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Overcoming Fear: The Mental Dynamics

When a situation has triggered fearful emotions within you,

Food for thought

Whatever the situation may be, that has triggered fearful emotions within you, be it fear of entering a new relationship, fear of a breakup, fear of moving forward, giving up an old habit or addiction, starting a new diet, disappointments, a new job, betrayal, death, or even public speaking;

Consider this:

·        The fear you feel now is nothing more than an old memory, that you experienced in the past, resurfacing over and over in the present “now”. Some of our fears may be inherited programs from our species’ past, when their existence was threatened by things such as snakes, fire etc.

·        “Love is the greatest motivator. Fear is unnecessary”.

Having “love” as an incentive, can be a better motivator to eliminating, re-programing, or changing what you are going through; rather than wanting to change out of fear. The first is a natural flow or progression, a joyful state that you aspire to; the second implies exerting a lot of effort to overcoming an obstacle you’re bound to experience inertia!

Mental dynamics

·        Our brain, specifically, the medulla, or what is known as the reptilian brain (the most primitive part of the brain), is programmed to transmit fear as a response or a reaction to any new situation because it perceives it as un chartered territory; therefore dangerous. It tries to protect you, and maintain your survival. The fear you feel is nothing new!

·        It follows that is more efficient for the brain to maintain current situation, than to exert the extra energy required to run new neural pathways which are needed to change your response and move past your current boundaries or threshold. Probably, that’s why most people stick to the old, the devil you know, rather than trying something new which might actually be better for them.

·        Are you feeling fear, or are you thinking fear? You may be feeling fear, but most of time, in my experience, you would be thinking fear. In other words, your past caused you to fear going out of your comfort zone and to believe that breaking out of these familiar boundaries, or personal sphere of limitations is fearful. So, fear becomes a thought that is associated with letting go of the familiar (even if it is negative) and of stepping into unchartered territories.

If you like, it’s an old belief system, or old pattern of responding to a new situation; rather than an actual genuine feeling. I will explore how you can discern between the two later in this document. You think you feel fear, as opposed to you really feel fear or that you are afraid of this new situation. A bad habit sticks, because anything new will cost!

So, when we run an outdated program for so long, we are actually thinking it, and not feeling it. We respond to new changes according to the manner that our brain is accustomed to, and which is familiar to us because it takes less energy than creating a new neural path. Our brain is wired to behave that way too.

Your emotions and thoughts get mixed up since one has caused or triggered the other for so long. You are feeling what you think you should be feeling; and may have nothing to do with what’s going on now. Perhaps you are not threatened in the same way now as you once were in the past. There may even be no reasons for it now.

Emotional Dynamic: Feelings versus emotions

·        An emotion = energy in motion. It is a response that is trying to move in, out, or through your body. It has a vector, or a direction of flow:

towards you, or, away from you.

·        If you like, an emotion is a charged response with a direction. Try and find out what you are experiencing, and in what direction. Close your eyes, feel that fear, is coming towards you, or going away from you? If you find it, then it’s an old response or memory, to a past event and you are resurfacing so you can acknowledge and deal with it for good.

·        An emotion, for example, can be embedded in your body, as a “cellular memory”. It is either trying to move or release itself by resurfacing and finding its way out, but you think it is trying to find its way back in again. So you experience it again because it was never acknowledged and then processed before.

So, how you can utilise “love” as a motivator to overcome your fear?

·        Let go of shame. That is unnecessary as well.

Shame is a negatively charged emotion or impulse. It implies that “I feel ashamed to acknowledge, respond to, or express my fears; now that I am no longer a child; now that I am an adult and should know better”. If you blame or shame yourself, releasing fear or any other negative emotion would not be possible. These are the rules!

·        Focus on what is positive instead

When you intend to build up a new consciousness, or a new way of perceiving and to making sense of events in your life; when you are exploring your responses or reactions; you have to be mindful that you do not engage in thinking negatively = shame, blame, “things will never change” or “I will never get over that fear”.

·        What if you turn around what you think you are feeling, instead of feeling ashamed that you are unable to cope with irrational emotions of fear? Instead, become aware that you have actually done something positive! You’ve spotted a previous outdated pattern and; you now actually desire to respond differently you’re fed up of feeling afraid! You’ve already made a shift without being aware but had misinterpreted, if you like, what you are now experiencing – that in itself is a big change to your reptilian brain!

In other words, it’s old software that needs deleting. It’s full of “viruses” that do not make you feel good about yourself or about your life. Perhaps it has served its purpose in the past, but now you have outgrown it. Just think this may have served a distant ancestor well, but you live in a totally different world.

What can you do?

Here are quick tips to help you cope with fear

·        Acknowledge that you no longer want it. And that what you desire now is different from the past. In other words, you have already moved on. Part of belief system did not. So you are just catching up with yourself or upgrading your belief system/emotional response.

·        Intend to release it, or let go of thinking that way.

·        Touch your forehead with your fingers and say:

“STOP! I choose to react differently. I chose to think differently”.

·        Stand up, and do something different to interrupt that vicious cycle. Make your favourite drink, watch your favourite movie, or simply go for a walk. Replace the old pattern with a new enjoyable one.

Healing Visualisation

How about releasing old habits, or fear of releasing old responses?

1.     Find a quiet time when you can do this. Best time is first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed; or last thing at night before you fall asleep.

2.     Close your eyes, and take three deep breaths and exhale all expectations.

3.     Mentally, focus on the tummy area; below the navel (this is one situation where navel gazing is actually useful!) by connecting with it with your mind’s eyes.

4.     Imagine or pretend that you are reliving that fearful memory, or what might be. See the “movie” playing on a screen across your tummy. This is where you hold that memory of fear.

5.     Let the memory finish, let it run its length. Take that reel off once it has run, and replace by a new movie which would tell or give the cells their new enjoyable memory.

6.     Smile at your screen as you watch your movie!

7.     It’s not about visualising often. It’s about doing it well. Engage your senses, see, hear, feel, smell your surroundings making the new memory as real as you can.

8.     When you feel you are done, bring your attention back to your physical body, to the bed, room that you are in, wiggle your toes, beg stretch and open your eyes.

How to release other old painful memories?

You can do the same visualisation exercise for other negative or painful memories.

1.     Discern or sense what part of the body is that past memory blocking or is trapped in,

2.     Connect with it, see the old movie, then

3.     Run your new movie engaging all your senses.

One you have rewritten the past, to your brain it is now logically possible to perceive a different future. When you are done, say the following affirmation out loud, and then write it down on a sticky note, and stick it up somewhere where your eyes can fall on it frequently.

©SaharHuneidi-Plamer 2017

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About Sahar Huneidi-Palmer (64 Articles)
Author, Columnist, Holistic Therapist & Personal Development Coach focusing on Personal Resilience. Helping my clients achieve the life they are meant to live since 1992. I am a published poet in literature magazines in the UK; and play the piano. My friends and those who know me describe me as a “wise woman” and a "pathfinder". I am passionate about demystifying the abstract, writing, teaching, brand-management, podcasting, and love Turkish coffee!

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