Fear is the interesting phenomena, whereby all of aspects of our self – physical, mental and emotional – are biologically activated in response to a perceived threat of danger.
Neurologically, fear activates our sympathetic nervous system. Big words I hear you say, well, have you heard of the ‘flight or fight response’ – right?
So, when we activate our sympathetic nervous system, it’s like we turn ourselves into the human version of a meerkat! We become hyper focussed on everything around us, but unable to respond to any one thing and take action! We either, run, fight or feel stuck.
Seriously now, what happens when we activate fear? This neurological response activates our adrenal glands (which are located atop your kidneys) to produce chemical reactions to release hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies.
At the same time, once our sympathetic nervous system is activated, neurologically we suppress our digestive and hormone systems. Why? It’s so our bodies become primed to run away from the saber tooth tiger rather than go to the toilet or ahem, make babies!
Ridiculous, but our ‘cave man’ response to flight or fight is still strong within the modern man and can be activated just the same way as millions of years ago. But there’s a catch. Whilst technology has changed our nervous systems haven’t, so we trigger our meerkat mode in a number of new ways – not just a saber tooth tiger.
Our posture, or specifically hunching of the shoulders can trigger us to become heightened from a neurological perspective. Electronic devices, specifically the blue light is also a trigger. Inflammatory foods like dairy or wheat can cause mild reactions in some. BUT the big reactor is sugar. Yep sugar can turn on our sympathetic system as well as the cray cray behaviours that go with it when we feel emotionally heightened.
Activation of our adrenals causes an elevation of cortisol, and when this occurs over the long term consistently, your body produces glucose, which in turn can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels. Do it often enough, like a habit, and you need more insulin to break down the sugar or you store the excess sugars as abdominal fat. Been trying to lose weight but are a stressed-out little thing? Perhaps now you have an insight as to why weight loss is complicated. Furthermore, managing our stress in this busyness of this technological world is critical to living longer.
Let’s talk about the brain for a sec. I know, nerd alert right?
We create standard operating procedures in our brain based on the experiences we have in life. Generally, these response procedures are created at very young ages (like before the age of four). Our brains are awesome at categorising the emotional responses to these initial events and then retrieving them in the form of our behaviours. But here’s the trick. When we retrieve the response (often years later), there’s a conflict because the fear no longer exists in reality, but your brain didn’t get that memo!!!
In lay terms, we call this subconscious response your stuff. We all have it. The trick is what you do with your stuff and whether you get stuck in it, or can create new procedures.
There’s three ways our brain can ideally process information, but when accessing a fear procedure or response, things can go wobbly:
- Top – bottom: thalamus (fancy word for junction sorting box) to higher cortical processing
- Side to side: logic or emotions can be applied
- Front-back: planning resources to archive information storage
When the normal brain response starts to wobble, our emotional response becomes ‘reactive’ rather than observation and responsive. The reaction, if heightened emotionally, can leave us feeling like our logic has left the building.
It’s at this point our brain tries to compensate and wonder why logic is now riding a unicorn down the street and the panic symptoms commence.
We’ve all experienced this at some point in our lives, because we ALL HAVE STUFF!
Whether it be fear of an exam or test. Fear of being judged or criticised. Fear of rejection or resistance to change. Fear to lose control or fear of the unknown even may be a trigger for you.
The trick to get your logic back in the building is to acknowledge it’s just your stuff arising. There are occasions when we don’t want to face our fears, but when we ‘avoid’ facing our stuff and our fears, we create negative emotional and mental habits. This means that we reinforce our fears and the wobbly response within our brain patterning.
So, when we first respond to fear, we can talk ourselves back to calm quickly. We remain focussed with clarity and confidence. We continue to grow and evolve on our journey path.
However, when we don’t face our arising or subliminal fears, the negative patterns cause us to feel ‘stuck’. These patterns literally rob us of confidence, as well as the ability to ‘let go’, ‘cope with life’, or ‘move forward’. It’s at this point, that the feelings of ‘overwhelm’ commence. When we overwhelm we overthink, and this can interfere with our ability to obtain good quality sleep.
What happens when we get stuck in it? We run mental patterns with negative emotional charge and do funny things like:
- Self doubt
- Self sabotage
Ongoing anxiousness, or anxiety and depression is a debilitating condition, whereby we struggle (from a brain patterning perspective) to quickly obtain positive responses and move forward. Life can feel like a struggle and we may have to work hard to feel courageous.
It’s challenging to manifest abundance when we’re running negatively emotionally charged reactive patterns to life occurring around us. The conflict arises when we set our intention to have abundance in our lives, but our thought processes are so consumed with negativity, that our mental energy is completely consumed. This means that we can’t access our heart space, our feelings.
And we want to access our heart space, where we feel our gratitude for the abundance and experiences of life. Without embracing gratitude, we are unable to embrace the Law Of Attraction.
So, here’s some strategies to start allowing those subliminal fears to come into your consciousness so that you can embrace them and boost your courage to change and embrace your dear beloved me.
Be mindful of your inner dialogue. The minute you become consciously aware of a negative thought, accept it and let it go. Then replace with something positive. This is one of the fastest ways to become aware of the depth of your ‘negative nancy’ status and start making rapid changes.
When you feel the ‘meerkat onesie’ feeling creeping onboard ask yourself the coaching questions. Finishing with ‘can I choose to change my perception’.
When you answer YES, you are consciously inviting your logic back into the room and becoming grounded in looking at life in a new way. You turn off the heightened response, can take a deep breath and move forward.
Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other and enter the fear that you aren’t good enough. Judgement of self or others gets you no-where, other than negative Nancy pants.
Be nice to yourself. It’s taken you a life time to get to where you are at today and is going to take a bit to unravel your negative patterns. Part of the journey is learning to love all over yourself.
Allow yourself to consciously become aware of what any arising fear is, so you can unpack it a little further each time. The more you become consciously aware, the more you can uncover and quickly shift the old reactive behaviour pattern. Remember you can choose to change and bloom from within xx
Fantastic advice Karen. I love your blogs
Thank you Treena 💜
A good read,thanks for sharing Karen. 🙂
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