11/09/2014 08:38 am ET Updated Jan 09, 2015

Combat Four of the Most Common Fears

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Having just closed the chapter on Halloween this week, this is an opportune time to find our inner courage and kick some of our fears to the curb. Fear is a completely natural and healthy emotion to have. However, it's good to be able to reflect and distinguish between fearing things that we can manage vs. those we can't control. It's easy to misguide excitement, anxiety and anticipation into the scary realm of fear, but with these simple suggestions and a fresh dose of perspective hopefully you can combat these four common fears!


It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure. -- Bill Gates

We never know what the future might hold, and for many that thought can be a scary one, constantly causing us to ask ourselves if we are going in the right direction, if our paths will lead us to success or stability. Maybe we've been taught that failure is a result of laziness or the product of making a wrong turn. Maybe we see failure as a signifier that we aren't good enough to succeed. But this isn't true at all! Failure often means that we are headed in the right direction. If we don't fail we will never see success. Think of how you learned to walk. We never say babies "fail" when they fall. We accept that falling is a part of the process and that they will ultimately stand up and try again. The same holds true for life. Failure gives us the crucial lessons we need to find in order to stand stronger and find new avenues for success.

2. Health

But the real secret to lifelong good health is actually the opposite: Let your body take care of you. -- Deepak Chopra

While some of you may be thinking that it's pretty ironic for a fitness instructor to encourage you NOT to worry about your health, let me start off by saying that health is something to tend to, support and nurture, not fear. Listening to your body is the first step to living a healthy and balanced life. Don't let your fear of things you can't control physically consume you. Instead, focus on what your body is telling you. Eat, engage in daily physical fitness and keep your body rested and hydrated. Your body truly is a temple, and when you treat it as such you may be able to dispel the fears you have of it failing or turning its back on you. In the unexpected nature of life we often can't control getting sick, genetics or not feeling our best, but that doesn't mean we should let the fear of what may come consume us. Breathe, listen to and enjoy your body!

3. Aging

Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. -- Betty Friedan

Aging isn't easy, especially when we watch the people we love go through it. We fear the unknown and the uncertainty of the future. But what if we began to see the cloudiness of our futures as exciting as opposed to fear invoking? What if the future was something we refused to allow being anything but great? A little bit of faith goes a long way. If we begin to make the future seem like a grand adventure, or encourage ourselves to see it as nothing but fulfilling, it will be. Every age has it's own energy to it; lets have fun in our 20s but enjoy the understanding and focus of our 30s and 40s. Let's relish the expanding families we may see in our 50s and the wisdom we've garnered in our 60s and 70s. There is poetry to each age and each has its own voice. So let's wipe those future fears clean and replace them with curiosity about what we will learn, master and draw peace from at every stage of our lives.

4. Risk

The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision. -- Maimonides

We all take risks in life, if we don't, we may never have the experiences that life is all about: love, relationships, new jobs, education, our own physical limits, joy, bliss and understanding. Risk, whether it is asking someone out on a date or skydiving, can fill us with those unmistakable tiny butterflies inside our stomachs. However, while those butterflies feel uncomfortable they are, in fact, innocuous. Taking risks in life, as long as they aren't dangerous or harmful to others, can make us scared but the end result can make us better. So take a risk and feel those butterflies! They can help you do what you've always dreamed but never tried. By making the butterflies your supportive friends, I promise you'll enjoy the result.

Our fears can be a powerful and valid force in understanding both the world and ourselves. By delving deeper into distinguishing what is fear and what can be re-routed into other emotions, you can begin to discover a healthier and more fearless life.