. And they’re giving us information to keep us safe. And fear, in particular, really taps into kind of the most fundamental function of our nervous system, which is to avoid life threatening danger. So the message of fear, is there something extremely dangerous, that we need to muster our energy to deal with, to fight to flee, to freeze in place until the dangerous thing passes. And so with there is such a physical response to things that trigger fear. And as part of our modern society, that can be triggered by seeing something or reading something that’s not immediately life threatening, right? It’s not, I’m reading something horrifying, that’s not happening in front of me right now. And yet, our nervous system is so finely attuned that it’s like, oh, I need to be on alert, I need to figure out what to do with this, maybe do I need to run. And so how to manage that that intense reaction to something scary or dangerous, is a big part of what we need to do in order to live with this reality of having fear that comes up.

Marielle Berg 

And

Marielle Berg 

how to use the fear when it’s useful. And as you were talking, I was thinking about this, you know, COVID for the last two years, and we’re recording this mid April 2022. I don’t know exactly when it’s going to come out. But it will probably be summer or fall. And I don’t know what’s going to be happening with the pandemic then. So things certainly are changing at this point, and seem better, but we have a prolonged experience all of us in different ways of living with a certain level of fear around COVID. So in the last few years, for anyone who tends towards anxiety, it’s been an incredibly stressful time. And I think about how sometimes the fear is useful, as you were talking about because it gets us to avoid doing risky things like the fear will get us to stay inside when we needed to or to do uncomfortable things like get, you know, wear a mask or get vaccinated or socially distance. And in those ways, the fear can be helpful, because ideally, it’s keeping us safe. But in many other ways when the fear is more a amorphous and when you’re doing all the things that are supposed to keep you as safe as possible and you’re still feeling quite terrified, then it’s of course, way less effective.

Ed Fowler  

That’s where I think it’s so helpful to be able to recognize I’m feeling fear, and to be able to categorize like I’m feeling anxiety, I’m feeling uneasy, I’m feeling anxious, and be able to say okay, fear, fear is what’s happening right now. So that we can then try to understand what’s causing these feelings of fear. And what’s the most effective response to this? Because if I’m feeling fear around, something that’s immediate and happening right now, like I do need to take action to protect myself. That’s the point of fear. If I’m feeling fear about something that may happen in the distant future, like feeling a lot of fear and acting on that fear is not going to be helpful. And so I want to, for instance, notice fear about something that could happen in the distant future and do a little bit of preparing or coping ahead. But I don’t want to get into the letting the fear run wild, so that I’m panicking about something that may or may not happen, and I’m no longer able to effectively figure out what to do.

Marielle Berg 

Exactly. And that panic makes is very uncomfortable. It’s also paralyzing. And it we once were in that place, we’re out of the realm of fear being useful for us. We have lots of skills, of course, that can help in our all our different distress tolerance skills, I think Check the Facts can be a helpful one. And others, but let’s let’s talk a little bit because we’ve been talking kind of around it, but a little bit more, let’s talk a little bit more specifically about common prompting events for feeling fear.

Ed Fowler 

Yeah.

Marielle Berg 

So the you know, we’ve named kind of the general we could say, you know, I named COVID, we can think about other world events or climate change, we could, you and I could come up with a long list of things to be scared about. But so generally, having your life, your health, or your well being threatened in some way can evoke feelings of fear. So it’s a pretty broad category. And then there’s some more specific ones that we can talk about. But that’s I think the the most that’s fear in its broadest sense, or that’s a let me say this differently. That is the most broadest prompting event, I think, for fear.

Ed Fowler 

And that’s the underlying message of any fear. And we want to look at is this fear and the level of this fear justified in this moment, but the underlying thing is my life, my health, my well being, or that of someone I care about is being threatened, danger is present. And we can feel that sense even when there isn’t a major immediate danger present. So for instance, like a fact of our nervous system is, being in a situation that reminds us of a time that we were threatened or in danger is often going to bring up fear. This is the kind of a trauma response thing of like, if we were in a specific place and had something really threatening happen, the next time we were in that place, we’re probably going to feel some fear, because our body is telling us, hey, this place might be dangerous. It was dangerous before it might be dangerous now. And so that’s an example where something that happened in the past can trigger fear in the present, which we need to check out, like, what’s the message of this? What do I do with this?

