Tag Archives: #fear

Fear, Anxiety, Anxious, Courage, Brave, Fearless

Anxiety and Fear – friend or foe?

Anxiety and fear are interrelated emotions, using the same or similar neurological pathways for processing information.  Anxiety is the physical reactions that develop due to fear or stress.  Fear can result as a response to anxious cues.

Either way anxiety and fear have become quite prevalent and widespread in today’s society and way of living.  It is common, and even normal, from time to time to feel anxious and experience fear.  In fact fear is our inbuilt response to external stimuli that is designed to keep us safe.  Anxiety can help us to take action and to make informed decisions.

The problem occurs however when such feelings or physical symptoms are so strongly associated with that it becomes consuming and takes the person into a spiralling state.   So is fear and anxiety a friend or foe?

When we stop, deny or repress an emotion we actually block the neural pathway that also allows the feel good chemicals, and thus emotions, to flow.  Rather than stop, deny or repress such emotions we need to treat them as “friends” and dissolve them.

As previous mentioned we are naturally inbuilt with a fight or flight response.  The aim of such response is to keep us safe and alive, which is our primal goal in life.  So fear, and anxiety, from that perspective is extremely beneficial.  You really wouldn’t want to come across a Coastal Eastern Taipan snake and be courageous and fearless.

Yet too from an emotional or spiritual perspective fear and anxiety have a positive reason for existing.  Ultimately they are endeavouring to get our attention as there is a contradiction as to where we are directing our thoughts and energy with what is constructive and advantageous for us.  It is telling us we are energetically misaligned.

Candace Pert, a neurophysicist, through her research showed that emotions create peptides that connect / dock in the receptors of cells throughout the body.  Thus emotions are creating physical reactions in the body.   As noted before we know that fear often creates symptoms of anxiety.

So fundamentally when it comes to fear, and anxiety, we need our brain to be communicating more appropriately and in a way that serves us.  Perhaps we need to consider the reason the fear (or anxiety) is showing up and what it is endeavouring to get our attention for.

We know that the unconscious mind’s role is to keep us safe.  To look out for dangers and direct us to act in a way that keeps us alive and out of dangers way.  However often its reference of what is “safe” is based on historical data that is most likely outdated and no longer supporting or serving us.

It is also important to understand that as mammals we want to belong.  Consider mammals in the wild, their safety and ability to remain alive is dependant on being accepted in the group.  If not they are shunned to the perimeter of the group where they are more likely to be taken by predators.

So often our fear is due to not wanting to be different, and thus not shunned, by others.  So we act in a way that our “group” does (which can be family, friends, colleagues) and/or in a way that we consider they will find acceptable.

Did you know that fear and excitement use the same energy?  What happens thought is most people tend to misread excitement as fear, thus sabotaging themselves from taking action and enabling change.

Being fearful creates a misconception that we do not have choice, which debilitates us from making change.  Also it is likely the old way of being has been acted upon for such a long time that it has created a strong neural pathways hence why we often act without thinking.

Most of our patterns of behaviour are created in the unconscious mind between the ages of two and seven.  The way to change these patterns, and create new pathways, is repetition.  

What precedes change and choice is awareness.  Awareness of how your fears are causing you to act and disempower you.  Once we have awareness we then have choice to either repeat the pattern of behaviour or to create change and new behaviour.

We need to know that the unconscious mind will endeavour to keep the old patterns because it considers them safe.  This is the reason change can be less than easy.  However more you disengage with the old pattern and act in the new way you minimise and disempower the old way of acting.

Thus in order to address anxiety, ideally you would address the fears that are underpinning or causing it.  To do this you need to uncover what are the beliefs that create the fear and start acknowledging or creating references where the opposite is true. 

Everyone’s anxiety experience of anxiety is different.  Anxiety symptoms are real, headaches, dizziness, trembling, sweaty, unsettled stomach or nausea, feeling faint, shaky and breathing difficulties are a few.

