I don't think I have ever really felt fear until the year 2020.
I have learned over the past year that fear comes in many forms and majority of the time it is hidden within a different emotion.
Worry, stress, thinking too much into the future are only some ways we can feel fear.
For me, my awareness of this started in the first lockdown.
I was starting to feel changes physically and mentally.
I was aware that my reactions weren’t as calm as usual. I was snapping and overthinking. My patience was completely out the window and I wanted everything to happen immediately.
I was having breakouts.
If the smallest health problem came up I would panic.
I was thinking about my family and how covid would affect them.
Needless to say a lot of things were going through my mind.
It’s also safe to say I let the ‘stress’ override me.
I needed to get myself out of this state and I knew how bad stress is for my overall health.
Luckily I had the tools to do so and so can you.
I started to do more yoga, more meditation, breathing workshops, reading, walking and many other things to help me slow down mentally, as I knew this is where it was all stemming from.
I learned a great way to help understand my thinking more. Break it down. Why was I stressed?
When I broke it down I realised everything led back to fear.
Fear of losing someone from covid.
Fear of losing my own health.
Fear of not earning money.
Fear to go to the shops.
Fear was everywhere. People were talking about it, it was all over the television and radio.
Everywhere you went, there it was, fear, in one way or another it was manifesting all around us.
When I was able to break it down into these small segments I was able to think clearly and rationally. I realised the likely hood of any of these things happening were slim to none. I was able to bring myself into a space where I could look at the situation from a different perspective.
Instead of being scared of the worst case scenario why not think about the best case?
Why do we always default to the negative?
Because that’s what our brains are built to do.
This is why we have our fight or flight response.
Fear is a basic survival mechanism.
What we know now is that even if this is our default mode, we can override it with a few simple tools.
Being in nature
And much much more.
Can you think of a time when you were scared about the outcome of a situation and everything turned out to be just fine? All that happened was that you wasted your time and energy worrying and stressing over a situation when you could have been doing more productive things.
We make ourselves ‘ill’ from constantly overthinking.
Or think about a time when you were late for something and you hit every red light or traffic jam? What happened? You probably started to stress because you were scared of being late.
Or maybe a time when you were scared to let someone down so you re arranged your day to suit them and it didn’t go according to plan.
These are all examples of times when fear can take over. It can be as small as a fear of being late to the a fear of something bad happening.
Either way you get the same response.
How fear/stress works
Fear prepares us to react to danger.
Once we sense a potential danger or threat, our body releases hormones that will
Slow or shut down our functions that are not needed for survival (such as our digestive system)
Sharpen functions that might help us survive (such as eyesight).
Our heart rate increases, and blood flows to muscles so we can run faster.
Our body also increases the flow of hormones to an area of the brain known as the amygdala. This is to help us focus on the presenting ‘danger’ and store it in our memory.
This is how chronic fear/stress can impact us:
Fear weakens our immune system and can result in gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers and IBS, and decreased fertility.
It can lead to accelerated ageing.
Fear can impair the making of long-term memories and cause damage to certain parts of the brain
Fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and acting ethically.
This impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions. All of these effects can leave us unable to act appropriately.
Long-term fear can also result in fatigue, clinical depression and PSTD.
There are so many ways that can help us react to fear in a more positive way which will then have a positive impact on our health.
But before that, the first step is accepting the fear. Accept the way you feel about it and then let it go. Choose to use it as a driving force. Make a choice.
Do some mindfulness.
This can be anything from sitting in a quiet space and indulging in a great book. Going for a walk in nature and listening to birds, the wind and the trees. Sitting down to a delicious meal and noticing every flavour, every texture and enjoying every bite.
Or you can sit in a 5,10, 30, 60 min meditation.
It could be taking part in yoga class.
Going to the gym and just being with yourself for an hour.
Mindfullness is just about dong exactly that. Being mindful. Slowing down the chitter chatter that goes on in our heads. Being able to find moments of peace and quiet not just externally but also internally.
Once we learn to take daily time outs for ourselves and commit to doing that every day, will we be able to decrease our stress and fear and the negative ways we perceive things. We are then able to look at these kind of situations through a bigger lens and see the full picture.
This mental positive change will then have a physical positive change and we will be left feeling energised, revitalised and rejuvenated for majority of our waking moments.
It’s important to remember that we all get bad days and that is okay. That will forever happen. It’s not about changing the world, it’s about changing our perception of the world and how we react to it.
F - Fear
E - Everything
A - And
R - Run
F - Fear
E - Everything
A - And
R - Rise
“Fear does not prevent death. It prevents life."
Peace and Love