We all want different things out of life. Some of us are entrepreneurs and want to change the world. Some of us are employees wanting to pay all the bills. Some of us are homemakers making sure our children are looked after well. Some of us are students wanting to get the best grades.
Wherever you are in life, we are striving for something else, something better. In the process, we are bound to meet with failure and feel fear.
What is fear? Fear really is a protective mechanism because if we did not have it, we may not back away from legitimate threats. But where it holds us back is when the situations are far from being life-threatening.
Fear is an emotion. Notice the word emotion. It contains the word motion. We live in a sea of motion as everything is energy. So, the energy of fear is energy in motion. Energy is what we need to move.
In the body, fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals. These chemicals produce a fight-or-flight response or sometimes a freeze response. The stimulus could be a real threat or a perceived threat.
The brain is part of the central nervous system where information is evaluated and decisions made. It is a very complex organ and connects to the peripheral nervous system. This allows it to receive and interpret the messages from all parts of the body. Some of these communications lead to conscious thought and action, while others produce autonomic responses. The fear response is almost entirely autonomic.
Some of the parts of the brain involved with the fear response are the thalamus, the sensory cortex, the hippocampus, the hypothalamus and the amygdala. The amygdala is interesting as it decodes emotions, determines possible threats, and stores fear memories. It is part of our survival instinct. This survival instinct is our most powerful drive but it is largely unconscious and genetically hard-wired into our DNA.
So sometimes the fears we have, may have been genetically passed down to us. This means they are so unconscious, we don’t even know they are there. So, the first step to working with fear is to become conscious that it is there.
This can be tricky as we have developed habits that may have come out of an old belief that was based on fear. So sometimes we need a pair of eyes outside ourselves to show us the way that fear is holding us back.
For some fears though, we know they are there every time we try to do something different. Our brain does not like change as our whole nervous system is wired to keep us safe. So, when we try something new, there is a fear that comes up as we don’t know if we will be able to do the new thing.
We must separate ourselves from the fear and realize that it is just an energy. Once we see it as energy and not ourselves, then we can utilize that energy. We can use that energy to do the thing that frightens us. Some will call this facing our fears or shining the light on them. Once we separate ourselves from our fear then we can see it is an illusion.
This will help us reframe it and use the energy of it to our advantage. So next time there is something new that you are faced with and it scares you, separate from the fear and let it fuel the thing you want to change.