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Sometimes life's everyday stressors can send you into a tailspin. But if you always let your emotions rule, your body won't remember to calm down. Get Deepak Chopra's strategies to overcome those fears that keep you up in the middle of the night.  Learn more about Oprah & Deepakā€™s 21-Day Meditation Experience Series.
Fear is a natural reaction built into the mind-body system triggered by danger. After the danger is past, so is the fear response. But when fear spreads out into a general condition, it becomes a mysterious thing: anxiety. Anxious people are afraid even though there is nothing "out there" to be afraid of. Others overreact to triggers that ordinarily should be fairly easy to handle, such as being left alone for a day on their own. Still others are nearly paralyzed by highly specific phobias such as fear of heights, open spaces or insects. What is going on and what can we do about it?

Record numbers of people in modern society, predominantly women, suffer from mild to extreme anxiety. Billions of dollars are spent every year on tranquilizers to treat this condition, yet as the doctor writes out a prescription, he knows that the cause of the condition is unknown. Since human beings have lived with the fear response before recorded history, there should be a way to heal anxiety, and perhaps the best way to approach the mild-to-moderate types is not as a disease, but as a challenge. In anxious people, fear is allowed to roam freely; we can truly say that fear rules the mind. Yet it should be that you use your emotions, not that they use you. The challenge is to bring the fear response back under control. Otherwise, anxiety becomes ingrained and over time will spiral downward. The anxious person begins to be afraid of being afraid, because she knows that she has no power against it.

Because anxiety comes and goes, people tend to overreact when it appears, only to forget about it when it isn't present. In order to find an answer to anxiety, you must start by dealing with anxiety when it suddenly rears its head in panic attacks, but also healing its underlying causes. Anxious people also tend to be worriers, so that must be taken into account as well. For now, I will focus on how to deal with anxiety when it appears. The acute attack is the moment when sufferers need the most immediate help. Over the next two months, I will discuss healing the causes of anxiety as well as managing worry.

How the body deals with fear


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