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ind, Body and Spirit
What Are You Afraid Of? (Exercise 78)
Experience Fear & Embrace It

© Bernie Siegel MD

Face and embrace what you fear and it will become smaller. When you confront fear, the monster that seems to be threatening you will become a little lizard. But if you keep running, the monster will never cease chasing you. Don’t wait for a life-threatening illness to give yourself permission to take a chance and face your fears.

For this exercise, think of something you have always feared doing and do it. This could be something you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid to fail at — such as a sport like skiing or an activity like singing in public — or it could be something that directly addresses a phobia. If you are afraid of heights, then skydive, ride a roller coaster, or fly in a small plane. If you are agoraphobic, just going out in public might be a heroic act.

Once you’ve decided what it is you will do, first take the time to visualize yourself doing the event successfully and fearlessly. See yourself taking part in this activity comfortably. Some relaxing music in the background can help. As you see things occurring, experience the feelings that come to your awareness. At the end of the visualization, see yourself smiling and feeling successful.

Then put your plans in motion. Follow through and do it. Take a chance. Become a kid again, free of the inhibitions and fears imposed by adults. You might just enjoy it!

Excerpted with permission from 101 Exercises for the Soul: Simple Practices for a Healthy Body, Mind, and Spirit © 2010 Dr. Bernie Siegel. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. or 800-972-6657 ext. 52.
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About The Author
Dr. Siegel, who prefers to be called Bernie, not Dr. Siegel, was born in Brooklyn, NY. He attended Colgate University and Cornell University Medical College. He holds membership in two scholastic honor societies, Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha and graduated with honors. His surgical training took place at Yale New Haven Hospital, West Haven Veteran’s Hospital and the......more
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