Fear and Joy Practice Exercises

The following are a few fun practice exercises utilizing the Joy to Fear Ratios.  Practice, Practice, Practice is the key to cementing the concepts into your mind. 

If you have a practice exercise that you have used that might help others, please let Quorvita know.   The address is in the About Us link.

Easy Fear and Joy Practice Exercises

Practice Exercise Number 1

Marvin, a 38-year-old married mailman with no children, is afraid of public speaking (strongest fear – lowest frequency), climate change (average fear – above average frequency), and dogs (average intensity – highest frequency). 

He enjoys walking (most pleasurable joy – highest occurrence), playing the saxophone (average joy – average frequency), and dancing (above average pleasure – below average frequency).

What is Marvin’s rough and adjusted Joy to Fear ratios?

What do you recommend?

Marvin’s rough Joy to Fear ratio is calculated as follows:


  • Spouse = 1
  • Walking = 1
  • Playing Saxophone = 1
  • Dancing = 1
    • Total = 4


  • Public Speaking = 1
  • Climate Change = 1
  • Dogs = 1
    • Total = 3

Rough Joy to Fear Ratio = 4/3 or 1.3.  This is far below the ideal ratio above  3.

Calculation of Marvin’s Adjusted Joy to Fear ratio:


  • Spouse = 1
  • Walking = (1.5 X 2) = 3
  • Playing Saxophone = (1 X 1 ) = 1
  • Dancing = (1.2 X 0.75) = 0.9
    • Total = 5.9


  • Public Speaking = (2 X 0.5) = 1
  • Climate Change = (1 X 1.2) = 1.2
  • Dogs = (1 X 1.5) = 1.5
    • Total = 3.7

Adjusted Joy to Fear Ratio = 5.9/3.7 or 1.6.  This is far below the ideal ratio of greater than 3. 

Recommendations.  The first step is to work on Marvin’s number one fear – Dogs.  The easiest way is to buy or adopt a puppy.  A puppy constitutes a treatment as well as an added Joy.   Two birds with one stone kind of thing. This single action could improve the adjusted joy/fear ratio to 3.1 in one giant leap.  

Taking on the fear of Climate Change is the next step.   The news and social media constantly blame our woes on climate change.  Again, the solution is sitting in front of you.  Turn off the television or put down the cell phone and ignore the doom and gloom stories. It will immediately reduce the frequency of thinking about climate change. With time it will also reduce the fear intensity.

These two steps can potentially increase the joy/fear ratio to 3.45. 

Practice Exercise Number 2

Susan is a 25-year-old unmarried legal secretary with a 4-year-old daughter.   She is afraid of commitment (average fear –  average frequency), becoming overweight (average fear – below average frequency), and hides her smile because of a couple of crooked front teeth (strongest intensity – highest frequency). 

She enjoys reading (most pleasurable joy – average frequency), listening to operas (average joy – lowest frequency), cooking (average joy – above average frequency), and dancing (above average pleasure – below average frequency).

What is Susan’s rough and adjusted Joy to Fear ratios?

What do you recommend she do, if anything?

Susan’s rough Joy to Fear ratio calculation is:


  • Child = 1
  • Reading = 1
  • Opera = 1
  • Cooking = 1
  • Dancing = 1
    • Total =5


  • Commitmentnt =  1
  • Fear of gaining weight = 1
  • Embarrassment from Crooked Teeth  = 1
    • Total = 3

The Rough Joy to Fear Ratio = 5/3 or 1.66.  This is below the ideal ratio of greater than 3.

Calculation of Adjusted ratio.


  • Child = 1
  • Reading = (2 X 1) = 2
  • Opera = (1 X 0.5 ) = 0.5
  • Cooking = (1 X 1.2) = 1.2
  • Dancing = (1 X 0.75) = 0.75
  • Total = 5.45


  • Commitment = (1 X 1 ) = 1
  • Weight Issues = (1 X 0.75)  = 0.75, and
  • Embarrassment Crooked Teeth = ( 2 X 1.5) = 3
  • Total = 4.75

Susan’s Adjusted Joy to Fear ratio is (5.45 /4.75) or 1.1.

