2min Fear Practice by extreme skier Kristen Ulmer who retired in 2003 to study and teach about Fear:
Because my belief is that your relationship with fear is the most important relationship in your life, I now spend at least two minutes a day engaged in what I call a fear practice (first thing in the morning). I’m particularly interested in how much I feel fear (it’s always there, whether we’re willing to admit it or not), and where in my body it’s located.
Fear is a sense of discomfort in our bodies. It may show up in obvious ways as fear, stress, or anxiety (which are all pretty much the same thing), or maybe it will feel more like anger or sadness (which can be tied to fear, if fear is in the basement). If it seems like it’s in our minds, that’s because we’re not dealing with it emotionally but rather intellectually, which is never a good idea. I locate the feeling in my body—sometimes it’s in my jaw or shoulders, sometimes my forehead.
Then I have a one-to two-minute, three-step process:
I spend about 15 to 30 seconds affirming that it’s natural to feel this discomfort. I may have a big talk coming up or a deadline. You are supposed to be scared when you’re doing big things—okay? Acknowledging this can be life-changing.
I spend the next 15 to 30 seconds being curious about what my current relationship is with that discomfort. If the anxiety seems out of proportion to the situation, or if it seems irrational in any way, that means I’ve been ignoring fear and thus it’s starting to speak louder or act out. If this is the case, I give it my full attention then, and ask what it’s been trying to say to me that I haven’t acknowledged (e.g., “Write a new speech; the one you have sucks.” Or, “You forgot to call your mother”). Being such a great advisor, I use this time with fear to juice its knowledge like you would juice an orange.
Then, I spend as long as it takes to feel it. Now, this is important: I don’t try to get rid of it. That is not what this is about, because that would be disrespectful to fear. The key is to feel the feeling by spending some time with it, like you would with your dog, friend, or lover. I usually do this for about 30 to 60 seconds. After which, fear, feeling acknowledged and heard, often dissipates.
Then for the rest of the day, any time I feel anxious or upset, I do it again. My clients have a fear practice too, and the results are quite profound. After about a week, not only does their fear and anxiety calm way down, but many other problems like insomnia, depression, PTSD, and anger become resolved. Keep doing it past that week, and you’ll start to notice the percolation, energy, and heightened states this practice offers.
I turn toward my discomfort and try to have an honest relationship with it by engaging in this fear practice. I focus on my discomfort, fear, sadness, anger, or anything else that seems unpleasant—all of it—and that effort not only affords me insights but, even though you’d never expect it, also thoroughly and amazingly sets me free.