Understanding Fear

Understanding What Fear Is

Overcoming irrational fear can seem difficult at first glance, however as long as we appy proven techniques we can overcome our fears easily. The first thing we need to do is understand that natural fear is our friend and only the negative fear types such as irrational fear and phobias are the ones we want to get rid of. Natural fear is one of our best survival tools and in its normal state helps protect us form many things, situations and circumstances.

Fear is a Great Survival Tool That Protects Us
Survival instinctual fear serves human beings by placing them on red alert when there is danger around, it raises all our sensory awareness and helps release adrenalin so our muscles are ready to react instantly if we need to run or move. Seeing or hearing a rattle snake could invoke our survival fear, or being in an aggression based environment might trigger our fear. This is all good and we don’t want to change this as its one of our best survival and protection tools.

If we perceive or sense danger the brain automatically and immediately activates our nervous system resulting in a sensation / emotion we call FEAR. This uncomfortable nervous system reaction increases our heartbeat, increases our breathing rate and also our blood pressure. Increased blood flow occurs to our muscle groups to makes us ready for physical action (Flight or Fight), we start sweating as the brain makes sure the body is cool and ready to move. All of this is really miraculous, to know that we have a survival mechanism which is instinctive and is designed to protect us.

Powerful Physical Effects of Fear

– All our senses sharpen. Our pupils dilate (open out) so we can see more clearly, even in darkness. Our hairs stand on end, making us more sensitive to our environment.

– The cardio-vascular system leaps into action, with the heart pump rate going from one to five gallons per minute and our arteries constrict to maximize pressure around the body system whilst the veins open out to ease return of blood back to the heart.

– The respiratory system revs up as the lungs, throat and nostrils open up and breathing speeds up to get more air in the body system so the increased blood flow can be re-oxygenated. The blood flow increases as it carries oxygen to the muscles, allowing them to work harder.

– The Liver kicks in by metabolizing fat from fatty cells and glucose to create instant energy.

– Blood vessels to the kidney’s and digestive system become constricted, effectively shutting down the body systems that are not essential. A part of this effect is reduction of saliva in the mouth. The bowels and bladder may also open as the body denies them energy it takes to control them and diverts it to survival muscles and other organs.

– Blood vessels to the skin become constricted reducing any potential blood loss. Sweat glands also open, providing an external cooling liquid to our over-worked system.

– Endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain killers, are released as a way to dampen any pain that may be caused in a fight as pain could hinder your chance of survival.

– The natural judgment system is also turned down and more primitive responses take over – this is a time for action rather than deep thought.

It Time To Befriend Fear
One of the first steps to take if we are experiencing excessive, irrational or phobic fear is to befriend it. As you can see from above fear is there to help us survive by switching our bodies into fight or flight mode immediately. When you look at what this powerful emotion can do and the physical effects it has on the body its plain to see fear is an amazing tool aimed at helping us stay alive.

So we need to start looking on fear as our close friend and protector and although we might need to reduce its presence in some areas where we don’t need it we must acknowledge its benefit to us. In other words we have to learn not to fear our fear! Its there to help us and once we can start to feel like fear itself, in its natural state, is our friend and protector it makes working on irrational fears that much easier.