What you feed your fears matters

What Are You Feeding Your Fears? (Here are 10 “Food” Options To Try)

Olivia feeding herself a deviled egg

Your fears have to eat, and you get to decide what to feed them.

Fears can be unrelenting like a three-year-old running around the house begging for a snack. Fears are not satisfied until they eat. The question is, what are you feeding yours?

 For most of my 16-year marketing career, I worked in the food service industry promoting a range of products from fast food burgers made with factory farmed meat to quick service burritos free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). If there’s one lesson I learned from it all, it’s this: what you eat matters.

A meal composed of conventional ingredients, added growth hormones and artificial food substitutes is incapable of nourishing you the same way that whole, healthy, free-range food can. Bad food leads to bad feelings, digestion issues and overall health concerns (for humans and animals). People know this. That’s why countless Instagram accounts and Pinterest boards are dedicated to teaching individuals how to eat better. 

What people likely don’t know, though, is that the lesson of eating responsibly is transferable. It also applies to feeding your fears. The quality of the information you feed your fears can influence, even determine, your ability to act courageously and your level of personal growth. I’ve spoken with youth who want to leave behind old friends, women who want to stand up for themselves at work, and young professionals who want to launch businesses. They all had fear. Some fed their fears rations of possibility while others fixed plates of exaggerations.

The difference matters.

Your fears have to eat, and you get to decide what to feed them. 

It’s an important consideration, so I put together a list to offer you “food” options for your fear.


“Food” To Feed Your Fears

1. Feed Fear This: Curiosity
Instead of This: Unfair Judgments
Because: Curiosity opens you up to awareness and discovery. It creates opportunities to reframe or rescind unfair judgements that keep you ignorant and stagnant. When fear is fed curiosity, it’s more likely to go along for the ride rather than prevent the ride.

2. Feed Fear This: Previous Wins
Instead of This: Negative Past Experiences
Because: Reminding yourself of your previous wins and strengths can help fear get full off of your competence. It’s much easier to pile up memories of failure and mistakes because your brain is wired to register negative experiences as more consequential, noticeable and impactful than positive ones. So, making a conscious effort to recognize how dope you is like serving comfort food to fear.

3. Feed Fear This: Mentor Assistance
Instead of This: Isolation
Because: Fear gets to act up when no one is watching or listening, so it prefers for you to be isolated. When fear snacks on observances of you requesting help from competent people and taking counsel from them, it takes a seat.

4. Feed Fear This: Visions of Possibility
Instead of This: Anticipation of Catastrophe
Because: A clear vision of what you want to create allows possibilities of personal growth, freedom and expanded awareness to surface and stand. This is important since thoughts become things. Healthy helpings of what’s possible leaves little room in fear’s lunchbox to indulge in what’s not.

5. Feed Fear This: Purpose
Instead of This: Perfectionism
Because: Purpose is the dish that can most satisfy fear’s hangups about you not being good, prepared, smart or worthy enough. A strong purpose is internally motivated and aligns with your values. Fear likes to feed off of perfectionism even though it is debilitating, overrated and unachievable. What it should be fed, instead, is a super-sized, noble purpose that will keep it (and you) full — even when the going gets tough.

6. Feed Fear This: Reality
Instead of This: Exaggerations
Because: A balanced diet rooted in reality checks fear’s tendency to overestimate the severity of consequences. Exaggerations about how bad or unbearable an outcome may be act like sugar to fear; they make fear hype. Reality, on the other hand, serves up accuracy and creates productive energy.

7. Feed Fear This: Confidence
Instead of This: Minimizations
Because: Confidence is trust in your strengths and abilities, and it’s a super food that supports memory and growth. It’s the perfect food to serve when fear seems to forget or minimize your knowledge, capabilities and proficiency.

8. Feed Fear This: Commitment
Instead of This: Uncontrollability
Because: Commitment produces a sense of control, and control makes fear sit down and behave at the dinner table. Any overt action toward a goal — even a small one — can create perceived control, which is necessary to make fear mind its manners.

9. Feed Fear This: Research
Instead of This: Resistance
Because: Fear gets hangry in the unknown and resistance to it only makes fear ante up. It often only takes a small, but powerful portion of research to lull fear into complacency.

10. Feed Fear This: Growth-Mindset
Instead of This: Fixed-Mindset
Because: Feeding fear a growth-mindset makes you grow and fear diminish. A ration of a fixed-mindset, on the other hand, can go to fear’s head and compel it whisper limiting beliefs in your ear. Filling fear’s cup up with commitments to hard work, dedicated effort and good strategies makes it fall back and settle down.

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