The 4 Phases of Fear

The first phase of fear is the reaction of your amygdala, also known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. This protects you from situations likely to bring about death, such as saber-toothed tigers, perilous falls, and starvation. This phase is extremely powerful because of it’s deeply ingrained nature into our brains, but it can largely be controlled with awareness and practice.

The second phase of fear is the pause. After you’ve realized that this thing is not actually a saber-toothed tiger, you still hesitate to confront it because you are, at least for a time, still connecting this thing to the emotion of fear. This pause can last seconds, days, or years. It can manifest in a myriad of forms, such as: excuses, rationalization, avoidance, denial, projection, or any other way your brain can think of to keep itself safe.

The third phase of fear is the dance. It’s when you decide to step into the fear, even if you’re still afraid, and move forward. You might be dancing with it for quite a while, playing with it a little bit, or charging straight through it as hard and fast as you can.

The fourth and final phase of fear is vanquish. Once you’ve correctly identified, confronted, and pushed through your fear, it is beaten. It might come back, but it will never be as strong as is was before, and you will always be able to beat it again. The more you dance with it, the shorter and easier the dance will be, until there is nothing left for you to dance with at all.

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