Get Mad: A powerful emotion like anger can trump fear. Psychologist Stanley Rachman once treated a phobic patient who could only leave his house when he was mad at his wife. As soon as he calmed down, he had to hurry home. So? If you’re tense before the big game, try thinking about how much you hate your opponents.

“It” can help: If you’re terrified of public speaking, try tapping the soothing powers of oxytocin, the hormone of affection and bonding. One recent study found that subjects who had recently engaged in sexual intercourse were significantly calmer when asked to speak before a group of strangers.

Enjoy the Ride: Fear isn’t all bad. Intense fear causes our brain to release chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana and amphetamines. Time seems to slow down and pain vanishes; we can run faster and lift heavier weights. There really have been cases of panicked people lifting cars with their bare hands.

Advertisements