076: Five Simple Ways to Boost Your Happiness–#3: Face a Fear

Simple for Sure–but Facing a Fear Requires Courage!

This will be the third Feeling Good Podcasts on five specific things you can do to boost your happiness. Today, David and Fabrice will talk about confronting something you fear, something you’ve been avoiding.

Most people have some fear or other. When I (David) wrote my book, When Panic Attacks, I counted up all the fears I’ve had in my life, and I came up with a list of at least 17 things I’ve feared at one point or another. I’ve had the fear of bees, dogs, horses, blood, heights, public speaking, cameras, and more. So I know very well the joy that results from facing and defeating, one of your fears. And although it’s SIMPLE to face your fears, it does require a LOT of courage, because you’ll have to endure some fairly intense anxiety.

The value of confronting a fear has been around for at least 2500 years, going back to the earliest teachings of the Tibetan Buddhists. In the modern era, it’s called Exposure Therapy, but it really hasn’t changed a great deal since the earliest times. There are two ways to face your fears–gradual exposure, where you confront the fear little by little, and flooding, where you do it all at once. Both strategies are equally effective. Personally, I prefer exposure, because you get it over with quickly. But sometimes, gradual exposure is more appealing, and it also works very well.

Why does exposure help? Why does can it boost your happiness?

First, when you face your fears, instead of running away, you will probably discover that the monster you’ve been running from has no teeth, and was just a distortion in your mind. And this not only creates relief, because your anxiety disappears, but mood elevation, because you feel empowered. Exposure is actually one of the four forms of spiritual enlightenment that I’ll be discussing in my new book (currently in progress.)

David gives a number of personal and clinical examples of how he overcame his own fears, including his intense fear of heights when he was in high school, as well as his intense social anxiety when he was teaching at a local Kaiser mental health clinic.  David also describes how he’s helped many colleagues or patients who felt shy and insecure around others.

In the final two podcasts in this “Boosting Happiness” series David and Fabrice will talk about how to change your distorted negative thoughts and beliefs when you’re feeling inadequate, or inferior, or simply “not good enough,” as well as how you can use the Five Secrets of Effective Communication to resolve a conflict and develop a deeper and more rewarding relationship with someone you care about!

Fabrice and I hope you like our Feeling Good Podcasts, and also hope you can leave some positive comments for us and five star ratings if you like what we’re doing!


At least one listener has had problems leaving an iTunes review from his i-phone, so Fabrice has created some simple to follow instructions if you need help.