“There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky, and you ask, ‘What if I fall?’ Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” — Erin Hanson

Are you afraid of trying new things? Does the thought of change make you cringe? Then this blog is for you. Fear in and of itself is not bad. It’s a helpful response that keeps us from danger.1 But it’s not as helpful when it keeps us from experiences that could benefit us.

What exactly is fear?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fear as an unpleasant and often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.2

Fear is an emotion that causes discomfort. It’s just a feeling. And feelings can be managed so that they don’t get in the way of you living your best life. 

Try these tips to help manage fear

Focus on the benefits instead of the fear

Think of something you’re afraid to try. Then think of the benefits you could experience by trying it. Maybe you’re missing out on the health benefits that come from trying a new workout class. Or maybe you’re missing out on a greater understanding of people and places that comes from traveling. Whatever it is, consider focusing on the benefits instead of the fear. Develop a perspective of possibility and see where that takes you.

Change how you look at uncertainty

You may fear uncertainty if you associate it with a negative outcome.3 Try changing your view of uncertainty to help make peace with it. Think of all the things you’ve experienced that were uncertain and had a positive outcome. Make a list of them. Then revisit the list to remind yourself that the unknown can actually be wonderful.

Uncertainty is not

  • Something you can know
    Since you can’t know the unknown, why not be optimistic about it? It could be bad, but it could also be good. And even if it’s bad, you could learn something from it. You can grow by adopting a more positive mindset. And you can develop empathy for others who have shared the same outcome.
  • Something you can control
    You can’t prevent uncertainty from happening by worrying about it.3 Worrying about it just causes unnecessary feelings of anxiety. Instead, try trusting that you’ll be able to handle whatever comes your way.
  • Something that’s dangerous
    It is neutral. It’s simply not knowing the future and nothing more.3

Uncertainty is

  • Something that can inspire mindfulness
    It’s an opportunity to be in the moment. Looking ahead is what causes fear of uncertainty. That said, try focusing on the moment you’re in. Enjoy the known of the now.
  • Something you can count on
    Uncertainty is all around us. The environment, people and circumstances are all subject to change at any moment.
  • Something we all experience
    None of us knows the future. But we do know our past and present. We do know we’ve made it this far and that we all have uncertainty in common.

Start with small steps

For example, if you’d like to try a new sport, you could start off by learning more about it. Read a book, watch a video, talk to someone who plays the sport, etc. Ease yourself into whatever it is you’d like to try. Take it one step at a time and congratulate yourself for your progress along the way.

Control what you can and let go of what you can’t4

Let’s use public speaking as an example. You can’t control how people will react to your talk. But you are able to focus on what you can control. You can take steps to help reduce your fears. You can do your best to be prepared.1 You can practice in front of friends or family. You can try to get enough sleep the night before. You can dress in a way that boosts your confidence. And you can make sure any technology you will be using works ahead of time.

Get help if you need it

If you are having trouble managing the stress and fear you feel, you may want to talk with someone about it. Feeling nervous and anxious are real challenges many people face. We have professionals who can help. Even sharing a conversation with someone can make you feel better.

Talk with a licensed therapist

Picture your success

See yourself accomplishing whatever it is you’d like to try. If you’re afraid to fly, imagine yourself relaxing in an airplane seat watching a movie and then enjoying your destination. If you fear being accepted into a new group, envision yourself laughing with people in the group and enjoying conversations. Picturing a positive outcome can help make it happen.5 Want to be more positive? Learn how cultivating gratitude can help.


Yes! It’s true. Exercise helps your mental fitness.6 It can help reduce fatigue and improve alertness and concentration. If you’re well-rested, alert and able to concentrate, you may have the courage to try something new. You may be more physically and mentally prepared to face your fear. 

Remember, good health is a journey. And we have the tools and support to help you every step of the way. Let’s do this thing together! Sign in or create an account now. Not sure if you’re eligible for Teladoc Health?

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Do you fear social situations? Learn about some possible reasons why.

Published February 13, 2024


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