Fear and Joy Pairing

A. What is Fear and Joy Pairing?

Fear and Joy Pairing means the process of selecting the most effective Joy to reduce a particular Fear.   It is called pairing because the wine industry has done a spectacular job in helping people choose the right wine for each type of food pallet for every kind of food.  

Pairing is not a one-size-fits-all; each individual must select which Joy brings them the greatest satisfaction. 

B. Steps to Fear and Joy Pairing

The following steps are helpful guidelines for pairing selections.

  1. Fear Selection. Select the fear that you want to pair.  At first, it might be advisable to use your training wheels, that is, select one of the milder fears. 
  2. List the Symptoms. List at least two symptoms that are associated with that fear.  For example, embarrassment causes the face to blush, increased heart rate, a strong tendency to look away or down, release adrenaline and the urge to flee or run, etc.  The more detailed the symptoms, the easier it will be to pick one, as discussed in step 3.

3. Select one Symptom. Pick one of the symptoms from the list.  Select the first symptom that popped into your head to maximize the benefit.  This is typically your strongest symptom that affects you.

4. Pairing versus Treatment. Conventional treatment methods for fear are not the same as pairing a Joy to a Fear. For example, the most successful treatment is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, i.e., repetitive exposure techniques.  Sometimes drugs are used to treat the symptom severity.  Occasionally simply stopping a bad habit is the strongest treatment. 

Pairing, however, deals with finding a specific Joy to help with your fear.  Although treating fear and pairing a Joy are different, they are complementary.  In a few cases, a particular Joy may also constitute a Treatment.  That would be ideal.

5. Re-association. This is the most crucial step in pairing.  Find a Joy that will re-associate a fun, enjoyable, or non-threatening feeling with the selected symptom.  For example, if the symptom is increased heart rate, you may want to choose a fun activity that increases heart rate.  Jogging, skydiving, dancing, etc., would meet that criterion.  Therefore, if you are embarrassed, your increased heart rate will not be as strongly associated with being afraid but with a fun activity. 

C. Illustrations of Fear and Joy Pairing

The following Table 1 provides examples of Joy Pairing for a few symptoms.  Enjoy.

Table 1. Fear and Joy Pairing

1. Scream (Passive –Help me, I’m in danger.) The scream is a call for help instead of trying to scare something away.  The latter is an aggressive action indicating dominance instead of a fear response. 

Many fears have this symptom, i.e., crossing paths with a spider or snake and others.

Re-associate the scream with a Joy, which is fun, non-dangerous, or familiar, such as:

  • Amusement Rides. These rides provide a thrilling and fun place where people scream as an indication of pleasure.
  • Concerts. People often scream during a music performance.
  • Children’s Playground. Volunteer to supervise grade school playground activities.
  • Craps Casino Game. Try your hand at this casino game. And, do not pass up the opportunity to throw the dice.  Be prepared to yell when you roll your number.
  • Sporting Events. Attend any high school, college, or professional sporting events. Actively root for your team.

It is best that you participate in the yelling and screaming. If you do this often, screaming when you see a spider may feel strangely out of place. 

2. Afraid of Being Bitten. There are many fears that this may apply, for example, being bitten by a spider, snake, dog, or other larger animals.

Re-associate your negative perception of being bitten with something non-dangerous or familiar place, such as:

  • Puppy. Anyone who has ever owned a puppy has been softly bitten many times. To the puppy, it is a sign of affection and playfulness.  Adopting a puppy will provide many other benefits as well.
  • Love. Softly biting a lover’s ear signifies strong affection between couples. If you have never done it, you may want to try it.
  • Fish Pedicures. This involves certain small fish that nibble on your feet to remove the dead skin. It tickles.  (This pedicure has been banned in many States based on health reasons.)
  • Acupuncture. This involves many needles and is a popular technique to reduce pain and other ailments. Your fear of spider bites may be related to puncturing of the skin, which occurs with needles.
  • Get back to Nature. Go camping, fishing, hunting, or hiking at a National Park and experience the beauty of Mother Nature. It is common to interact with insects and animals during these activities. 
  • Farm Worker. People who have worked on a farm or have been active in gardening have intersected with animals and insects on a routine basis. This could be why very few farmers and ranchers have this fear.  You may try working for a farmer or rancher for a summer if you are young. 