Recommendation.  Susan must first work on her embarrassment problem.  It has the most obvious solution is to fix the crooked teeth.  This problem is so overwhelming that she must find a way to pay for it.  That would reduce the embarrassment problem from 3 to 0.  This, in turn, would improve the joy/fear ratio to 3.1.  This one step is all she has to do to accomplish the goal of over 3.  

Reducing the fear of gaining weight will further improve the ratio.  The good news is that fixing her teeth will have a significant positive impact on all of her other self-esteem-related fears. 

The section on Fear and Joy pairing suggests that Susan should take up jogging every morning.  This might require her to take her daughter along in a jogging stroller.  This will likely increase the pleasure and Joy in doing an activity together. One-on-one time in the fresh air for a working mother might be priceless.

Adding a jogging joy (+1) and reducing the intensity of worrying about her weight to the lowest value (0.5) could change the joy to fear ratio to 4.3, i.e. (6.45/1.5). 

This is a potential home run.

Slightly More Difficult Fear and Joy Practice Exercises

Practice Exercise Number 3

John is a 38-year-old married man with three children.  He is a computer engineer and enjoys putting Jigsaw puzzles together, going to the Theater, watching his children play soccer, and reading his Horoscope once a week.  He has been doing Jigsaw puzzles and reading his Horoscope more than normal. 

He hasn’t gone to the Theater for several years even though it is his most pleasurable activity.  He loves nature and usually heads to a campsite three times a year.  He only went twice in the last 12 months.  He is afraid of flying, but his job forces him to do it four times a year.  This year was no different.  

His worst fear is public speaking, and he spoke more this year than ever.  He has an average fear of meeting strangers at parties and seeks out those he knows to avoid talking to strangers.  Going to parties was about average in number last year.

Although baptized, he has not attended church services for the last two years. 

His job requires him to return home at different hours, and the family does not regularly eat dinner together. 

What is John’s rough and adjusted Joy to Fear ratios?

What should John do to bring more happiness into his life?

John’s rough Joy to Fear ratio calculation is:


  • Spouse = 1
  • Children = 3
  • Jigsaw Puzzles = 1
  • Watch Soccer = 1
  • Horoscope = 1
  • Church = 0
  • Theater = 0
  • Camping = 1
    • Total =8


  • Flying =  1
  • Public Speaking = 1
  • Meeting Strangers = 1
    • Total = 3

John’s rough Joy to Fear ratio is (8/3) = 2.6. 

Calculation of Adjusted ratio is:


  • Spouse = 1
  • Children = 3
  • Jigsaw Puzzles = (1 X 1.2 ) = 1.2
  • Watching Soccer = (1 X 1 ) = 1
  • Horoscope = (1 X 1.2 ) = 1.2
  • Camping = (1 X 0.75) = 0.75
    • Total =8.15


  • Flying =  (1 X 1 ) = 1
  • Public Speaking = (2 X 1.5) =3
  • Meeting Strangers = 1
    • Total = 5

John’s adjusted Joy to Fear ratio is (8.15/5 ) = 1.63. 

His adjusted ratio is considerably lower than the rough ratio illustrating the advantage of the adjusted ratio. 

If you counted the theater as a Joy, that would be an over-count.  He has not been to the theater for several years.  Likewise, he has not been to church in the last two years. 

Recommendation.  The first thing that John should do is reduce their public speaking fear level.  This is a major problem since his fear score on that one issue dominates the others. 

It would be helpful if John joined a Dale Carnegie™ course or similar training course to reduce his public speaking stresses.  Or he might try riding on a roller coaster several times before each big speech.  

If he cured his Public Speaking fear, that would increase his adjusted score to a whopping 4.1, which is way above the level needed.  But totally eliminating that fear would not be realistic. 

If he reduced the number of times he had to speak to a normal level and reduced his fear stress level to average, then the adjusted ratio would be 2.7.  That would be great, but a score of 3 or above is recommended.

