The Art of Fear with Kristen Ulmer | My Instruction Manual

The Art of Fear with Kristen Ulmer

Kristen Ulmer, author of The Art of Fear, shares the four-step art of fear method. And host Keith McArthur speaks with nutrition contributor Michelle Jaelin about why most diets are a waste of time.

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Episode 17 Show Notes

[00:00] Welcome and Intro

[1:00] Featured interview with Kristen Ulmer

Kristen Ulmer is author of The Art of Fear: Why Conquering Fear Won’t Work and What to Do Instead. In the nineties, Kristen was known as the best female big mountain extreme skier in the world.

In this conversation, Keith and Kristen discuss:

  • Kristen tells the story of the day she instantly became recognized as the best in the world [2:01]
  • Fear as a motivation [3:56]
  • Fear as mindfulness [5:12]
  • That time Kristen got paralyzed by fear when she went to give a speech on how to overcome fear [7:05]
  • How Kristen learned she had an unhealthy relationship with fear  [9:31]
  • Kristen says we can’t overcome fear. She shares what we need to do instead [12:30]
  • The Art of Fear Method [15:11]
    • Step 1: Acknowledge that fear is natural and normal to feel, not a sign of weakness or a character flaw [15:36]
    • Step 2: Be aware of where you’re feeling discomfort in your body related to fear [16:09]
    • Step 3: Be aware of how much you’re trying to resist the sensations of fear [18:58]
    • Step 4: Feel the discomfort without trying to get rid of it [21:04]
  • Meditation and fear  [23:36]
  • Kristen says a better relationship with fear would have made her an even better skier [25:19]

[26:52] Kristen’s Inuction Manual

1. What are the habits you maintain every day to stay happy and healthy? [27:10]

  • The 4-step art of fear practice

 2. What personal development book do you recommend? [27:50]

  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
    • “Reading that book really changed my life because I realized I could access that state just sitting in a chair.”

3. Favorite personal mantra / inspirational quote [28:51] 

  • “Whatever you won’t look at is the key to freedom.”

4. What’s your one guilty pleasure? [30:18]

  • Macaroni and Cheese

5. When your time comes, how do you want to be remembered? [30:49]

  • As someone who embodied what it means to be “alive”

[32:14] Where to find Kristen

[32:27] Nutrition contributor Michelle Jaelin on diets

Michelle Jaelin is both a trained artist and a Registered Dietitian who is known as The NutritionArtist. She appears regularly as in newspapers, magazines and on television as an expert in healthy eating.

In this conversation, Keith and Michelle discuss:

  • How should we define diet? [33:46]
  • Michelle’s verdict on the ketogenic diet and periodic fasting [34:18]
  • Michelle’s advice: Eat more mindfully and stop when you feel full [36:14]
  • Why Michelle is down on what we traditionally think of as diets    [47:25]
  • Where to find Michelle:

[38:42] Closing words

Feedback & Connect


  1. I need to listen to this, like… weekly. I suffer from anxiety – most of the time, my fear level is between 4 and 6, and my “resistance” level would be an 8, though both occasionally peak together at 10. When that happens, I become non functional, which afterwards makes me afraid that it will happen again. While in therapy, I realized that I was suppressing practically all my negative emotions. I’m still learning how not to do this; it’s a daily struggle. Currently, all of my methods for dealing with anxiety are aimed at making me feel less anxious (which is different from repression), but I’ll try integrating more acceptance in the mix. I already practiced “self love”, but it was more like “I love myself *despite* my anxiety”, so it was still not very accepting.

    One thing that really piqued my attention is when she said we have to deal with our emotions “emotionally”. A shrink told me that I seemed analyse my emotions rather than “feeling” them, and I realized it was true, but I didn’t know what to do about it. I’m a brainiac, possibly autistic, so analyzing things comes naturally. I guess I’ll try to integrate some sort of “feeling meditation” to my routine. Since I was diagnosed with anxiety, it’s been impossible for me to do traditional meditation, but taking a few minutes daily to acknowledge my feelings might be beneficial.

    Thank you for this! Keep up the good work.

  2. I’m glad you found the podcast useful Ida! There are parts of Kristen’s technique that I’m not 100% sold on, but I definitely agree that it’s important to “feel” our difficult feelings and not just our good ones.

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