Marielle Berg 

And those things, like the things from the past, and the things from the present can get really mixed up, and it can all just feel like a big, scary mess inside. So being able to parse out like, what’s actually going on here? Is something happening, or am I having a memory like a flashback? Did I have a conversation that reminded me of something in the past where I was in some kind of danger? Getting clear on what’s happening can be really useful, like, is this, is there a current danger that I can actually do something about? Or is this more about the past, because those things are really conditioned into us. And I’ll share a little story that I can’t remember if I’ve shared on the podcast before when we talked about fear. So if I have listeners, forgive me, but I, so I have a fear of big dogs. And I have never been bitten by a dog or had really any negative interaction with a dog. But my father was bitten by a big dog when he was really young. So I grew up being around him when he would freeze. You know, he would get super tense, and he would do whatever he could, if there was little dogs not so much. But if there was any kind of, let’s say, medium even or to larger sized dog in the vicinity. So I am really scared of bigger dogs for no real reason. This is a conditioned response. So we can have these kinds of automatic nervous system responses to things that are kind of intergenerational that have been passed on. So maybe you grew up in a family where different kinds of things were feared. And so even if it never happened to directly it happened to your parents or your grandparents. And so it’s in your system, and you might be primed to feel fear, when you haven’t actually experienced that kind of danger yourself or you’re not actually in present day danger.

Ed Fowler 

I think it is helpful for us to recognize how powerful our nervous system is, and how good it is to give us these instant messages to keep us safe. And as you’re saying like intergenerational messages of be careful of big dogs. Right. And I think the difficulty is that our nervous system just operates on these automatic things and does not, it’s separate from our Reasonable Mind as we would say, in DBT. And so the Wise Mind approach is to be able to recognize the emotional response of this is what happens to me when I’m feeling fear. And balance it with that checking the facts of like, what’s going on what’s happening now? Is this a threat right now. And that’s what we need to do so that we’re not like carrying around fears, avoiding situations, and we’ll talk a little bit about avoidance is the natural response to fear if something’s dangerous, avoid it. But we don’t want to be avoiding situations that are aren’t actually dangerous and it’s actually more harmful to avoid the situation, because it isn’t actually dangerous. And we are losing out from avoiding, we want to be able to sort this all out. As I’m talking about it, I’m thinking about how dispassionate this discussion is of like, oh, yeah, it’s so interesting to notice a intergenerational fear of big dogs, and you want to check that out and check the facts on that. When the experience Marielle when you see a big dog is not like, oh, how interesting, I’m having, you know, my father’s reaction to big dogs. It’s just like Ah big dog, I gotta go, what do I do? And so we do want to take this time to be a little bit more, dispassionate about it. Because when we’re in the moment, we want to be primed to kick into that more Wise Mind approach. Yes, yes.

Marielle Berg 

I think though, having the dispassionate conversation about it, it can be really helpful. And that’s part of what we do with our, you know, one on one work in therapy, talking, you know, when we talk with the people we work with, so talking to your therapist, that’s a great way to. And of course, you might be feeling the fear as you’re talking about it, but to have a, you know, a guide, to help you unpack what’s going on can be so useful, again, bringing a reasonable or rational mind on board. And I just want to name some other common prompting events for feeling fear that are that people might not think about very often as evoking fear. But being in any kind of new or unfamiliar situation can bring up fear. Because there’s, you know, that’s the unknown, you don’t know what’s going to happen, sometimes being in crowds, for some people. I’m thinking also about performance anxiety, or public speaking anxiety, those are very common for having to perform publicly in front of others can be really scary. And even going after the things you want, pursuing your dreams, because you’re taking a risk there, that can also bring up feelings of fear.

Ed Fowler 

And so what we understand about emotions is that emotions can be triggered by prompting events being in a situation where, for instance, I have to do public speaking, and I’m nervous about what that will mean. But our emotions can also be triggered by our thoughts, our interpretations of events. So that something that the event itself may not be threatening or fearful, but our interpretation of that event can trigger fear. So for instance, you know, like, speaking in public is such a common fear, when we talk about fear in our skills groups, you know, like one of the most common ones that everyone relates to is having to speak in public. And the fear is like, this is life threatening, I could be harmed by speaking up in public. But it’s not so much that speaking in public in itself is life threatening. It’s the interpretation that we add to it, people will reject me, they’ll find out that I’m bad at my job, they will notice my flaws, and that will be so threatening and damaging, I’ll feel overwhelming sadness, if people knew that I wasn’t totally in control of everything, right. It’s like all the thoughts, those automatic thoughts about a situation like public speaking, that can rev up that fear, so that it’s like, Oh, my God, what if I do a bad job? What if I do a bad job? What if I do a bad job? Like now something that isn’t necessarily threatening feels extremely threatening?

