The fight/flight reaction
Our bodies are designed to activate a response to fear that is meant to keep us safe from danger.
Known as the fight/flight reaction, it switches us over to automatic readiness so that we can escape danger quickly.
When our brain learns of an immediate threat to our safety, it generates impulses to the adrenal glands, and blood gets pumped into our limbs so that we can run fast. It’s an ingenious design that humans have relied on for escaping threats, but it can also have the opposite effect and render you motionless, unable to think, frozen to the spot.
Modern humans are afraid of all sorts of complex issues that can challenge our perception of our personal comfort. We can be afraid of failure, or of looking stupid. We can be afraid of not having the things that we want, of missing out on opportunities or letting people down.
Subconscious memories can dictate your future long after the original event has passed. Some people, for example, have such traumatic births that they experience the world to be a dangerous place, and they live their life in fear of this belief.
Childhood fears of creepy crawlies can activate in an adult who suddenly finds a spider inside their house, whether it is a venomous red-back or an innocent daddy-long-legs. Regardless of the facts, the physical reaction can be the same, and takes some time to process.
Are you afraid of fear?
Fear takes on many different faces, but it still creates the same discomfort in everyone’s body, just in varying degrees. How it affects us and how we recover from it makes a difference to how we handle the stresses of life.
When left unchecked, fear can make us sick, usually upsetting our digestive processes or giving us painful headaches. It can even have long lasting effects that interrupt with daily functions, as witnessed with soldiers who succumb to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder long after the initial event has passed.
We can’t avoid fear, as it is one of the most primitive human emotions, but we can learn to understand its purpose so we can keep moving forward in life.
We process fear in two ways. Firstly, our brain sends signals to our body by pumping us full of hormones that activate the fight/flight response. Then, once the danger has passed, the memory of the stressful experience teaches us to avoid the danger in the future, such as making sure we don’t get too close to a venomous snake.
Unfortunately, stress and anxiety have the same physiological responses as fear. With pounding heart beat, rising temperature and the release of the Fight/Flight hormones, our brains expect danger and our logical judgement can shut down, even when we know we are physically safe.
Overwhelm can disable us. If we recognise that we are overreacting, that we are stressed rather than facing death, it is possible to manage the situation with a strategy.
You can reset the brain by tapping out your Cortices and stabilise the body by focusing on your breathing. Remind yourself that this situation will pass, and expect that some valuable lesson will be your reward.
Focus on how far you have come in spite of your fear, as you learn to master its grip. Recognising the limitations that fear has placed on you, and making a decision to push through its limiting effect has led to the popular saying “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Being courageous in the face of fear can train your brain to not overreact in the future.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is utilised in BodyTalk, the energy of fear is generated by the Kidneys, which also manifest willpower. When we look at the holistic aspects of fear through the Chinese Element of Water, we see a delicate balance where our willpower is held in check by fear, and vice versa. To process our fear frees our willpower to flourish by increasing energy (or chi) to the Kidneys.
BodyTalk can assist in neutralising the stress of fear. A personalised treatment can unlock limitations in any number of ways that arise according to personal circumstances.