3. Hiding. (To avoid danger by active concealment.) This can apply to a wide variety of fears, particularly many social anxieties.  

Re-associate hiding and being found with something fun, non-dangerous, or familiar place, such as:

  • Hide and Seek. Children play this game in almost every family. It is one of the most influential games to promote social learning and observation.  It is possible your parents did not use this fun game.  Teenagers play a form of this game with squirt guns.  Adults often play a version using camouflage. 
  • Scavenger Hunt. The first person who can follow the clues in the shortest time finds a treasure. Adults often play a form of the scavenger hunt with automobile search trips.
  • Magicians. Watching magicians is an excellent form of entertainment associated with hidden steps and objects.
  • Chess. This game is a fantastic way of setting up hidden traps involving strategy.
  • Bird & Animal Watching. To watch birds and animals close up, you must conceal yourself. If you do this often enough, you will begin to associate hiding with being safe and receiving an award for your patience. 
  • Duck Hunting. Duck hunters often use camouflaged tents or blinds to prevent the birds from seeing them. This is not recommended because it might do the opposite, i.e., reinforcing the negative dangers to the ducks associated with a hiding predator. 

4. Freezing. (This relates to being unable to move and not to the weather.) Most predators spot their prey by movement.  A person stands out in a crowd when they move.  Social Anxieties are particularly prone to the freezing reaction. 

Re-associate freezing with something fun, non-dangerous, or familiar place, such as:

  • Marco Polo Game. This is a game where one player is blindfolded, and all others are trying to avoid being tagged by the blindfolded player. Therefore, freezing in one place without making any sounds is essential.  But when the blindfolded person yells “Marco,” all others must immediately respond with Polo.   
  • Simon Says is a game where a caller gives directions each of the other players is to comply with the rules but only when the caller says, “Simon says touch your nose.” The Caller follows along with the commands. If the caller does not say Simon’s words before the command, then the players are not to move even if Simon moves.  This subconsciously associates “freezing” with winning. 
  • Wildlife Photography. Taking close-up pictures of wildlife requires very little, if any, the movement for long periods. The more patience, the greater the photographic reward. 
  • Bird and Animal watching. Like wildlife photography, this activity requires being hidden for long periods without fast movements.

5. Can’t Breathe. Perceived suffocation is associated with numerous fears, i.e., drowning, being trapped, tight spaces, etc.  It is one of the most challenging perceptions to manage.   This one will likely need some professional help.  Remember, it might be covered by insurance.

Re-associate breathing issues with something enjoyable, non-dangerous, soothing, or commonplace.

  • Scuba Diving. This is the most effective Joy to help with suffocation fears. It requires the person to know how to swim, be submerged deep underwater, and actively suck on the ventilator for it to work.  But, the view of the fish and coral life is spectacular and rewarding.  There is also the added benefit of being weightless. 
  • Snorkeling. This is breathing from a tube while watching the fish below.  People can spend hours quietly floating around while enjoying the underwater views.   
  • Swimming. This activity does not require any equipment. The timing associated with breathing is critical.  Holding one’s breath while underwater improves lung capacity and efficiency.  The enjoyment associated with swimming includes: being in control, having mobility in water, being able to relax on boats and ships, and observing underwater beauty.
  • Meditation.  Many different techniques are used. Proper breathing is a core exercise. The soothing benefits of meditation are well documented.
  • Singing. A significant element of Singing is breath control. It improves lung capacity and learning when to breathe through the mouth or nose.  Joining a choir group is less stressful, particularly in a church setting.  It also provides the benefits of social interactions. 
  • f. Playing a Wind Instrument. Playing any of the wind instruments requires lung and breath control. These are instruments like the trombone, saxophone, clarinet, oboe, flute, and the like.  Playing musical instruments provides great enjoyment at any age.  It also benefits working together to accomplish common goals and improve social skills.
  • Flower Gardening. Growing and smelling flowers associate pleasant fragrances with breathing. It teaches the benefits of breathing pauses to detect and analyze odors.  It also improves one’s ability to distinguish and see individual components making up a bouquet. 

