Do you have this fear

November 19, 2012

Do you have this fear

“Fear of failure leads to failure.” Paulo Coelho

Fear is one of the most basic human emotions. It is programmed into the nervous system and works like an instinct. From the time we’re infants, we are equipped with the survival instincts necessary to respond with fear when we sense danger or feel unsafe.  Fear helps protect us. It makes us alert to danger and prepares us to deal with it. Feeling afraid is very natural — and helpful — in some situations. Fear can be like a warning, a signal that cautions us to be careful.  Like all emotions, fear can be mild, medium, or intense, depending on the situation and the person. A feeing of fear can be brief or it can last longer.

How Fear Works

When we sense danger, the brain reacts instantly, sending signals that activate the nervous system. This causes physical responses, such as a faster heartbeat, rapid breathing, and an increase in blood pressure. Blood pumps to muscle groups to prepare the body for physical action (such as running or fighting). Skin sweats to keep the body cool. Some people might notice sensations in the stomach, head, chest, legs, or hands. These physical sensations of fear can be mild or strong.

This response is known as “fight or flight” because that is exactly what the body is preparing itself to do: fight off the danger or run fast to get away. The body stays in this state of fight-flight until the brain receives an “all clear” message and turns off the response.  Sometimes fear is triggered by something that is startling or unexpected (like a loud noise), even if it’s not actually dangerous. That’s because the fear reaction is activated instantly — a few seconds faster than the thinking part of the brain can process or evaluate what’s happening. As soon as the brain gets enough information to realize there’s no danger (“Oh, it’s just a balloon bursting — whew!”), it turns off the fear reaction. All this can happen in seconds.

Dr. Susan Jeffers, PhD has written a series of books with her first being, “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway.”  This book isn’t about conquering your fears.  It’s about how you can learn to feel it and make those changes anyway.  The first lesson Dr. Jeffers calls: “the most important three little words you’ll ever hear:  “I’ll handle it.”  She suggests that when you understand that no matter what happens to you, you can handle it, you realize you have nothing to fear.  Dr. Jeffers also says that fear can be broken down into 3 levels.  Level 1 fears are the surface story and can be divided into two types:  those that happen and those that require action.  Some examples of fears that happen:  aging, being alone, change, illness, natural disasters; and fears that require action:  going back to school, making a decision, losing weight, making friends, etc.

So the big question:  which of your fears may be holding you back from living your highest potential?  It may be beneficial to spend some time writing down a few of your fears and then determine if they just “happen” or if they require some “action .”  Then say these words to yourself, “I’ll handle it” and see if in the knowingness of this, that some of the intensity subsides.  Here are a few affirmations to may begin to change the neuro-networks in our brains so that they do not remain major highways.  With determination, you can reconstruct those neuro-pathways, remembering that they weren’t built overnight…but over a lifetime.  Be gentle…yet be determined.

I age gracefully.  I enjoy my own company and find peace often while alone.  Change is constant and I easily accept it.  I know how important my thoughts are to my well-being. I embrace my vitality.  I am eager to go to school and look forward to all the things I will learn.  I make the right decision for me in each moment.  People enjoy my company and seek me out for my friendship. I am the perfect weight for me at this time in my life and I enthusiastically exercise daily.

Live with Intention,



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