What people tend to do is focus on the symptoms rather than them simply being a way to get the person’s attention.  It is also important to consider that your anxiety symptoms could be a pattern of how you are keeping yourself “safe”.  Thus you are unconsciously doing this because it is habitual.

I believe that emotions are not bad, they are showing up for a reason.  Therefore it is important to dissolve the emotion rather than run or hide from it.  So firstly acknowledge that you are feeling anxious and that it is ok for you to feel that way, as long as you don’t let it spiral you down. 

Next  bring awareness to  what it is you were focusing on, thinking or talking about.  For me I can wake up feeling this way and I’ve come to realise it can be due to a dream I was having or something I was thinking about before going to bed.

Then consider what is it you need in order to feel better and/or what is the solution to what you were thinking about or focusing on.

Another technique to help alleviate anxiety, in order to work on the underlying fears,  is the 4-7-8 breathing pattern.  This is a breathing rhythm developed by Dr. Andrew Weil, based on ancient yogic pranayama technique.  It helps to oxygenate the body which helps to calm the nerves, relaxing and centring the body.

Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of seven and breathe out for a count of eight.  Continue doing this for a min. of four rounds and as you get more comfortable with the technique you can do so for up to eight rounds.  

As a kinesiologist I have seen many clients use kinesiology techniques to help support them dissolve fears and thus anxiety.  Helping them to be stronger within themselves.  The great thing about kinesiology is that it doesn’t use a “one size fits all” approach, it uses the wisdom of your internal healing system to find out specifically what you need.

So is fear and anxiety friend or foe?  Ultimately I believe it is a friend, one that can be “cruel to be kind”.  Just wanting our attention so that we are congruent within ourselves to create what we truly want and are capable of achieving.

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Fear

Stop creating what you fear

One of the things I love about being a kinesiologist is helping my clients observe their behaviours, beliefs and thoughts.  Awareness being the key to change.   Until recently I hadn’t realised just how many people are creating the very thing they fear.

Client after client, no matter what they were working on, were sabotaging themselves from achieving their goals because inadvertently they were manifesting the very thing they feared happening.  This meant instead of the “fear” maybe happening they had created it to happen.

Sam* wanted to be in a relationship, however she feared being rejected.  Now when Sam attracts Mr Right there is a 50% chance she may be rejected, however there is also a 50% chance that she may have a loving supportive relationship.    Yet before Sam could even meet Mr Right, she was already living in the pain of being rejected.

Evie* wanted to let go and be accepting, however she feared not being in control.  When we looked at this in depth because she couldn’t let go it caused her additional work.  This caused her frustration and resulted in her loosing her temper – she lost control.  So not letting go ultimately caused what she feared.

Why would people do this?

In all of the examples I have where clients were doing this, they actually weren’t aware they were doing it.  Many people are so busy in their days to days lives they don’t have (or make) the time for self awareness.  And many people when they are self aware don’t have the tools to shift or change their habit, belief and/or pattern.

Focus

What we focus on, consciously or unconsciously, is what we attract.  Even if what we are focusing on isn’t beneficial for us.

Defensive driving instructors advise that if you are in a car accident focus on where you want / need the car to go.  Do not look at the wall or tree that may be near.  The reasons for this is because your actions are more likely to support you in taking the car in the direction you are looking at.

So too in life, wherever we put our energy (which is what we think about, talk about and look at) will determine our actions and behaviours.  In all the examples I have people had been focusing on what they didn’t want to be instead of what actually could be.  As soon as they realised this it opened them up to different, and positive, possibilities.

Beliefs

Beliefs are one of the most powerful directive forces in our lives. They are generalisations that we have of ourselves and the world around us, which become the principles that we chose to live by.  Simplified, beliefs are what we consider to be true and therefore create and shape our reality – our map of the world which we consider to be real.

Beliefs are a self fulfilling prophecy.

