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Book Review, Lissa Rankin, The Fear Cure

March 19, 2015

I have followed Dr. Lissa Rankin’s career with interest for several years now, particularly as she inhabits the same corner of the self-help universe as other authors I admire, including Martha Beck and Tosha Silver (and what I refer to in my head as “The Hay House Cavalcade of Stars!”). Rankin also has one of the more honest email newsletters and blogs out there, and I’ve always appreciated her bravery in being so honest and open with her readers about what is going on in her personal life.

Rankin’s new book, The Fear Cure (released on February 24, 2015), takes on issues of fear and anxiety, and discusses how fear drives how we live our daily lives, even though many of us remain unconscious of this, as Western society in particular tends to treat fear as a taboo subject. The book is a highly useful guide to getting past fear, largely by teaching that the key to handling fear is to embrace it for the lessons it teaches, instead of doing what most of us do, which is to engage in avoidance behaviors.

Rankin points out that fear is actually a useful tool that warns us about the parts of our lives that we need to pay most attention to. Many of us, myself included, have spent years priding ourselves on being busy and stressed out, without admitting that these terms cover up the underlying reality, which is that we’re really scared of uncertainty. We spend most of our time dealing with what Rankin calls “false fear,” which is that sense of anxiety and paranoia that roams through our thoughts, leading us to feel small, to lash out at others, or to see the world as a terrible place. (“True fear,” by way of contrast, is the adrenaline rush that kicks in when we are in actual physical danger, for example.)

The key, Rankin says, is to understand that false fear causes us to awaken to the truth about ourselves. In other words, fear can help cure you. She provides many strategies for getting in touch with fear, being kind to ourselves, figuring out what is really going on in the subconscious, and learning to surrender to the Divine. By becoming more vulnerable and honest, we can find the path to wholeness and a brighter future.

The book contains much discussion of clinical data if you are into that sort of thing, but is far more spiritually-oriented than Rankin’s previous work, Mind Over Medicine. She also provides multiple exercises and activities to help to promote your journey toward learning fear’s lessons and moving forward with life.

I enjoyed this book very much, so much so that I ordered it from Amazon while I was about one-third of the way through my library’s copy.

Source: ARC from the publisher via NetGalley, copy from my local library

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