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Fear Factor

th (49)The anxiety on the rise among urban Indians, Dr Lissa Rankin discusses fighting the fear of uncertainty -the subject of her new book Think about the last time you were scared.

Horror movies, where you pay to get your adrenaline pumping, don’t count. In the adult world, we often associate being afraid with children. It’s because, culturally, we tend to dress up `fear’ in the more socially acceptable clothes of `stress’, says San Francisco-based physician Dr Lissa Rankin. Fear is for sissies, she adds. But stress is practically seen as a badge of success in our culture. But peer-reviewed scientific data, says Rankin, the author of The Fear Cure (her book that released last month), proves that fear is not only an uncomfortable emotion that keeps us from living up to our full potential but also has significant repercussions on health. It’s a risk factor for heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, chronic pain disorders and inflammatory disorders.

Think about the last time you were worried about a situation at work, home or in your personal life. It is likely to have affected your sleep, thrown your diet out of whack, made it difficult to focus or even tightened your muscles. Moreover, it also affects hormones that are released as a cautionary solution to the perceived threat, which in turn affects the smooth functioning of organs in tandem.Like pain, which acts as a signal for a malfunction somewhere in the body, Rankin argues that fear too must be seen as an emotional and physical signal alerting you to pay attention.”Fear may be a greater risk factor for your health than what you eat, how much you exercise, or any of your bad habits,” says Rankin, who says Rankin, who began exploring holistic healing after spending a decade after medical school and being a practicing physician.