You are alone, it is night. Dark storms clouds blacken the sky. There are no stars, no street lights, and the camp fire is out. You hear a deep growl, your hairs stand on end, your heart beat increases, muscles tense, excess blood is redirected to skeletal muscles, your skin turns pale, and you start shaking. Do you run or do you stay and fight. All of your senses are heightened, your hearing every little twig creak and leaf flutter. Your eyes widen, pupils completely dilated, your body is ready, you are emotional silent, fear is starting to creep in. What was growling?
Fear is going to keep you safe, your sympathitic nervous system has aroused your entire body. Your are now becoming aware of your subjective feeling of terror. Your emotional motivation for protecting yourself. You now plan for a course of action, you devise a means to encounter the intruder to your favor. You stand up and run to the car and lock the doors, you are now safe. The three components of fear are now in place. Biological, your muscles, heart rate and breathing. Cognitive and emotional, you feel terror and think of a plan. Behavioral, you stand up and run to the car and lock the doors. All three aspects of fear have kept you safe, you have responded to a real threat and you can now relax. It is when the threat is imagined or chronic that the problems begin.
Anxiety and stress are related to fear. The fear of not making a time-line, the fear of success, the fear of failure. Fear plays a part in all of these modern world processes. We operate in a semi-imaginative world, where are primal fears of being eaten are now warning us that our hair might be messed up. We are afraid of not paying the bills or getting a speeding ticket. Our fears are not founded in anything concrete. Many of our fears are of the future, but yet our bodies still react primitively, our heart rate increases and our muscles tense. We are in the flight or fight mode, but yet it really is unclear about what we are running from or fighting. To learn to cope we need to separate out our “real” fears from our imagined fears. Worry is a sign that we are imagining something fearful, but we are not really doing it.
Living with fear is common in todays world and exploring how our fears effect our well being and sense of control is very helpful. The more you know about how you personally react to your fears the more aware you will be of the choices you can make. Meditation and talking are good ways to reduce the stress and anxiety of everyday living. Fear will always be with you, but remember fear is as much a part of being human as breathing and eating. Awareness of your fear and not judging your self for your fear is a big step to understanding what fear really is.