Fear is a natural emotion and sometimes fear is actually very healthy. Our earliest ancestors relied on the fight or flight response to keep them safe. Though it's generated in the amygdala- the frontal lobe of the brain, fear can be felt throughout the body. Having a gut feeling or intuition that something isn’t safe is a good indicator. Feeling the hairs on your neck or arms stand on end can also tip you off, however we all have different "clues" that something isn't quite right. It's important to start recognizing how you feel and where you notice it in your body when this happens.
Some people seem more afraid than others. There are a lot of factors that go into what makes someone fearful. Some of those factors might be past trauma, socioeconomics, issues with confidence, particular experiences, family fears, and so on.
Some fear is "normal". Being in an intense situation or going through an emotionally difficult time can create a natural expectation. In these cases, fear generally dissipates when things improve. Normal doses of fear don’t harm the body or cause long-term emotional issues since our bodies are designed to manage and withstand that kind of an acute situation.
People who live in a constant state of fear are a different story. Living with fear- real or imagined- can cause a host of problems including health, psychological, and social issues. Most of all, chronic fear is a thief that steals the future. Someone once told me that worry is like paying interest on a loan you never got. Living in fear and failing to resolve it makes it really hard to enjoy life in the moment and can drive us to predict a future full of panic and dread.
Fear that’s warranted due to an intense situation makes sense. Addressing the fear, taking action, and moving through the situation will help lessen the fear and get you back on track. The biggest issue to avoid is internalizing fear. When fear sticks in your mind it can cause worry or stress long after the incident is over. Failing to remedy fear can lead to anxieties and worries that start to creep into a future that isn't even here, except in our minds. Instead of facing fear head-on in the moment, the fear that something else is on the horizon can boggle the mind on a regular basis. This constant state of trepidation will affect the mind, body, and spirit.
Chronic fear that has no clear-cut basis can take its toll. Getting your fear under control, remedying issues that need to be fixed, and finding inner strength will always help, especially if you can approach it with self-compassion. Take hold of your fears and get to the root of them. It might help to recruit a friend or two and together you can tackle and break down your fears and expose them for what they really are. There's nothing like another person's perspective to see something differently. Before long you will be looking forward to the future and not fearing it.
We'll dive a little deeper into this topic tomorrow. In the meantime, if you've been feeling more fearful than usual, it's not surprising. These are unexpected times and we don't have any reference to how we can make our way through them. I know, for me, it's about creating community and knowing I don't have to feel all alone in this new territory. Welcome to my conversation!
Sparkles and Love,