A Blueprint for Coping with Fear

Adrian S. Potter
3 min readJan 4, 2022

Recognize and analyze the phantoms.

Photo by Melanie Wasser on Unsplash

The Secondhand Inspiration Project begins with a motivational quote and ventures wherever the creative path meanders.

When my daughter was a toddler, she had levels of anxiety a kid should never have to experience.

My wife and I felt helpless. We tried various techniques, read hundreds of books, and worked with a herd of counselors, trying to devise strategies that could help my daughter navigate through the forest of fear that surrounded her.

Eventually, we discovered a book by Dawn Huebner called What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety. It provided practices that helped dull her anxiety. The book talked about the dread people that experience in terms of “worry bullies.”

We slowly convinced my daughter that these imaginary worry bullies were perched on her shoulder. They whispered doubt in her ears that amplified her fears. But no matter how loud their voices sounded, the worry bullies were not real — she had enough strength to flick them off her shoulder at any time.

It took time, but eventually, we coached my daughter to ignore the chatter of worry bullies. It was an easy analogy for a child to understand. Honestly, it’s clear enough for a grownup to buy into as well.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

The concept of worry bullies reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

“And yet fear builds its phantoms which are more fearsome than reality itself, and reality, when calmly analysed and its consequences willingly accepted, loses much of its terror.”― Jawaharlal Nehru

Whether we face worry bullies or fear’s phantoms, we owe it to ourselves to keep anxiety from hijacking our common sense. Here are four ideas on how to limit the impact of fear in our lives.

1. Don’t let it distort your view.

Adrian S. Potter

Antisocial Extrovert · Writer and Poet, Engineer, Consultant, Public Speaker · Writing about self-improvement, gratitude, and creativity · www.adrianspotter.com