Marielle Berg 

Shame, I mean, that’s a big piece, I think of this public speaking fear, as you know, that I think maybe encompasses a lot of the different things you were just talking about, about being criticized or rejected or people not liking us or showing that we don’t know everything that there’s a big, big piece here around fear of believing that you might embarrass yourself. So whether that’s public speaking, or doing anything else that’s new or risky. And other interpretations that can bring on feelings of fear, are believing that you’re not going to get the help you want or need, that you might lose help that you already have or at least something else that’s very important to you, or lose someone who’s very important to you, so that there’s some kind of threat, that’s something that’s important to you, or meaningful to you might be taken away. We also can feel feelings of fear when we’re feeling that we are more helpless, and losing a sense of control.

Ed Fowler 

So there are lots of situations and lots of thoughts or interpretations that can prompt fear. But it’s helpful to notice what happens physically, when we’re feeling fear. And so I think it’s helpful for people listening to this right now to take a moment and think about what happens to me when I’m feeling fear, or any of the varieties of fear, from uneasiness to terror. Right? What do you notice in your body, when that happens? I think it’s valuable to think about that for a minute and notice your own reaction. There are very common reactions among humans, to feeling fear, very often, our body is starting to mobilize because something is dangerous, and I need to do something. And so that’s where we can start to feel our heart racing, our muscles tensing, sometimes, you know, clenching our teeth or clenching our fists, our breath gets very shallow. And all of that is what we would physically need to do if we need to run or fight. But also sometimes like a really effective response to like life threatening situations, is to freeze and be still and let the danger pass. So you might notice also, like tension that’s more about like, kind of freezing in your place, feeling all your muscles tightening in a way that you’re, you know, frozen in place, feeling like a lump in your throat or attention, where it’s like, withholding, speaking or making sounds, you might find the urge to scream, right, you feel like I feel this urge to scream. All of these are things that we might experience when feeling fear.

Marielle Berg 

There’s so much energy that’s happening when we are experiencing fear. And if we freeze or we don’t get to express it in some way, or it’s not effective to act on the fear, it can be quite exhausting. So as you’re like listing all those different things that can happen, and I was thinking about how physically draining, feeling fear can be, especially if you’re feeling it on a regular basis.

Ed Fowler 

And something that, you know, research is making more and more connections, very often depression, which is just like feeling really exhausted and down and hopeless on for a sustained period, there’s often a connection of like, depression is just the exhaustion from too much anxiety. Our our nervous system has been on we our anxiety has been stuck in the on mode, so much that our body just kind of shuts down and all of those depressive thoughts and feelings and experiences come with it. And it makes sense to me that like, if you’re really fearful for a sustained period, your body’s going to be on and eventually it’s going to get worn out. And then you’re going to feel really down as a result. So sometimes like feeling really lethargic is an expression of I felt fear for too long. And now I’m worn out.

Marielle Berg 

That’s so interesting. I didn’t know about that research, correlating fear and depression. And it does make so much sense, as you describe it. So for listeners, if this is something that you’re going through now, it may be related to fear if you’re feeling that, you know, kind of low energy, lethargy, depression, that’s something to check out with yourself and potentially with your therapist.

Ed Fowler 

So basically, when we feel fear, there’s also action urges, like we want to run, we want to hide we want to avoid. And so we also want to notice, like, what’s our action urge when we’re feeling fear, sometimes it’s we cry to let out all the tension, or express that emotion. Sometimes it’s really feeling very frozen or even dissociated, kind of out of our body because it’s like, Oh, something terrible. I just gotta check out I don’t even want to feel this at all.

