Researching Fear

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Do you know how hard it is to talk about fear? It’s like people have a barrier up that says “keep out.” But keeping fear hidden isn’t healthy … it only festers affecting other areas of your life.  You are not weak if you admit to fear. You are simply aware and courageous. Everyone has fear … well almost everyone.  There is a person known as S.M. who had bilateral damage to a brain area know as the amygdala who exhibited a lack of fear. But you know what, S.M. also was the victim of violent crime because she couldn’t read danger. Fear has a purpose … to keep us safe.

Did you know you were born with two innate fears? The fear of loud sounds and the fear of falling. It’s no wonder we jump when a car backfires or we get anxious when we hear thunder. It’s no wonder people are wary of skydiving or mountain climbing. Yes, you can overcome these fears with self-talk and skills training but they are always under the surface, and will be more prevalent under stress.

Did you know there are survival needs and related fears? We need air to survive and this can underlie the fear of drowning or being buried alive. We need food and water to survive and this can lead to overeating or hoarding food. We need body protection (our skin is the first protection, clothing the second, and shelter the third) and this can lead to fears of contamination, fears of spiders or snakes or animals (bites or stings breaking the skin barrier), having a closet too full of clothes, or even being afraid of losing your house.  We need body movement and this can lead to the fear of losing our freedom, the fear of being in circumstances beyond our control and claustrophobia … the fear of tight spaces. And we need sleep but fear creeps in when nightmares reveal our subconscious angst, or with people who have “sleep dread,” or those who dread not being able to get to sleep, or getting enough sleep (common with people with sleep apnea).

And then there are three main psychological fears … physical, mental, and social. Physical is relate to the fear of ceasing to be, the fear of death, and the fear of being unknown. Mental is the fear of failure, the fear of humiliation, the fear of the loss of personal integrity. Social is the fear of abandonment, the fear of rejection, the fear of not being wanted or valued.

All of these fears trigger the amygdala and that initiates the stress fight-flight response. You can train to over-ride the stress response and down regulate the amygdala. The NAVY SEALS have a well-known four-step method. Step one is to anchor yourself by thinking of someone or something or a pet that your deeply care about, to see yourself in the future with that anchor. Step two is to use visualization to mentally prepare for all types of fear scenarios. Step three is to use positive affirmations to counteract negative self-talk. And Step four is to practice deep relaxation breathing.

What fears do you recognize? Have you ever considered that training can help you handle fear better? Would you be willing to give it a try? Could you? When?

Fear and Freedom

Dizzy Sky Fear, Run, Dizzy, Can’t Focus, Hide, Can’t Think Straight, Breathless, Tense, Only One Thought ‘SURVIVE’

Hummer  Freedom from Fear, Freedom to Mosey, Inhaling Deeply, Taking Time to Just Be

Looking Up  Freedom to Look Up, Safe, Experiencing Awe and Feeling Gratitude, ‘Thank You God’

Looking Down    Freedom to Experience Life and Death in Natural Seasons and Rhythms

Ridged Rock  Freedom to Notice, Be Curious and Wonder, “What made those ridges in that rock”

Mushrooms  Freedom to Appreciate the Natural Colors and Textures in the World of Flora and Fauna and Fungus

Seasonal Gourds  Freedom of Choice to Celebrate a Variety of Seasons and Holidays in Simplicity or Complexity

Bittersweet Bittersweet Contemplating if Freedom could be Lost and Replaced with Fear

Fiction for the Spirit

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I rarely take a vacation. A real vacation. Why? Because I live the life I love and don’t often feel a need to “get away” from it. I’m surrounded by nature, trees, horses and pastures. When I do go away, it’s mostly because I want to learn something new or share something I know – i.e. business conferences.

I also don’t watch TV or read books of fiction. Why? Because I have so much curiosity in life and there’s so much to learn and so little time.

But the past 3 days were an exception. My husband asked me to go upnorth with him for the opening of Grouse season (his hunting buddy’s caved on him) and I chose to say “yes” – he works hard around the farm (it’s a 24/7 type of job) and he doesn’t “do” vacations either – so this was a rare request.

Given the rarity of it all, I decided to visit a second hand store and bought a couple of fiction books. I’m actually an avid reader and was looking forward to hours and hours of downtime – no electronics, no work, no obligations.

Unknowingly (if that is ever possible), I picked out the author Sandra Brown. I quickly found out she has attorney’s as her good guys, the setting of the stories is in the South, and he bad guys are rich people with some type of personality disorder.

One of the books was titled “Smash Cut” and the said personality disorder was psychopathology. Toward the end of the book, the bad guy is getting ready to go out on a “date” (in actuality a murder) and he preens over himself, working out, shaving carefully, getting in a sweat bath to remove toxins from his body, getting in the tanner to even out his skin tone, showing and grooming, etc.

I couldn’t help but think how well this fictional character was taking care of his physical body. He was eating right, exercising regularly, cleansing and all the healthy things I learned are extremely important in the real life detox summits I’ve recently attended. And this character was brilliant in his planning and execution of tasks (pun intended) but he was spiritually toxic.

He had no love or meaningful connection to other human beings. He had no conscience. And he hurt other people, feeding off the power of causing them fear.

Who would believe there is so much spirit in fiction – I’m glad I’ve been re-introduced to these type of books! I’m happy to have taken a short break from regular business and just enjoyed books and nature (the orange leaf was dewy from a morning mist and discovered while walking my dog during a reading break).

Fear. Powerlessness. It’s real and sometimes others feed off it. But you can find freedom from fear. Join me as I get back to work and listen to a free call on just this subject: INFO HERE