Misunderstanding Fear

We live in a fear-based culture that holds most people ransom to a life of mediocrity and deathbed regrets but what is fear and can we learn to walk through it?

Fear in scientific terms is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energised muscles, among other things, also known as the fight-or-flight response.

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Fear promotes survival. If we couldn’t be afraid, we wouldn’t be able to survive for too long but 21st century fear has its floors.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” – Marianne Williamson

Now that we no longer have to worry about man eating creatures, our fear responses have found new situations to stress over for example, redundancy,  starting your own business or asking someone you find attractive out on a date. Although all of these things have a very low death rate, the fight or flight response is still activated making us feel powerless and vulnerable in these situations.

“Our mind does one thing over and over that leaves us less intelligent: it constantly puts us in a fantasy world that includes our worst-case scenario.” – James Altucher

Most fear is caused through a lack of knowledge around a given situation. If you knew that the beautiful women in the café window, found guys like you attractive, was currently single and was looking for someone confident enough to ask her out on a date you’d probably think your odds had improved. If you then found out that she was also best mates with one of your friends and had mentioned to them how attractive she thought you were, your confidence would be sky high and you’d probably attempt asking her out. At no point had the situation changed but your knowledge around it had and so the possibility of rejection was reduced and so was your fear.

F.E.A.R = False Evidence Appearing Real

Living a life on the other side of fear is proactive, not reactive. It acknowledges power and safety rather than powerlessness and vulnerability by allowing you to move forward and shift your ideas on what is possible. Often it’s the things we fear most that provide the biggest rewards, so learning to walk through fear rather than walking away can open doors to new opportunities and less regrets further down the line.

What one thing have you feared a lot lately? Post it in the comments below.

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