What is fear? Is it real? Is it good or bad? Does fear serve a purpose? What are you so afraid of? This is often the dialogue you hear surrounding fear. These days, it seems, everyone is afraid of something. You know that life can be stressful and much of your daily life can involve stimuli that are perceived as threatening. Issues that arise at work or at school, issues around money, family, or social problems, as well as, medical or health-related problems can trigger a chronic fight‐or‐flight response. Even the anticipation or worry about things that might happen will trigger the same response in your body as though you’re actually experiencing it.
A chronic fight-or-flight response can lead to abnormal levels anxiety or depression causing distress and dysfunction within your nervous system, which limit your ability for optimal health, well-being, and a life beyond anything you ever thought possible..
How does FEAR cause a chronic fight or flight response?
Fear sets off a chain reaction in the brain that happens when you encounter a potentially harmful stimulus. Guess what. This chain reaction is normal and it’s important to experience fear. For example, if you’re being held at gunpoint, fear is a perfect response, generating the perfect state in your body for instinctive reactions necessary in that moment leading to one outcome - survival.
Adrenaline and cortisol are the hormones that regulate the fight or flight response. Adrenaline specifically increases your heart rate, breathing rate, and dilates the blood vessels to your lungs and muscle as the body prepares for action. Blood and oxygen is also diverted from activities considered non-essential for fighting or running, such as the digestive system, immune system, urinary and reproductive system.
Cortisol increases blood sugar level by converting stored glycogen and fats, along with suppressing your immune response and inflammation.
When these hormones result from a fear response due to a daily stimulus that is perceived as a threat, such as getting called into the bosses office or your spouse saying, “Honey, can we talk?” there is a longer lasting and more widespread fight‐or‐flight response. Even though these situations are not life-threatening your body still may act as if, which explains why you may feel the fight‐or‐flight response even after you realize there really is no danger.
What can you do to face your FEAR?
- Acknowledge your fear. When you are afraid state it. “I feel afraid right now.” Running from fear or attempts to fix it are just your way of pushing it down, devaluing, and avoiding it. Acknowledging this will allow you to create the space for step number 2.
- Normalize your fear. Divorce yourself from the idea that fear is wrong, bad, or an indication that you're not on the right track. Fear is one of the sure signs you’ve met the opportunity to stretch and grow into greater levels of self-awareness, consciousness, and authenticity.
- Become a ‘fearologist’. That’s right. Begin to study your fear and get resourceful with it. Ask yourself:
- What does it feel like in my body? (gut sinks, muscles tighten, eyes dart, mind blanks)
- What is my fear masquerading as? (guilt, shame, embarrassment, anger, jealousy, apathy, sadness)
- Is this fear about the loss of what is? (fear of losing what is stable, what is good, what is working)
- Is this fear about stretching into what your life and the universe is demanding of you? (fear of living an extraordinary life, one full of self-awareness, passion, and purpose)
Repeated observation of your fears allows you to catch the process happening at the moment. This new level of resourcefulness around your fears reduces the chronic fight-or-flight response allowing the body to experience a sense of calm or ease rather than dis-ease. A new process replaces your fears as they arise. The process of stretch, plateau, integrate and then stretch again, which is a cycle for making progress in your health and your life.
In closing, don’t take my word for it. If you’re not convinced that leaning into your fears will help you make monumental strides in all aspects of your life then maybe you’ll believe someone else. Someone like President Franklin D. Roosevelt. FDR in his famous inaugural speech said, “...let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
You see your fears are absolutely necessary, albeit ‘nameless, unreasoning, unjustified’, but nevertheless necessary to move from retreat to full advance of your body and your life beyond anything you ever thought possible.
At Beyond Chiropractic we are a team of chiropractors committed to helping you achieve optimal health, well-being, and a life beyond anything you thought possible.
Optimal Health is just around the corner, click HERE to make an appointment now.