If John returned to going to the Theater on his normal schedule, that would increase his Score to 3.  But if he returned to going to church, it would increase his ratio to 3.4. 

A couple of things become apparent from doing this exercise.  

Fear negatively affects happiness more than Joy, so it is essential to treat your fears quickly.  Studies have shown that the earlier one treats their fears, the easier it is to fix them.

But, adding a new Joy is easier to do, more enjoyable, and will bring happiness to you and others around you.

This means do both – treat the fear and add a joy, preferably a paired Joy.

Practice Exercise Number 4

Eddie is a 29-year-old  married man with two children, ages 5 and 6.  He is a local truck driver in Utah.  He attends church once a week and enjoys teaching Sunday school.   His 5-year-old son is a bit of a problem, and it causes Eddie to rarely compliments him.   He loves to barbecue and is exceptional in cooking ribs with his invented sauces.  Unfortunately, he lives in the snow country and cannot barbecue outside in the winter.

Eddie dislikes heights and gets nervous about climbing into his truck every day.  He does not share his vulnerabilities with anyone.  Fortunately, it rarely comes up. 

His greatest fear is that he will die from cancer.  He thinks about it all the time.   Both parents passed away in their 50’s because of cancer.  

What is Eddie’s rough and adjusted Joy to Fear ratios?

What should he do to bring more happiness into his life?

Eddie’s rough Joy to Fear ratio is calculated as follows:


  • Spouse = 1
  •  Children = 2
  • Cooking = 1
  • Religion = 1
  • Teaches Sunday School = 1
    • Total = 6


  • Heights = 1
  • Intimacy = 1
  • Cancer = 1
    • Total = 3

Rough Joy to Fear Ratio = (6/3) = 2.

This places him in the needs improvement zone.  His lack of compliments to his son could be a strain between the children and cause the son’s behavior issues. 

Eddie’s adjusted Joy to Fear ratio is calculated as follows:


  • Spouse = 1
  • Children = 2
  • Cooking = (2 X 0.5 ) = 1
  • Religion = (1 X 1 ) = 1
  • Teaches Sunday School = (1.5 X 1) = 2
    • Total = 7


  • Heights = (1 X 1.5) = 1.5
  • Intimacy = (1 X 0.5) = 0.5
  • Cancer = (2 X 1.5) = 3
    • Total = 5

Eddie’s Adjusted Joy to Fear Ratio = (7/5) or 1.4.

Recommendations.  The first thing that Eddie should do is reduce the level of fear of Cancer.  This is a major problem since his fear score on this issue was his highest.  This is not a common fear for men his age, and he should consider professional help.  He needs to reduce the frequency he thinks about it and its stress level.  Review the section on fear of death for methods and techniques. 

His parents likely contracted cancer for reasons not applicable to Eddie.  For example, they may have been exposed to environmental toxins, perhaps they smoked, and there may be a strong possibility that their cancer was not inheritable.  Most cancers are not inheritable.  

If he reduced the frequency and intensity of the cancer fear to normal, his adjusted joy to Fear ratio would go up to 2.3.  This is a practical and possible step within his abilities.  His family and fellow church members would provide great support in this endeavor.  It could result in a jump of almost one point.

If Eddie began barbecuing in the Winter, this would increase the Joy to Fear ratio to  2.6.  Not much, but it is headed in the right direction.  If he visited a National Park (a paired Joy) each year, it could increase his ratio to  3 while helping reduce his cancer fear.   If he added jogging (another paired Joy), it would increase the ratio to 3.3.

That means doing these simple steps has the potential of increasing his ratio from 1.4 to 3.3 or an improvement in his happiness by 135%. 

Practice Exercise Number 5

Laura is an attractive 35-year old  woman with two boys ages 12 and 13.  The children are extremely smart and both get straight A’s in school. 

She was married for 10 years when her husband was killed in an auto accident.  She is currently working as a waitress at a local restaurant   Her income barely supports her house and living expenses. 