What we believe creates an expectation of what is likely to happen, this influences our behaviours (as well as how we feel) and then creates the basis of what actions we do or don’t take. In turn the actions or activities that we are doing or not doing will be the result or outcome we achieve.

This means that if you want to change your results or your behaviours, you need be aware of your beliefs to ensure they support what you want to achieve and who you want to be.

Positive / empowering beliefs are permission slips for getting the outcomes you want.

Amygdala response

Fear is programmed in our genetic coding from the time of our prehistoric relatives.  At a time when it was vital for them to respond effectively to physical and emotional dangers.  Our Prehistoric ancestors needed fear in order to protect themselves from legitimate threats.

In this day and age whilst threats exist, we no longer need to be on such high alert.  However without the reprogramming of the amygdala we still have a safe hold on this response.

Changing the pattern

Do Fear Daily

When you do something you fear, you are in fact practising courage.  The more fearful things you do the more you train your brain not to let fear stop you.  It’s kind of like building a muscle, yet in this case you are building your courage muscle.

So each and every day do something you fear (which is safe and within reason).  Whilst it might not be the very thing you fear, it is inadvertently helping you to choose to act in the right way with any fear.

Change Focus

To change your focus you just need bring awareness to what you are placing your attention to.  This can be done by being mindful of how you are feeling.  If you aren’t feeling good then it is likely you are thinking about something which isn’t serving you.

You can also change your focus on a subject by considering:

  • What is great about the <issue> right now?
  • What are the benefit of <issue>?
  • What is going well in life?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What can I do today that will support what I need?
Change your beliefs

Commonly it is thought that our beliefs have a hold on us when in fact we have a hold on them. The first step to changing beliefs is the desire to let them go.

Negative beliefs are any thoughts, feelings you have which don’t support you in getting what you want. These are the ones you want to dispel….I’ve just seen this word in such a different way DIS-SPEL which reminded me of this quote:

Consider the topic which you want to examine your beliefs about. Write down all your thoughts about that topic. You could also bring awareness to what you say to yourself about this topic and/or what do you say to others.

When / if you have any negative feelings arising when you think about or doing this topic, consider what you were thinking to cause that feeling.

Two negatives make a positive, so now is time to negate the negative!  The way in which you do this is to disturb the references that are supporting the beliefs.  To do this question your beliefs:

  • What does that mean to you to believe that? How does it serve you?
  • Where and when did you start believing that?
  • What will happen if you change this belief?
  • What are the benefits of not solving your belief?
  • What are the consequences of continuing to believe that?
  • What examples/references do you have where the opposite is true?
  • What belief is equally if not more so true?
Train your amygdala

The pre-frontal cortex is the part of our brain which holds the key to our executive functions such as:  reasoning, problem solving, innovative, understanding and perception, impulsion,  creativity and perseverance.    Functions that help us think before we act.

The amygdala in fact is the opposite, it often cause emotive reactions.  However the pre-frontal cortex has dynamic inhibitory circuits which mute and still the amygdala.

Ways to strengthen the pre-frontal cortex are:

  • Meditation
  • Stay positive and away from negative drama
  • Play memory games
  • Learn something new such as juggling or another language
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Kinesiology!

By being aware of habit this you can start living in the now.  When you live in the now you have an improved probability to creating what you really desire!

If you would like additional support to creating what you desire then consider an appointment with one of our skilled kinesiologists.  Use this link to schedule an appointment now:  http://www.theinnersageaustralia.com/appointments/

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Shattering the Fear Barrier

There I was kitted up with safety gear and connected to our Tree Top Adventure at Yarramundi, NSW (near Sydney), trying to take the first step…I’m not sure why it had never occurred to me that our adventure would involve heights, you’d think the name of this adventure park would have given it away, however not once did it cross my mind and I found myself literally frozen to the spot.

I couldn’t move, the communication from my brain to my legs was blocked with negative chatter which was causing me neurological stress, stopping me from not being able to gather my thoughts.

