Is fear a defensive reaction or something that prevents one from enjoying life? We understand the features of this feeling, so as not to be afraid and go forward.
“Most of the fears devouring us at present exist only in our imagination. They do not represent a real threat, but the brain does not feel the difference, so the nervous system receives a signal to respond when it is not necessary at all. As a result, the security mechanisms are disordered and we feel unreasonable fear, which is harmful to our health and leads to suffering that could have been avoided, ”writes the doctor of medicine in his book The fear cure: cultivating courage as medicine for the body, mind, and soul Lissa Rankin. We decided to study in more detail her view of fears and how to deal with them.
Fear in the guise of stress
To fight the enemy, you need to know him in person. That is why Lissa Rankin, for starters, suggests figuring out if we understand the difference between fear and stress. Given the fact that the latter is now fashionable to have and put on display as evidence of their employment and relevance. “If you think about it, what is stress at work, if not fear? Fear of making mistakes, disappointing bosses, hurting someone we are responsible for, being recognized as incompetent or punished for expressing our opinion? Are we not afraid, for example, to allow the death of a patient, to lose a case in court, to miss a profitable deal, not to be in time to complete an order by the deadline? We may be afraid that we will not be promoted, not recognized our contribution, fined, fired (and we will not be able to support our family). We are afraid to express a request to shorten the working day, take leave for an important match, insist that taking care of yourself is as important as work. We are afraid of the need to admit that we have burned out emotionally and need a long vacation, that we are tired of answering business calls or emails on weekends. Often we fear that others will find our vulnerability and imperfection, but we put so much effort to prove that we are superheroes at work … ”- says the author. Fear can also be disguised as shame. Whatever it was, but at its core, very often, is our self-doubt due to the fear of not liking someone.
Courage as a way to yourself
Courage is opposed to fear. But according to Rankin, this does not need to be done. Fear and courage are interconnected, but not in the way we usually imagine. They do not conflict, do not divide people into supermen and losers. “Courage is not to act without fear, but to let fear change you. When you are brave, you enter into the right relationship with uncertainty, reconcile yourself with inconstancy and wake up, becoming who you really are, ”writes the doctor of medicine. “This kind of courage helps you make choices that strengthen, not weaken, you.” Courage grows out of inner peace and gives strength to live in accordance with inner values. Thanks to courage, your decisions are not guided by false fear and the accompanying emotions, such as anger, revenge, hatred, intolerance, depression, anxiety, enduring longing. ”
How does fear appear
Naturally, fear produces the brain, and more specifically, in the amygdala, in the limbic brain – the primitive, animal part of our most important organ. Also involved in the process are the thalamus, which receives information, the cerebral cortex, where the thinking process takes place, and the hippocampus, which is responsible for the process of memorization. “Constant stress makes the amygdala even more vulnerable to threats. Fear involves a reaction to stress that awakens the amygdala over and over again. As this happens, the amygdala, forming “obscure implicit memories” – fragments of past experiences that lie in our subconscious mind, becomes more sensitive and colors these implicit memories with remnants of fear. As a result, fear, which often appears in the form of anxiety, manifests itself even when there is no objective reason for concern, "Rankin explains. It turns out that a constant reaction to stress wears out the hippocampus. This leads to the fact that we lose the conscious path of causation effect relationship. Over time, a person discovers that he suffers from chronic fear and anxiety, although not even remember what fear really.
How to train courage
Rankin’s book contains a range of exercises for training courage. In it you can find statements with which you want to discuss, for example, about faith as a means to stop rationally perceiving life, to give it to the will of other forces in order to rid yourself of anxiety. But one of the most valuable is the author’s thought that our path is education, science, which, with appreciation and attention, can be changed a lot: “Instead of self-protection from losses, you accept them as an inevitable learning process that helps your soul grow. Do not feel threatened by the fact that you do not know or do not understand something, you simply show curiosity. The small "I" that once chatted in your mind without ceasing, frightening you with far-fetched fears and darkness, calms down. Instead of his chatter, you feel inner peace, serving as your refuge and giving courage. Your newfound courage does not lead to rash acts, because such is driven by an integral personality. Moving forward according to your inner compass, you do not need to have false fear control your decisions and actions. ”
See also: How to manage your emotions