There is a lot of people writing a lot of stuff about all the fearful things that are happening around the world.
Google search for fear got me 564 million results in 0.9 secs !!! Wow – that’s a lot of fear stuff out there.
According to the dictionary it is a ‘distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, whether threat is real or imagined.’ It’s synonyms – foreboding, apprehension, dismay, dread, terror, fright. It’s antonyms – courage, security, calm.
Some psychologists have suggested that fear is one of a small number of basic emotions that we all have. The others include acute stress, anger, angst, anxiety, fright, horror, joy, panic, sadness.
Typically when a person is fearful the body undergoes some changes – this is often called the fight or flight response. Breathing rate increases and becomes more shallow, the heart races, blood is redirected to the major muscles and vital organs, goose bumps, sweaty palms, dry mouth, butterflies in the stomach…. And a feeling of fear. I’m sure we’re all familiar with these things.
Fear itself is contagious. It has been postulated that this is in response to an increase in certain pheromones which kick in, activating the fear system.
I stretched my research a bit further and dug into the archives of my blog – I recall writing a Halloween post back in 2015 exploring why it is that some people get a kick out of being scared. It seems the adrenalin rush, the sense of relief from surviving the situation is more intense after a good scare.
It’s a sneaky little devil, this fear thing. A bit of a chameleon it seems. Many people have an intense, phobic fear of particular things like for example spiders, death, heights, change, open space and they go to extreme lengths to avoid being exposed to them.
Others actively seek it. I sometimes wonder if the thrill seekers fall into this category too. You know, the bungee jumpers, white water rafters, extreme sports people. The rush of adrenalin laced fear melting into a soft, warm ooze of comfort and a sense of achievement teetertottering in a precarious balance with the sense of relief. I wonder if there is an element of addiction in there too. An urge and a drive to seek ever greater and more extreme experiences to attain that counterbalancing surge of relief.
It’s not something I personally aspire to. Never have. I like my feet firmly planted on terra firma with no unpleasant surprises.
The thing is, repetitive and chronic stress , such as that created by fear, takes a serious toll on health and wellbeing.
Dr Andrea Dinardo wrote a thought provoking article in her blog about that kind of fear. She coined an interesting acronym for it – the ‘Forget Everything And Run’ I like that. It’s very descriptive of what happens. However, she took it one step further and turned it upside down into ‘Face Everything And Rise’.
I really like that too. It gives hope. It says that fear does not have to be the destructive force that we so often think it to be. It says that we can use it’s energy to confront and overcome it. It says that we can rise above it and take charge of our lives. She goes on to say that the way to do that is to focus on strengths. They are greater than any perceived threats and fears.
“Breathe and Receive. The mantra Stand Your Sacred Ground inspires us to stand still, take a deep breath, and trust that being yourself is enough. Simply holding your own ground is enough. No fight. No flight. No Fear. Only love.”
LET’S PUT ALL THIS RESEARCH INTO A NUTSHELL SUMMARY –
There’s a lot of fear milling around in the world
There’s a lot of stuff written about fear and how to conquer it
Some people like to deliberately expose themselves to fearful situations for the thrill of it and the sense of relief they experience afterwards
Some people are frozen in a state of chronic fear that has a huge and detrimental impact on their whole life
Fear can be contagious
Fear can be turned around into a positive force
What will you do?
Face Everything And Rise