What’s your big fear?

If you’re experiencing an unusually high degree of stress around something that doesn’t seem to deserve quite this much anxiety, the first step towards relief might be asking yourself, “What’s my big fear?”

Not the rational concern. Not the worries as you’d express them to a friend. But the big (and potentially irrational) fear that you don’t say out loud or maybe even acknowledge.

It’s the difference between:

I’m not sure NYU is the right school for me because I haven’t fully decided if business is the right major for me.

And…

My big fear is that I’ll get to NYU and end up homesick, lonely, and depressed. All of this will happen in a new city that seemed exciting but it turns out just scares the hell out of me now that I’m there. And I’ll have to transfer, which will make me feel like a college loser because everyone else from high school will be raving about how college is the best thing ever and documenting on social media how great their lives are.

Once you actually acknowledge the big fear, you’ve isolated the emotion that’s driving it. Then you’ll be in a better position to focus on the real issue, whether it’s emotional, rational, or a little bit of both.