She has met a wealthy man with a playboy reputation who wants to marry her.  But she does not love him and believes, based on his past, that he will not be loyal to her.  She is thinking about saying yes because it would be one way her boys can go to college.  But she feels guilty about using him for financial support.

Her biggest and most frequent fear is that she cannot adequately support her kids.  She is also afraid of roaches in her apartment and asks her kids to spray an insecticide where ever the bugs appear. 

Her greatest Joy is singing in her church Choir, which she does weekly.    She praises her children every day. 

What is Laura’s rough and adjusted Joy to Fear ratios?

What should Laura do to bring more happiness into her life?

Laura’s rough Joy to Fear ratio is calculated as follows:


  • Children =2
  • Compliments = 1
  • Singing Choir =1
  • Religion = 1
    • Total =5


  • Fear of failure-Cannot Support Self and Children = 1
  • Fears guilty for Not being in Love = 1
  • Fears guilty for using boyfriend = 1
  • Bugs =1
    • Total = 4

Rough Joy to Fear Ratio = (5/4) or 1.25.

This places her in a major need for improvement category.  

Laura’s adjusted Joy to Fear ratio is shown below:


  • Children =2
  • Compliment = (1.5 X 1.2) = 1.8
  • Singing Choir = (2 X 1.2) = 2.4
  • Religion = (1 X 1 ) = 1
    • Total =7.2


  • Fear of failure-Cannot Support Self and Children = (2 X 1.5) = 3
  • Fears guilty for using boyfriend = (1.5 X 1.2) = 1.8
  • Fears guilty for Not being in Love = (1 X 1.2) = 1.2
  • Bugs =1
    • Total = 7

Adjusted Joy to Fear Ratio = (7.2/7) or 1.

Recommendations.  Laura’s greatest fear is not being able to support her children. This must be addressed.  There are several ways to treat this problem. 

  • She can work harder to make more money.   But this carries the burden of not dropping some joys.  
  • She can marry a successful person.  

These are big issues requiring time and help from family, friends, church, and perhaps professionals if she can get help picking up the costs. 

Reducing her guilt of using her playboy boyfriend to support her children might be easier than you think.  Marrying someone because that would provide financial support is a factor in essentially all marriages.  It is a valid consideration in marriage and should not cause one to feel they are being manipulative.  

Not being in love is a concern in most arranged marriages.  Arranged marriages in the US have a divorce rate of 4% as compared to 50% for non-arranged marriages.  In India, where arranged marriages constitute 90 % of all marriages, the divorce rate is only 1%.  This suggests that marrying because of love at the beginning may not be a good indicator of a successful marriage. 

However, knowing that you do not love someone and using the marriage only for financial support must be addressed.  This complex problem might have a simple (but not easy) solution.

It can be addressed by being honest with the would-be spouse.  Tell him how you feel and why you are marrying him.  This should remove most of the guilt feelings.  The would-be groom with a playboy reputation has probably never encountered such honesty.   Everyone, even playboys, appreciates honesty.

Next, you should tell him that you are fearful that he will not be faithful.  Perhaps negotiate an agreement that if he is not faithful, he will pay for your children’s education. 

Being brutally honest and having a potential education arrangement for the two boys could reduce these fears and improve the joy-to-fear ratio to above 3. 

The insect issue can be helped by adding a gardening hobby (a paired Joy for this Fear).

Even More Difficult Fear and Joy Practice Exercises

Practice Exercise Number 6

Simon is a 25-year-old actor who has starred in several movies and three commercials.  He is a handsome man with an athletic build.  He does not get along with his parents or siblings and has not talked to them for years.  However, he has asked them to forgive him for not keeping in touch.

He has been dating Jill, an 18-year-old model who is deeply religious.  She recently informed him that she was pregnant.  He criticized her for not taking birth control pills and advised her to get an abortion.  He told her he had too much on his plate with this career to get involved. 