Marielle Berg 

Shaking,

Marielle Berg 

quivering, trembling, those are common ones sweating, digestion problems like diarrhea or feeling nauseous or vomiting, pleading or crying for help, maybe becoming really quiet or feeling speechless. That’s more on the frozen or freezing end of fear. I think about a frozen stare, talking yourself out of doing whatever you fear. This can be a particularly frustrating one. If you want to have new experiences, you need to face a certain amount of fear. So maybe you find yourself trying to convince yourself to not do something.

Ed Fowler 

And again, I think the most common expression of fear is avoidance.

Marielle Berg 

Right,

Marielle Berg 

yes, in all its forms. It’s I’m just not going to do that thing.

Ed Fowler 

Yeah. And so for me, like I have talked in the podcast about struggling with procrastinating from most of my life. And what I have what’s been really helpful to understand that is, when I have the urge to procrastinate, it’s avoidance, I’m afraid of something, there’s something that I need to do that I’m afraid to do, I’m afraid of the consequences, I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it, I’m afraid what people will think. And so really, procrastination is an expression of fear.

Marielle Berg 

That

Marielle Berg 

can really help reframe things that we struggle with, like procrastination, which is, it’s so hard to change. And I’ve also had my own experience with it. And we can get very judgmental of ourselves. What’s wrong with me, I keep saying I’m gonna do this thing, and I’m not doing it, I keep putting these important things off. So if you can hone in on what’s actually going on, and if it is related to fear, that can take away some of the harsh self judgments. And I will share that, you know, doing this podcast and I know, I’ve talked about this before, because I’ve had to use a lot of opposite action, doing this podcast in and of itself has helped me master a certain level of fear. I can’t say that this is something that comes naturally to me. And so Building Mastery is another skill to think about with fear when acting on it is not effective, or the fear isn’t justified, so approaching rather than avoiding the things that you’re scared of.

Ed Fowler 

And so I think it’s helpful to like start to shift gears into, okay, we are getting a better understanding of fear. What do we do? What do we do when we notice fear, because we don’t want to feel stuck in fear. And there are times that fear is warranted, and we need to pay attention to that. So with any emotion that we’re struggling with, the first thing to do is to Check the Facts. And as Marielle said, notice, is this fear relevant to the current situation? Is it effective to express this fear by instance, for instance, by avoiding? And so checking the facts, like, okay, what are the facts of the situation? What are my interpretations or assumptions that are coming into play, that may be inflaming the fear? And then kind of figuring out, okay, is this fear justified in this present moment, or not so much, maybe it’s not really justified or it’s not effective to act on it right now. And so that’s the starting point is to really step back, kind of notice what’s happening and check the facts on it.

Marielle Berg 

And if your fear is effective, obviously, you know, freeze, or run if you can, if there’s danger nearby. And usually, this happens automatically. If you were out in the wild, and there’s a threatening animal, I pause, I was gonna name you know, a mountain lion. But I think like, there are some animals when you’re out hiking that you’re not supposed to run from. And you’re supposed to get big. So I don’t want to give people wrong advice.

Ed Fowler 

Yeah –

Marielle Berg 

Which is the animal, aren’t you supposed to not run from –

Marielle Berg 

I can’t remember. You don’t know?

Ed Fowler 

I don’t know, I don’t know.

Marielle Berg 

Okay, we’re the wrong people to be discussing this. But I have this in the back of my head somewhere. And I hope I never encounter whatever animal that you’re supposed to not run from. But generally, generally speaking, we we run from we avoid, we freeze actual dangerous things. And again, that happens automatically. If you’re walking, you know, you’re crossing the street and a car comes, you know, barreling down at you, you’re gonna run. So we usually don’t have to think about that much thankfully, because it, we will avoid dangerous situations, or our nervous system will just get us to do that. But those situations are not the ones that usually bring people to therapy, when they’re struggling with fear or anxiety.

Ed Fowler 

When when it comes to fear, I do think it’s interesting that, like, if there is something immediately threatening, we’re going to know what to do, our nervous system is going to kick in the way it’s supposed to, and we will freeze or we will run or we will do what we have to do. If you have time to notice and name the fear, you’re not in an immediate threat.

Marielle Berg 

That’s a good point.

