How Fear Impacts Our Lives: What We Can Begin to Do About It Beside or Without Medication
Fear is a natural emotion designed to protect us from danger, but it can become debilitating when it is out of proportion to the actual threat or prevents us from living a fulfilling life. Fear can be caused by various traumatic experiences, perhaps genetics and other factors, leading to several problems, including anxiety, depression, and substance abuse that can plague people for their entire lives. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with fear without pills. Let’s take a closer look at how fear affects our lives and what we can begin to do about it.
What Causes Fear?
Traumatic experiences can often cause people to experience more intense levels of fear than average. Genetics also play an important role in how much fear an individual feels; people whose parents experienced intense levels of fear may be more likely to experience the same level of fear themselves due to inherited genetic traits. Finally, brain chemistry influences feelings of fear; some individuals have naturally higher cortisol levels in their brains, which makes them more anxious than others in certain situations. The work to do is find out where this trauma came from, recognise it, and begin to heal.
How Does Fear Affect Us?
When left unchecked or unaddressed, fear can lead to a number of problems, such as anxiety disorders, depression and even substance abuse. Anxiety disorders are characterised by excessive worry, panic attacks or dread that interfere with daily functioning and activities; these disorders can range from mild to severe and should be addressed by an experienced mental health professional if they begin impacting your life. Depression is another common consequence of prolonged fearful states; it is characterised by persistent low moods, which make it difficult for individuals to feel motivated or engaged in activities they typically enjoy. Substance abuse, even if just a daily glass or two of wine, is common among those who suffer from prolonged periods of fear; this coping mechanism only serves as a temporary solution that perpetuates the problem over time instead of addressing the underlying issue. There are many more signals that you are not dealing with fear and the trauma that might have caused it, such as:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Anger or irritability
- Lack of focus
- Panic attacks
- Highly emotional (always in fight or flight mode)
The good news is that there are a number of ways for individuals suffering from overwhelming levels of fear to break free from its grasp and reclaim their lives without relying on medication to cover up the core trauma. Therapy helps confront fears head-on through talk therapy, Rapid Transformational Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It helps individuals identify thought patterns that may exacerbate their fears, teaches new management skills and provides a road map to a better life. Coaching may also be used alongside or after therapy to help in future fearless planning. In addition, several self-help techniques are available online such as mindfulness meditation or positive affirmations, which focus on calming the mind while refocusing attention away from negative thoughts associated with the fearful state itself. Other techniques include:
- Sound baths and sound therapy
- Natural medicine
- Ancient wisdom and teachings
- Energy medicine
(see www.kaylolife.com for more modalities that blend ancient wisdom and modern scientific modalities).
Fear is an emotion designed to keep us safe. When out of proportion or unchecked, it can become debilitating over time. You don’t have to live like this. It is not normal. Gabor Maté has written a new book which is extremely useful in unpacking all the latest research. It is called “The Myth of Normal — Trauma, Illness & Healing in a Toxic Culture.” Thankfully, many resources are available today that allow individuals struggling with fear to take back control over their lives!
Don’t let fear stop you no matter your situation; seek help today. By understanding why we feel afraid and knowing what steps to take towards overcoming our fears, we will live healthier, happier lives filled with hope and courage!
In my next post, we will look at some first steps in helping to deconstruct fear and reconstruct a new you.
Colin Kingsmill is a Founding Partner at Whole Human Coaching and the Author of “Fear Less — Crossing the Bridge from Fear to Bliss.”
colin [at] wholehumancoaching.com