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The Nine Secrets of Courage From Extreme Fear (Photos)

02/21/2011 01:24 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Courage: it's not just for heroes. Fear is an emotion we all deal with, and how we handle it determines what kind of life we'll lead -- whether shackled by anxiety and dread, or empowered to conquer new challenges. Yet we spend most of our time trying to avoid fear, so we muddle along, rarely getting much better at the art of mastering it. That's a shame, because with a little effort we can find the courage to push beyond your comfort zone and tackle new worlds.

In my book Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger -- out this month in paperback -- I explore the neurological underpinnings of the brain's fear response to better understand how to take charge of this formidable emotion, shedding light on the science with stories of people who have faced terrible threats and managed to come through intact.

Can we learn from such brave souls and train ourselves to be more courageous? The evidence says yes. Here are nine techniques for steeling yourself for the challenges ahead.

The 9 Secrets of Courage

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