"I tremble, therefore I am afraid" Emotion is the context dependent perception of changes in the physiological condition of the body. ( Seth, A ; 30-Second Brain )
Fear is a pretty strong emotion, and it's roots are often unique to each and everyone's experience. It is after all a generalised description. What is frightening or causes fear for one person is not the same in others...Us NLPers refer to this type of labelling as a Normalisation.... a big chunk word to describe a plethora of experiences under a general heading each with varied meanings or experiences..... It is noted however, that fear has an often fairly similar biological state attached.
When I speak with people about their fear, there are of course some general themes... fear of failure, fear of dying, fear of the unknown... perhaps manifested as a phobia such as fear of spiders/dogs....fear of the mother in law...... fear of walking in dark places, fear of fear itself!
Even the most successful and visible business men/women share with me their fear of "getting found out" .. having been put on a pedestal above their comfort-station (afraid that their outer persona doesn't match their inner beliefs and capabilities).
Of course what these people all have in common is a similar physical experience of how that fear manifests.... A raised heart beat, a churning in the stomach or tightening of the chest....often a symptom such as sweating or tingling of limbs is there too... more acutely; people report a shift in key senses, such as smell, sight or sound "it became louder"...." i smelt the smoke"..."All i could see was the spider"....
From here you may experience a chain of other emotions....what I am calling the Strategy for Survival.... this could be a good dose of anxiety such as a panic attack, or a sharp loud burst of anger......some even describe that regularly accessing this loop-fear-experience leads to confusion and paranoid beliefs ...as their brain chops and changes reality in an attempt to make sense in the midst of it's chemical reaction(s).
The staring act in all of this....our lizard brain... The Amygdala...a sensory, neuro-biological reaction known more commonly as "fight or flight"...... This reaction is also known as The Acute Stress Reaction amongst other descriptions.
Of course this response, a pumped up dose of adrenaline, norepinephrine and Cortisol (to name a few) is - in certain situations - essential.... We know this is the thing that can, has and will keep us safe in dangerous situations..
Yet we can fire it off a little too frequently when we have connected loops of anxiety, worry, anger....fear...anxiety..worry...anger STOP!
I have talked in earlier blogs about how the unconscious brain is always having a go at doing the best it can for us with the resources it has.....sometimes, it becomes a little misguided along the way... and these reactions, our chemical and neurological programming become over-reactive when perhaps what we really need is a calmer, more resourced state to problem solve and resolve our experiences with new behaviours, thoughts and feelings.
Just as we learn things we can learn to unlearn or do them differently.
Remember our brain is like google, it's got a fabulous muscle-memory-elasticity....if we feed it a load of the stuff we don't want..... we are going to habitualise (if that is even a word?) reactions that we perceived at one time to be useful....yet over time the reaction has become unhelpful or hindering.....And remember our brain is like google, it's got fabulous muscle-memory-elasticity....and if we show it new resources, and feed it with the stuff we want, that helps us to remain calm, clear and comfortable....it will learn that this state can also be a useful method to get us a different result.....
Phrases like Fighting Fear (used deliberately in this blog).. are less helpful in the resourcing of a new state.... fighting fear... is like smacking yourself around the chops with a big dose of Amygdala..... fighting a fighting reaction? Fighting a run away reaction? There are two pretty sure-fire outcomes here:
A) you beat yourself up
B) run scared from who you are?
Neither are useful in resolving a fight or flight state, I am sure you would agree?
So, I invite you to ask yourself to explore your current use of your Lizard Brain. Ask Yourself:
Is fear the best reaction for this?
Is fear the best state? ...
and if the answer is no..... be reassured....there are other resources to be learned and utilised in it's place and this starts by asking What else works here, to keep me safe?....