“Conquering the Ill Effects of Irrational Fear”
Fear is a natural response to a threat that is either perceived or real.
As we have stated in previous presentations, fear is a powerful force that can be used for good or ill. Part of the brain, called the Amygdala, when sensing danger, becomes upset and quickly prepares the mind and body to meet an immediate threat by either fighting or fleeing. Once addressed, the body is brought back to a state of equilibrium.
However, one can easily become overwhelmed and paralyzed by feelings of fear when a situation is mistakenly perceived emotionally as dangerous. So instead of physically preparing for a real danger, you more than likely will obsess about a perceived threat, which in actuality may not be real at all. The result can be in a perpetual state of disequilibrium. This is usually manifested by experiencing chronic fear and anxiety.
Anxiety, in this case becomes an extension of the fear. When you are overwhelmed with an irrational fear, feelings of anxiety naturally follow. In these cases, the anxiety becomes a defense in order to avoid dealing with a fear with unknown causes.
Whether you are unaware of the causes of your fears or not, the common underlying theme is change. Faced with a change whether real or imaginary, is met with a threat to one’s equilibrium. When faced with this threat, the natural response is fear and anxiety.
There are plenty of triggers for fear in everyday life. Even when you intellectually question the rational for feeling fearful, the emotional part of your brain keeps sending danger signals to your body.
This can adversely affect your appetite and sleep, leave you with feelings of foreboding and dread, obsessing with negative self-talk and resisting reaching out in the world. There is a natural propensity to overestimate the threat and underestimate one’s ability to cope.
There is no simple cause and effect in dealing with irrational fear. However, when experiencing fear, it is helpful to understand how the interrelationship between your thoughts, feelings and behavior affects any feeling, including fear. So, no matter where you start to deal with irrational fears in your life, understand that each affects the other.
There are things you can do to effectively deal with irrational fears. These are not all inclusive and are selective, depending on the individuality of each person. The following are a few of possible strategies you may want to consider.
- Be aware that unrealistic fear robs you of opportunities to grow
- Be aware that change and future uncertainty can trigger fear and set into motion some form of resistance.
- Try meditation. Hand on belly, breath into the Calm” and out to the word “Relax” for 20 minutes twice a day.
- Get involved in something you can find enjoyable and do it outside the home.
- Connect with other people who are safe and accepting.
- Find ways to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
- Tell yourself each morning, “Today I will be better”
- Stretch a little bit by taking baby steps that can make a big difference
- If you’re experiencing fear, give it a proper name.
- Look at fear as your mind’s way of trying to protect you from what it perceives as dangerous.
Understand that reading this, will not eliminate your irrational fear. If you think that, you will view yourself as failing. A need to be fear free, is in reality dysfunctional thinking that is doomed to result in failure. The goal is to learn to moderate and effectively deal with each type of fear. Know that the only way you can escape fear is to be dead or psychopathic. If you are neither, then welcome to the human race.