How to deal with things that fill you with dread

50:50Ok, there are things going on in your life that fill you with dread.

DREAD: noun
1. Great fear or apprehension.
“The thought of returning to work filled her with dread.”
synonyms: fear, apprehension, trepidation, anxiety, worry, concern, foreboding, disquiet, unease, angst

Dread, things that keep you up at night. Things that cause your heart to sink when you think about them. Things that cause agony and stress. Things that make you say “If it wasn’t for my worries about this, my life would be near perfect.”

Well, sorry. Life isn’t perfect. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take on the things that cause us dread. Here is my simple strategy for dealing with things that cause me dread:

1. List them out. Write them down. All of them. I swear, but the mere act of identifying and acknowledging them is a therapeutic process it its own right. You are no longer pretending these things aren’t really eating you up inside. You own them now. And that’s empowering.

2. Next, ask if any of these things you dread will result in death? Seriously…

If not, then what are you really worried about? Any problem can be dealt with. If it doesn’t result in death, what’s the worst that can happen?

[Look, if you are dealing with a life-threatening illness, that's an entirely different matter altogether. And Godspeed to you, let us know how we can help.]

3. Next, review your list a second time, and jot down ONE step you can take to begin to resolve the issue, solve the problem, fix what’s broken, whatever. JUST LIST ONE THING. You don’t have to solve the problem here with this simple first step.

Most things on your list probably will require time and several steps to address it enough to get to a point where it will no longer be something you dread.

But identify one step. One item. One thing to advance the ball down the field.

And even if you stop here, you will immediately feel better. I know I do. Makes you feel back in control again, you know?

And there’s power in that.

4. Finally, take/start that action. Make the move. With the mere act of completing step number three, you know how to start.

So, start.

Because you know as well as I do, too many people never actually take that step. I am guilty of this too.

If you take no action, you will go right back to where you started from. Dreading stuff.

And that’s a rotten way to live…


Click here to live the intrepid life.

Photo from Unsplash.

  • Michelle Davidson

    I always use number 2. I ask myself what’s the worst that will happen. Usually it’s that the person will say no. I can handle that.

  • Todd Schnick

    Yeah, that changes everything. Why we don’t do this more often, I will never know…