6. Falling/Heights. Falling and fear of heights are different but are grouped in this pairing analysis. Falling is a movement issue, while height is a depth perception issue. Many effective techniques reduce this fear, and there are treatment drugs for inner ear infections.  These are treatment options and not pairing issues.   

Re-associate falling/height with something fun, non-dangerous, or commonplace.

  • Amusement Park Rides. Many of these rides provide both falling and heights. They offer a delightful thrill while being safe.  
  • Trampoline. This device is where a strong fabric is stretched between springs that accelerate bouncing. Bounce heights of 10 to 15 feet are standard.  They provide a thrill associated with being weightless. 
  • In-Door Skydiving. This can involve both treatment and pairing issues. Indoor skydiving is a safe and popular recreation for all ages.  iFlyworld.com has facilities throughout the world.
  • Zip Line. A zip line is an aerial suspended cable system allowing people to be propelled by gravity at treetop levels. They provide a thrilling speed along with fantastic views. 
  • Hot Air Balloons. This is a definitive treatment and Joy pairing collaboration. For one afraid of heights, this would be difficult at first but effective in reducing this fear.  Those with a phobia (excessive fear of heights) must contact a professional before trying this. 
  • Indoor Rock Climbing. This would be a safe option to start. Once accomplished, the hot air balloons may be a second option. 

7. Infection. The core of this fear is the fear of death. This includes most of the classic physical worries. Social Fears are less important but sometimes play a role, such as being sick to generate sympathy, etc.    The treatment options often include simply turning off or limiting your exposure to the news and social media. 

Re-associate infection/illness/dying with something that is healthy and makes you happy.  Studies have shown that a happy person is less prone to this fear.

  • Family. Family is the top Joy to pair with this fear. It is the most effective in providing happiness.  There is a separate section dealing with Family Basics and Family Relationships.   In addition, the Family offers a source of protection for medical support and reduces fears associated with mobility, sustenance, and decision-making. 
  • Pets. Having a pet, particularly a dog, for constant companionship is important. They will listen as long as you talk, will not question your wisdom, will love you no matter what, and will take your mind off your problems.  Studies have shown that people have a stronger desire to survive if they are responsible for someone else and a companion pet fits that criteria.
  • Religion. A strong spiritual belief provides strength. People with serious illnesses have been shown to have quicker recoveries using prayer and spiritual support. 
  • Meditation. The health benefits of meditation are documented in several scientific studies.  This would include Yoga.
  • Reading. Reading for enjoyment provides an escape from one’s problems.
  • Jogging and other cardiovascular activities.  A healthy body suppresses negative health thoughts.
  • Dancing.  This is the top activity for both mental and physical health.  It also has a vital social component.

8. Running Away.  This symptom is the automatic urge to protect oneself.  Much comes from the primitive brain, although it can also originate from learned encounters. The vast majority deal with perceived danger. This would include spiders, snakes, animals, fire, freezing, weapons, hospitals, supernatural views, etc.  Taking flight in the face of danger has protected us for millions of years and is not something that should be ignored.  However, analytical actions can be taken once the danger has been identified and the emergency has been resolved.   

In performing these analytical actions, re-associate the running-away feeling with something that is healthy and makes you happy.

