Does fear protect us?

Your unconscious mind’s prime directive is to keep you safe and to preserve your life.

Human beings are driven by the need to move towards pleasure and away from pain or those things that hurt us or make us feel bad. When we feel a negative emotion, such as ‘fear’, we are driven to avoid this feeling and the thing or situation we believe causes the fear.

Fear of situations and events comes from our beliefs about those events. These beliefs are formed from information passed to us from others (Memes), past experiences and our natural instincts.

People often think that fear is an important emotion because it protects us. This isn’t true; it is the fight or flight reaction that protects us.

Fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat, which causes a change in brain and organ function, and in our behaviour. Fear can lead us to hide, to run away, or to freeze on the spot.

Fight or Flight?

Our bodies are fitted with a natural ‘fight or flight’ response to perceived danger.  Fear starts in the brain caused by a stressful stimulus and ends with a release of chemicals that induce a physical reaction such as increased rate of breathing and heart rate and your muscles get ready to either run (flight) or to stand your ground (fight). The stressful stimulus could be anything from a noise heard in the dark, remembering a scary movie, seeing a spider or a snake, or imagining a terrible situation.

Our fight or flight response is not triggered consciously; it is triggered unconsciously. It causes us to swerve out of the way of an oncoming car, before we can even consciously assess the situation.

It’s our fight or flight response that protects us from immediate danger.

Fear is a perception

Fear is a perception and different for everyone. For example, you can have a fear of moths, birds or injections, but they won’t harm you.

Fear of the future is called Anxiety.

Ask yourself this: “Can you feel anxious about something that happened in the past that went really well or was really successful?”

The answer of course is: “No”.

When we think about things we fear in the future we get a bad feeling, often around the stomach or chest.

Because our unconscious mind moves away from pain, it often prevents us from doing the thing we feel anxious about. For example, if you feel anxious about speaking in public, your unconscious mind will do anything to avoid having to do it.

People feel anxious about what may happen tomorrow.  It has not happened yet.  So, you are worried about something that doesn’t yet exist.  In other words, fear of the future is made up, but your unconscious mind doesn’t know that. It believes it is happening right now and so starts the chemical chain reaction in your body.

Have you ever watched a scary movie?  Logically you know it isn’t real and you know that there are actors, people on the set everywhere and they would have run each scene several times to get it right.  You know all that consciously but when the scary suspenseful music comes on, the hairs on the back of your neck start to prickle, your heart rate increases, you start to sweat and you scream in fright.  This is your body’s physical response to the stressful stimuli.

So why do you produce a chemical reaction in your body to something like a movie that isn’t real?  That’s because your unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between real and not real.  It watches the movie, sees the stressful stimuli on screen and then starts the chain reaction of ‘fear’ in the body.

In addition to your unconscious mind not knowing the difference between real and not real, it also doesn’t know the difference between past, present and future. It perceives everything as if it is happening now. To your unconscious mind time is all the same, which is why, for someone scared of flying, even thinking about a plane trip coming up in the future, creates feelings of fear right now.

Some Good News

The good news is that we can use this to our advantage.  If your unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between real and not real, then it stands to reason that if you imagine the most positive outcome then you will spark a different chain reaction in your body producing an entirely different physical reaction and behaviour.

When we feel anxious about something we are imagining it turning out bad i.e. the plane crashing, forgetting our lines or tripping on stage. How often does that actually happen? 1% of the time? 2% of the time? Let’s say 2% of the time it turns out as bad as we had imagined. So, that means we are wrong 98% of the time. That’s not reality, it’s fiction.

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” – Mark Twain

Consider this….  When you think of negative events or situations in the future, you are ‘choosing’ to imagine that.   This means you can also ‘choose’ to imagine the situation or event working out positively.   It’s all about getting the results that support a healthy mind and body.  When fear becomes a daily practice, and if these fearful thoughts are allowed to repeat themselves, they will eventually become imprinted unconsciously.

No one is born worrying and imagining the worst. We learn how to do ‘anxiety and fear’ throughout our lives. So we can ‘unlearn’ it.

Holding onto fear places boundaries around you.  These boundaries restrict your life and restrict your ability to achieve what it is you want most out of life.

What You Need To Do

Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

When you feel worry, fear or anxiety, ask yourself, ‘What am I focusing on here?  Am I focusing on that situation working out the most positive way possible?’

If you want to learn how to easily overcome anxiety, stop the worry cycle and start living again then check out the ‘Overcome Anxiety’ online course, which you can do in the comfort and privacy of your own home at anytime.  You will learn how to focus on what you want how to stop those anxious feelings.