Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.Is this just appealing wordplay or a stunning insight into the human condition? Let’s look a little deeper.
Firstly, what is fear?
- Response to dange
At its most basic, fear is a feeling state in response to danger. It is part of our evolved way to survive and comes baked
The stress response has also been called our Fight/Flight response as our body prepares to respond to danger by running away or defending ourselves. It’s actually slightly more complicated than Fight/Flight as there are also the lesser known responses of Freeze and Fold. These actions are alternative evolved survival strategies that may relate to becoming invisible (freeze and the movement sensitive eye of a predator might not see you) and pacify (submit and the predator might not kill you straight away, leaving a later chance of an escape).
It’s important to note that these are automatic responses generated by
Something we can take from this is to be careful not to be critical of the way we have responded to unexpected danger in the past. It’s rarely an issue of choice.
Just our bodies doing what they have done for millennia to survive.
Our bodies also have an inbuilt soothing system designed to bring us back from the stress response when the danger has passed. What could possibly go wrong?
OK. So far so good. Fear seems to be an indispensable part of survival and one we share with most other living animals.
What could possibly go wrong? Why might we need to
It’s rather hard to define consciousness of self but it’s something
One side effect is imagination. Using imagination we can plan, design, estimate, communicate and create. But what happens when we imagine danger?
It turns out that our bodies have great difficulty distinguishing a real event from an imagined one. Imagine holding a fresh, chilled segment of tangy lemon above your outstretched tongue and then squeezing a shimmering drop of the juice onto your tongue.
Many people find their mouth beginning to moisten ready to receive the lemon juice, or maybe a tingling on the end of their tongue. All you did was imagine the lemon!
In a similar way, our stress response can be activated by imagining danger.
Someone once defined a fear (F.E.A.R) as a False Event Appearing Real.
- Crossing the Road
Let’s be clear, there are many times when imagining danger is a really
Fear can alter our perception of the world and trick us into being less than we truly are. We put off decisions, don’t ask for help, miss opportunities
When Fear slows us down This is where fear becomes unhelpful, like an invisible lead weight on our boots, slowing us down and making us tired.
This unconscious pattern can lead to unhealthy habits and
The good news is that we have all the internal resources and capabilities to turn this situation around. We can invoke our
Why not start now!
by Tom Corbishley