  • Athletic Competition. Racing with your children, spouse, or friends.  Stealing bases during a baseball game.  The game of tag.  Flag football. 
  • Racing Events. Drag and automobile racing.  Horse racing.
  • Freezing Games. Dance games where the players freeze when the music stops.  Hide and seek games.  Musical chairs. 

D. Practice Pairing Excercises

Exercise # 1. Susan is receiving an award next month at her company social event planned in her honor.  She is expected to accept the award and give a short speech.   She is a C-Type personality and is extremely nervous about the upcoming event.  She complains of becoming lightheaded whenever she thinks about it. 

An internet search of lightheadedness could be caused by being dehydrated.  Drinking water will help.  Some of the sea sickness remedies, such as eating ginger, may help reduce lightheadedness. 

What Joy should Susan select to help her?

Lightheadedness.    Rapid or shallow breathing is one of the causes of lightheadedness.  Drinking more water and taking Ginger may be a helpful remedy to the condition, but those are treatments and not Joy pairing.  

Re-associate lightheadedness from shallow or rapid breathing with something non-threatening, enjoyable, healthy, or normal, such as:

  • Breathing or Suffocation Issue. Many of the Joys discussed under Can’t Breathe (Swimming, Meditation, Singing, Playing Wind Instruments, Flower Gardening) may be helpful.
  • Amusement Park Rides. Some amusement park rides may cause moments of lightheadedness. Taking these rides may help.
  • Other Cardio-Vascular activities.  Becoming involved in jogging, dancing, hiking, etc. might be helpful.

Exercise # 2.  John is interested in asking Beth for the senior prom about two months away.  He is afraid she may say no.  He has built up his courage a couple of times to approach her.  When he gets near her, she looks at him and smiles.  He panics and looks down or away and then walks past her. 

What Joy should John select?

Avoiding Eye Contact.  This is a common reaction associated with embarrassment. 

Re-associate eye contact with something non-threatening, enjoyable, healthy, or normal, such as:

  • First to Smile Game. This is a game where participants try and make the other contestants smile. Each time a person smiles, they are eliminated.  Incidental to this game are close observations of each person’s faces. 
  • Staring Game. This game is based on staring into the eyes of another, and the first person to look away loses. Hence, winning is staring into someone else’s eyes. 
  • Puppets. Learning puppetry teaches the importance of eye contact between the puppet and the audience.
  • Optical Illusion Puzzles. These puzzles require training the eye to see things differently. It is fascinating to see completely different things from viewing the same photograph.  The only difference is a change in one’s point of view.  Looking at someone with a fearful or negative perception will likely reveal a different image than if you look at the same person with a more positive point of view.  
  • Rebus Puzzles. These puzzles use pictures and symbols to represent a word or phrase. For example, an image of an eye next to a heart next to a U-turn arrow. This is to describe the phrase; I love you.   These puzzles show various communications based on observations. 
  • Picture Puzzles. This is a puzzle of two pictures of the same person, place, or thing, but something is slightly different. The object is to find those differences.
  • Brainteasers. These games make you think of alternative explanations for various circumstances or observations. For example, a box with the word Head above the word Heels.  The answer is Head over Heels.  It teaches different interpretations from the same observations.
  • Jigsaw Puzzles. These puzzles focus the mind on the minute elements of a picture.  It requires observation and analysis.  No one can solve a Jigsaw puzzle by refusing to look at the picture.
  • Photography.  This requires looking at something from a different point of view.  Taking a quick picture of something or someone does not take into account the shadows that may be crossing the subjects face, the things going on behind the subject, or whether the light is sufficient to capture the subtle nuances.  The photographer learns the importance of observing these other things.  

Exercise # 3.  Steven is a 35-year-old computer programmer.  He has been divorced for three years and is interested in dating again.  He wants to ask Elizabeth, a friend from church, out to dinner.  But, he is afraid that he will be rejected.  Each time he builds the nerve to call her, he backs down.  He hung up on the telephone twice when she answered and said, “Hello.”  He began to worry that she would find out who made the call even though he had a blocked number.

