Fear is an emotion that can be crippling in nature.
F – False
E – Evidence
A – Appearing
R – Real
It can prevent people from taking action that’s necessary to move them along the course of their daily activities, their interactions with others, with uncovering the truth about themselves, and from taking action that is needed to create the outcomes they desire in their life.
Fear can be so great that people won’t even attempt to do an activity, apply for a job, sit for an exam, reach out and ask others for help. It is an emotion that keeps us locked up in a prison that is completely based upon a mental construct, a fabrication, a belief or belief system.
Fear creates a stress reaction that impacts the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS); specifically it triggers the Sympathetic Nervous System. It stimulates the upper lobes of the lungs that alters our breathing as well as stimulating a cascade of hormones adrenaline and cortisol to get us prepared for “some sort of threat” and we will in turn respond via 3 actions – Freeze, Fight or Flight.
If we are faced with a real situation where our life is in danger, such as we are on a walking trail and we are about to step onto a cobra, or we are being chased by a large bear or we are involved in a car accident then fear is vital and necessary to get us to respond appropriately to the situation to keep us alive and motivated to avoid the life threatening scenario.
What happens however, when we are not faced with some immediate or impending peril and we still have a massive fear about the situation based upon what we believe might happen such as a fear we project onto the future?
For example if you have a fear about public speaking. Presenting and speaking in front of an audience of any size is in no way life threatening. Whether you are speaking to one person or thousands of people, they are your friends and family members or you don’t know most of them, they are simply interested in the topic you are speaking about. There is nothing in reality to be fearful of. Do you get cold and clammy and start having palpitations when you spend time with your loved ones, sitting around having a discussion? The answer is, “Of course not!”
Yet for some people, the mere thought of getting up and speaking in front of an audience creates such a strong fear response that it raises their heart rate, they feel distressed, the blood drains out of their face and extremities, they get cold and clammy and they feel like they can’t breathe and will pass out.
Here’s another scenario, what if you have invested all your finances and time into your business. You’ve gotten the education and credentials necessary; you have a great team, that are motivated and productive, you have some wonderful clients that generate income for you and even though your business is growing and developing it’s not enough to keep you solvent. By all means we may be frustrated, embarrassed and saddened by all the effort and money that we have invested into our venture. When you lose your business or declare bankruptcy or lose your assets while none of this is comfortable to go through again, it is not life threatening. Even though you can feel fearful or distressed by it, this is primarily due to worrying about “what if scenarios” in our future and realizing that we will need to adapt and adjust to our changing life circumstances.