If you have ever experienced immobilising fear then you will understand how your heart rate increases, your body temperate rises, you can’t think straight and your legs become jelly with no strength to move, feeling like you are stuck to the spot.

So there I was experiencing all of these symptoms, with my beautiful eight year old off and away making her way through the course.  Firstly I tried to coax her to come back, suggesting we go do the easy kids option, yet she couldn’t hear me (or wasn’t listening) .  Then I discovered, due to the way the safety gear works, once your hooked on to the wire the only way to get off (apart from finishing the course) is to call for the supervisor to unlock you…and in that moment there was no supervisor in sight…so there seemed to be only one way to deal with my fear and that was to face it head on and move forward.

The power of our mind is a truly marvellous thing and reminds me of a time when at the dentist.  Due to an abscess I required a tooth extraction, the thought of the pain involved with this procedure was so overwhelming for me that the dentist’s only option was to do the work with me “zoned” me out.  I was given a drug that relaxed me to such a deep level that I had no conscious awareness of what was happening.

A few weeks later I was back to have my teeth cleaned and the dentist commented how he couldn’t understand how I could have my teeth cleaned without any support (to zone me out).  I told him “oh that’s easy, in my mind having my teeth cleaned doesn’t hurt”.

What an epiphany that laid within that response, the key words being “in my mind”.

Whilst our bodies may respond physically, the fear of a situation (or (most) people, places or things) begins in our mind and we make whatever we are telling ourself so real that our body responds to support our thoughts.

As I stood high up above the ground on that wire, with limited choices, I acknowledged my fear and decided that being a positive role model for my daughter was more important.  In that moment I realised that what I was telling myself was not real, it really was False Evidence Appearing Real.   So I took one step and then another, and then another AND it was exhilarating.

The brain has a natural tendency to seek out negatives, inherited from our cavemen ancestors whom such thinking and being “on guard” was critical to their survival, however their amgydala response reactions which imprinted, are still inherent within us.

The emotional part of our brain is the amygdala, which regulates our fight or fight response.  It monitors situations and determines what our response should be and is often engaged even before our neocortex (rational brain) has awareness of what is happening.

In order to change this we need to re-train the amygdala and put in practice ways to calm the amygdala and engage the neocortex.   Here are some ideas that you can work with to achieve this:

  • Breathe
    With mindfulness and intention focus on deep breathing.  Breathing in through your nose, counting to ten, so your ribcage rises as you expand your chest.  Now breathe out slowly through your mouth or nose if more comfortable.
    This techniques gives your neocortex time to catch up with the amygdala and therefore give you a rational option for response, yet too it increase the oxygen in your body stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and promoting a calm state.
  • Focus
    Change your focus to something you can appreciate or see as a positive about the situation, as it is difficult for the brain to experience two emotions at the same time.
  • Awareness
    If you can do this in the moment, even better, however afterwards is fine.  Consider your response and what the trigger was that prompted your response, because when we know the trigger then we can consider what a more appropriate response is to it and how you would like to act in future.
    To embed the new response you can use NLP Swish response or even a simple visualisation of yourself acting in the new way to the trigger.
  • Creative Activities
    Any creative activity such as imagination, meditation, visualisation, art, cooking, dance, singing stimulates the frontal lobes of the brain where the neocortex is located, making it easier to remain focussed and be in charge of our your reactions.
  • Regulating Fear
    This is one of my favourite bits of advice, to do something you find fearful (which is safe and within reason) on a regular basis.  When we do this we train our brain that it is OK to feel fear and to not be disabled by it.  We are also practising courageousness and creating new neurological connections.

Lastly I have found not only personally yet also with clients Kinesiology to be a wonderful modality which aids a person to bypass their conscious mind and re-align their neocortex (as well as energy centres) so they can more easily move towards what they want.

In the immortal words of Susan Jeffers “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

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