How to Overcome Anxiety Forever

Nir Eyal
Psychology of Stuff
5 min readJun 21, 2024

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Experiencing fear without harm lessens feelings of anxiety.

Nir’s Note: The following essay is adapted from a chapter in Get Better at Anything: 12 Maxims for Mastery by Scott Young. Scott is the author of Ultralearning and a TedX speaker renowned for his “MIT Challenge,” where he learned 4 year’s worth of college-level computer science in just 12 months..

On the eve of the Second World War, as conflict with Germany appeared inevitable, leaders in Britain seemed sure of two things:

  1. Advancements in aircraft technology meant planes would drop bombs on major populated centers on a scale far beyond what had been seen in the previous great war.
  2. The terror of nightly bombing raids would inflict far greater psychological damage than physical casualties.

Winston Churchill predicted three to four million people might be forced to flee metropolitan centers after the first bombing raids. Tens of thousands of police officers were requested to prevent the stampeding exodus from trampling one another. A group of esteemed psychologists estimated psychological casualties would exceed physical injuries three-to-one.

This expert consensus was expressed best when the director of a London medical clinic said it was, “clear to everyone that there must be an immediate inundation with…

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Nir Eyal
Psychology of Stuff

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