What Joy should Steven select to get over his fear of rejection?

Rejection.  Rejection is fear and not a symptom.  However, some symptoms associated with this fear are  “hesitancy to make a decision” and “risk avoidance.”  

Re-associate this hesitancy or risk avoidance with something non-threatening, enjoyable, healthy, or usual, such as:

  • Rejection Game.  This is a game that is built around Rejection Therapy.  As such, this is more of a treatment method (a good one) rather than a Joy.  However, there is a card game that exists around this treatment that has entertainment value.   This would be an example of a treatment method and a Joy pairing.
  • Musical Chairs.  In this game, participants walk around chairs placed in a circle as music is played.  When the music stops, everyone finds a chair to sit on.   Unfortunately, there is always one less chair than the participants.  This teaches one that making a quick decision is better than not making a decision. 
  • Read Inspiring Stories.  This section of the website has hundreds of stories of real people that have become successful.  Almost everyone had to go through heartache and rejection. 
  • Monopoly® Game.  This game teaches that you cannot win without taking risks and making decisions.  
  • Chess.  This is a game of strategy.  This is another game showing that a player cannot win without taking risks and making decisions.
  • Learn Geometry.  This is directed to C-Type Personalities more than others.  Algebra deals with solving problems by proving what something is.  Geometry deals with solving problems by proving what something is not.  For example, if one angle is greater than 90 degrees in a triangle, all other angles must be less.   Rejecting something is progress and a scientific method.  A rejection by Elizabeth may be a necessary step before asking out the perfect match. 

Exercise # 4.  Alice is 21 years old and unmarried.  She works as a telephone receptionist for a small law firm.  She has no savings.  She was let go because of her office’s lack of legal work.   She is afraid that she will be evicted from her apartment.  

What fear does Alice have, and what symptoms go with that fear?

What Joy should Alice select to help her?

Terminating can raise many fears—lack of shelter, starvation, low self-esteem, etc.  The symptoms of these fears are widespread as well.    One symptom may be a feeling of loss of control over one’s life.

Re-associate a loss of control with something non-threatening or enjoyable, such as:

  • Games involving removal of one or more senses, such as:
    • bowling while blindfolded,
    •  interpreting a conversation while wearing earplugs,
    • talking to a potential date in complete darkness.
  • Compliment strangers and observe their reactions. 
  • Learn something new like a dance or foreign language.

Exercise # 5.  Dale is 25 years old computer programmer.  He is the go-to expert on a new search program he has developed.  A large auditorium-sized venue has been scheduled for a public debut.  Dale has been selected to lead the presentation.  When he looks at a large gathering of people, he has difficulty focusing on any individual.  All he sees is a sizeable blurry mass of people.     

What fear does Dale have, and what symptoms go with that fear?

What Joy should Dale select to help him?

The fear is apparent.  He has a fear of public speaking.  His fear is likely very stressful.  Many public speaking experts recommend focusing on two or three individuals in the crowd and talking to them.   But this is a problem with Dale.

Re-associate a mass of blurry people with something non-threatening or enjoyable, such as:

  • One of the things that almost all ballroom dancers do is called a spot turn.   A spot turn is precisely what it sounds like.  The dancer focuses on a  spot on the wall and then spins 360 degrees.  Every 180 degrees, a different spot is selected.  The dancer keeps their eyes focused on the spot while their bodies turn and then quickly moves their head to the new spot while their body continues in a smooth circle.  
  • The spot turn is not easy, but once mastered allows the dancer to make complete 360-degree spins without becoming dizzy.  Everything is blurred out except the two selected spots.
  • Dale should practice spot turns to focus his attention on two spots. 

Now that you Know about Fear and Joy Pairing, the next thing is to Calculate your Joy to Fear ratio.