Stress Hack: #4 of 4 Tips to Reduce Stress

Face Your Fear Regularly
If your fear is something like being eaten by a shark or run over by a speeding car, this may sound unreasonable. Don’t jump into your local aquarium’s shark tank or in front of a speeding car. What I mean by “facing” your fear is to look at images or fear-inducing representations of what scares you as often as you can. Pin an image of your fear on your vision board. Again, this may seem counterintuitive since the purpose of a vision board is to see the things you want for yourself in your future, and you probably don’t want your greatest fear to be part of it. But that’s exactly why you should have a visual representation of any fear that’s inhibiting you on your vision board. By looking at that visual representation of your fear often, you will see and feel it gradually lose its potency. That’s the powerful concept of habituation at work. So stare at the space it holds on your vision board often until the only feeling it elicits is boredom. Once you see it can’t scare you, take it down. Then start looking at the reminders you actually want on that vision board that make you happy. And now that you’re not scared anymore, go get that life.


Courage He Said ~ Jessie Redmon Fauset

Courage He Said

Jessie Redmon Fauset

ULYSSES, debarking in the Lotos Land, 
Struck the one note that the hapless Ithacans 
Travel-sick, mazed, bemused, could understand, 
And understanding, follow.

'Courage,' he said, 'remember, is not Hope!' 
He left the worn, safe ship, spume-stained and hollow. 
'To be courageous is to face despair.' 
And through the groves and 'thwart the ambient air 
Resounded reedy echoes: 
'Face despair!'

But this they understood. 
And plunging on prepared for best, and most prepared 
For worst, found only in their stride 
A deep umbrageous wood, 
And grassy plains where they disported; eased 
And bathed lame feet within a purling stream 
And murmured: 'Here, Odysseus, would we fain abide!'

But neither the stream's sweet ease 
Nor the shade of the vast beech-trees, 
Nor the blessed sense 
Of the sweet, sweet soil 
Beneath feet salt-cracked and worn 
Brought to them even then, 
(Still fainting and frayed and forlorn), 
Such complete recompense 
As the knowledge that once again 
Facing the new and untried, 
They had kept the courage of men! 

Courage ~ Anne Sexton


Anne Sexton

It is in the small things we see it.
The child's first step, 
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike, 
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien, 
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner, 
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing, 
then his courage was not courage, 
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

if you have endured a great despair, 
then you did it alone, 
getting a transfusion from the fire, 
picking the scabs off your heart, 
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow, 
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways, 
each spring will be a sword you'll sharpen, 
those you love will live in a fever of love, 
and you'll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you'll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.