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What Is Fear?

By Christine McLean

Fear kept me in chains. Fear kept me from all that I envisioned in my life. Fear kept me from being the authentic version of myself. Fear kept me away from love".

Are you feeling fearful? Is your mind and negative thought pattern ruining your day? Let’s get down to understanding fear, and finding ways to overcome the negative mindset. Fear is the word we use to describe our emotional reaction to something that seems dangerous. But the word 'fear' is used in another way, too: to name something a person often feels afraid of. People fear things or situations that make them feel unsafe or unsure.

* Fear is part instinct, learned or taught. Pain, for example, insinctively causes fear; it's a survival technique to protect you from more pain.

* We learn to be afraid of certain people, places, or situations because of negative associations and past experiences of fear.

* Fear, the cause of all life’s self-sabotaging attitudes including worry, lack of self belief and failure.

Identifying How Fear Interacts With You

“Fear is one of the most powerful emotions we will ever face and learn to overcome.”

The fear response starts in a region called the amygdala. This almond- shaped set of nuclei in the temporal lobe of the brain is dedicated to detecting how dangerous fear is. The fear response is used to keep you safe in times of great danger. Repetitive fear or being frightened/traumatised appears when we don't feel capable of overcoming that situation so we close off from that experience and become traumatised. Fears that repeat themselves over and over again can become trapped in life memories or cells within your body, mind or energy. To release fear that’s caught within trapped memories requires time, patience, understanding and self-trust.

Learn to breathe when the fear appears, breathing deeply, with a slow and steady inhalation to exhalation ratio. This sends signals to our parasympathetic nervous system to calm the body down. Long, deep breaths can also manage our stress responses to help decrease anxiety, fear, racing thoughts, a rapid heartbeat and shallow chest breathing.

Focus on moving through the fear gently, being kind to your fearful self and learning to give yourself extra time to relax and self-reason through love. Love will help you with time to change the way you think about that fear. If you're looking for a coach to help you move through a fear/ trauma or phobia then I would highly recommend a meditation or breath-work teacher who specialises in releasing fear or trauma blocked memories.

How you interact with fear will guide you into what support you need to start working with instead of letting it consume you. Fear is deeply wrapped in our thoughts about how we think, perceive and understand our environment. Piaget's attachment theory states that when we see fear we assimilate, if the fear is right for us to overcome or to inhibit and hide, then we accommodate this information into our experience to bring some type of equilibrium and balance to the moment. If we overcome the fear there is the lasting experience of growth, and reward feelings called serotonin. If we inhibit the fear we release cortisol, the stress hormone which accommodates the fear cortisol response for future experiences.

The key is to understand fear as an individual and learn to move slowly to overcome that fear, to rise above this fear and move back to joy, happiness and love with compassion of what this fear teaches you about who you are right now.

Where Does Fear Come From?

Fear arises with the threat of harm, either physical, emotional, or psychological, real or imagined. While traditionally considered a 'negative' emotion, fear actually serves an important role in keeping us safe as it mobilises us to cope with potential danger.

* Fear comes from not trusting yourself or believing you can't go forward in that moment.

* Fear is your way of not continuing along a path of learning and growing.

* You create the energy of fear, therefore, you can also release it.

* When experiencing fear, you form an active channel of destruction that will keep appearing in your day to day life until you overcome, learn and grow.

I have created fear within myself. I have discovered that through fear I cannot move forward. Fear has held me back. This emotion has prevented me from being able to identify what is right for me, and has made me hide from social and life experiences.

Gathering Evidence On How Fear Can Be Seen Throughout Life Around You

Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger that occurs within our organism. This causes a change in metabolic and organ functions which ultimately changes our behaviour. Neuroscientists identified distinct networks that run the depths of our limbic system all the way to the prefrontal cortex and back. When these systems are electrically or chemically stimulated they produce fear, even if there is an absence of a fearful stimulus.

Feeling fear is the capacity to be afraid and it is an elemental part of our brain function. Our intelligent organisms use fear to enter the mode of fight or flight, a key mechanism for keeping ourselves alive. We use fear to help us respond to situations that put us in harms way. How fear controlled me; it had its grip on me since the day I can remember. It used to appear like a big ball of thunder in my chest. I would distract myself and suppress the fear as quickly as it appeared. One day, however, I realised I had so many doors in my mind I forgot all the goals I wanted to achieve. I knew I had to find another way as these doors were now distracting my progress of being happy.

So one day I opened up a notepad and started to write my fears down. I wanted to see what they looked like and if the words made sense. Visually being able to identify my fears created a space for mindful awareness. Awareness created a space to dig into these fears and analyse where they stemmed from and what they meant.

I could see my fears weren’t helping me and were only extending the many concerns I had in my troubled mind. My fears were allowing my grieving and depression to continue. I believed that these fears were making me stronger, protecting me from the cruelness of the outside world. This active channel of “I’m afraid” created parts of myself that were trapped in pain, shaking at their core of being. I no longer felt strong enough to do everyday tasks, even leaving the house became a struggle and a fear. It was like a storage box. I had no motivation so I would push them to the corners of my mind like they no longer existed.

What I didn't know back then was that each time a fear arose, it was ready to be cleared and healed, and joy was willing to replace it. I created this channel of fear although I wasn't ready to erase it. What was originally a negative thought has fire-balled into a complete traumatic fear in my mind. I believed this channel of fear would keep me safe, protect me from evil, and protect me from all that I don’t feel strong enough to overcome. “Fear kept me in chains”. Fear kept me from all that I envisioned in my life. Fear kept me from being the authentic version of myself. Fear kept me away from love.

Quote From A Course In Miracles

* Fear can be self-controlled.

* Fear is associated with something that no longer matters.

* It prevents us from moving forward. You have free will. Fear's presence shows that you have raised the unimportant to a higher level than it warrants. You have thus brought it under your will, where it does not belong.

How To Deal With Fear

1. The first thing to do is take some time out so you can physically calm down.

2. Breathing through your feelings will create space between your thoughts, do this by taken slow and long inhaled breaths and counting to ten.

3. If your heartbeat quickens or you have sweaty palms, the best thing to do is to not to fight it.

Stay where you are and only feel the panic without trying to distract yourself. Place the palm of your hand on your stomach and breathe slowly and deeply. The goal is to help the mind get used to coping with panic.

4. Slowing the mind down through breathing is the first step to overcome panic

5. As the mind begins to slow, your breaths become longer

6. Look at the evidence; write down everything that created that fear or anxiety and what was happening outside and inside of you, what experiences did your mind and body feel when you were panicking or experiencing fear. Get some notes down - where else in your life do you feel this fear?

7. Can you find the root of this fear?

8. Once you have all the details down on paper you can start creating a space to understand your fear and overcome it one day at a time.

9. Be curious in your thinking, ask yourself questions, like what will it take to change my response to this fear?


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