His greatest fear is that his acting career will end, and he will lose his fan base.  It haunts him, and he thinks about it all the time.  His only escape from this fear is to take drugs.  He is afraid of flying, which he has to do for his job more than normal.  He is also afraid of tight spaces.   With the news about the pregnancy, he is terrified it will get into the tabloids and ruin his chances in an upcoming audition.   

His greatest pleasure is acting.  Unfortunately, he has not been in a movie as much as normal.  His second greatest pleasure is socializing with his fans, and he does it more often than usual.  He is witty and funny.   He tells all of them that they are the greatest.  He is pleased with his physical health and goes to the gym daily. 

What is Simon’s rough and adjusted Joy to Fear ratios?

What should Simon do to bring more happiness into his life?

Simon’s rough Joy to Fear ratio is calculated as follows:


  • Loves his Job = 1
  • Enjoys his Physical Health = 1
  • Compliments Fans = 0
  • Asked Family &  Siblings for Forgiveness = 0
    • Total = 2


  • Job Insecurity = 1
  • Tabloid will harm him re pregnancy news = 1
  • Fear of Flying = 1
  • Fear of Tight Spaces= 1
  • Fear of Drug Dependence = 1
    • Total = 5

Rough Joy to Fear Ratio = (2/5) or 0.4.

This places him in a critical need for improvement category.  

Simon’s adjusted Joy to Fear ratio is shown below:

  • Loves his Job = (2 X 1.5) = 3
  • Enjoys his Physical Health = (1.2 X 1.2) = 1.4
  • Apologize  = 0
    • Total = 4.4


  • Job Insecurity = (2 X 1.5) = 3
  • Tabloid will harm him re pregnancy news = (1.2 X 1) = 1.2
  • Fear of Flying = 1
  • Fear of Tight Spaces= 1
  • Fear of Drug Dependence = (1.2 X 1.2) = 1.4
    • Total = 7.6

Adjusted Joy to Fear Ratio = (4.4/7.6) or 0.58.

Recommendations.   If your first thoughts were that Simon was a douchebag, you have missed the point of this exercise.   Simon is likely suffering inside.   Many actors, if not most, suffer from depression.  As such, professional help is strongly recommended. 

Simon’s greatest fear is losing his acting career.  This is also connected to the fear of the Tabloid discovering the pregnancy and the fear of drug addiction.  They are all different but connected. 

First, he must increase his happiness level unrelated to the acting career.  The strongest solution is family, i.e., get married and have children.  They need to consider marriage if he loves Jill for who she is and if Jill loves him for who he is.   One way to determine if a wedding is a good match is to ask and get permission from Jill’s parents.  And then ask and obtain permission from Simon’s parents.  Simon and Jill should consider pausing the marriage plans if they say no.

Second, Simon must kick the drug habit.  This means a real and lengthy rehabilitation. 

Third, Simon should try to reconcile with his parents and siblings.   Reconciliation means more than words.   Reconciliation adds honesty and value to the mix.  Words are good, but honesty is better.   Giving up something that has intrinsic value would add credibility.  For example, submitting to drug rehab would be an example of something with intrinsic value.

If Simon can do all these things, it could increase his joy to fear ratio to (6.4/3) = 2.1.  That is a jump of 262%. 

Simon does not get credit for the apology to the parents and siblings since there was no apology.  Simon does not get credit for compliments given to his fan club since the compliments were not heartfelt.   Simon did not receive credit for any forgiveness since the person who forgives must be the person who was wronged. 

Next, Simon should compliment individuals and observe the effects honestly.  To do this, the compliment should be fact specific.  Simon is in a unique position.  A genuine compliment will particularly benefit those people who admire Simon.  This could increase the Joy to the Fear ratio of 2.5. 

Next, Simon should volunteer to help others.  And he should do it without notifying the media to receive publicity.  He may choose to help struggling actors, particularly those actors who may stray into drugs.  This could increase the ratio to 2.8. 

Reducing the frequency of his flying and the frequency of getting in tight spaces would jointly put him over the top with a ratio of 3.1.