Ed Fowler 

So that’s where if you can notice I’m feeling a lot of fear, you’re almost certainly not in immediate danger. And so it’s not about I need to figure out, am I going to run or am I going to fight or am I going to freeze? And so that’s where we are. And there are things that are threatening, not necessarily immediately that we do need to avoid. But if we have time, check the facts, check the facts and look at it. For instance, if there’s a situation where you could see someone that you know, it could be really harmful to you, then you want to respond to that fear and say, You know what, I’m not going to go to that situation. I’m going to stay away from it, because that person could be harmful and I don’t want to be around them. And so you know, check the facts and listen, and then there will be times where it’s like, yeah, I need to avoid, that’s the effective thing to do.

Marielle Berg 

Yes.

Marielle Berg 

And if it isn’t the effective thing, as we said, approach what you’re afraid of, over and over. So you were talking at about procrastination. So if that was a, you know, a school project approaching that, and doing it kind of over and over exposing yourself to it for me, if I wanted to work on my fear of big dogs, it would be spending time around them, you know, not in a way that’s going to totally overwhelm my nervous system, but having new experiences, where I can interact with a large dog safely, and reprogram myself to have more positive associations, and also to feel eventually a sense of control and mastery. Like I got this, I know, I know how to be around a big dog. Or for me, I know how to speak into a microphone and podcast about DBT skills.

Ed Fowler 

And

Ed Fowler 

again, Marielle, I’ve seen your mastery grow and your fear come down, where when we started doing this, it was like very much like, okay, here we go. And whereas now it’s like, Okay, should we do this, let’s do it.

Marielle Berg 

You’ve been so helpful in that regard, because you just can throw yourself in this is, I think, not something that scares you.

Ed Fowler 

It’s so interesting to me, because podcasting doesn’t really scare me at all. Writing an email is much more frightening to me. And so this is the reality of fear of it doesn’t always make sense. And it is what it is, and we need to try to learn from it. And again, fear is telling us at its core, we’re out of control, in a life threatening way. And so the antidote to fear is to be feel in control. And so if our fear isn’t justified, or it’s not effective, right, I’m afraid of public speaking. And I just need to avoid it, which means I can never take any job that involves public speaking, I can’t go to any events that involve potential public speaking, like that’s not necessarily going to have the kind of rich life we want. And so what we do is, the opposite of fear is we build a sense of mastery, I can handle this, I can do this, I’m going to ease into it, I’m going to build up to it, like you said, Marielle. It’s not about like, oh, afraid of public speaking, start a podcast. No, like, you start doing a little public speaking a little tiny bit with people who you know, will be supportive, and you feel that fear, and you work through it. And so really like the core of responding to fear, using opposite action, if it’s not really effective, to act on that fear, is try to build a sense of mastery over the thing that scary. Fear is such a powerful emotion. It’s, I imagine maybe the most powerful emotion, because it’s about life and death at its core. So I hope that listeners will be very gentle with yourself and understanding towards yourself, as you work with fear, and deal with fears that may be overwhelming, or really getting in the way of your life worth living, like try to be have a stance of being very understanding, because our bodies are built to protect ourselves. And so fear is going to be a challenging one to deal with. As Marielle and I have talked about, it can feel exhilarating, to work through fears and move past it. It’s worth it to try so that we don’t have to feel like we’re held back by fears that aren’t relevant to the current situation.

Marielle Berg 

Absolutely, I

Marielle Berg 

mean, that’s such a nice note to wrap up on. And the last thing I want to add as that listeners, as you’ve been listening to this may be fear has come up, I feel like it’s one of those emotions that might feel a little catchy. Where you start, you know, thinking about all the things that scare you. Some immediate things you can do are just to make sure that you’re breathing deeply. I’m thinking about working more directly with the body, if you were holding your breath as you were listening, if you have muscles that feel really tight, or you’re clenching your teeth, just seeing if you can relax some of those muscles and you know, loosen your jaw a little bit and, and calm down your nervous system right in the moment because we’ve talked a lot about building mastery, which of course is so key, and that takes time. But in the immediate moment, you can work with your physical sensations and remind yourself that you’re safe right now.

Ed Fowler 

So valuable. And then you know, this was a heavy one in a lot of ways. So maybe the next emotion we cover will be something really light like shame.

Marielle Berg 

Perfect, looking forward to it.

Ed Fowler 

Thank you all.

Marielle Berg 

Till next time.

Marielle Berg 

Thanks for listening to today’s episode. To learn more or if you’re in the Bay Area and want to get started with therapy you can find us online at bayareadbtcc.com.