Fear is a very reasonable response to a lot of things.
I say that, but I also don’t really mean it.
The reality is that fear is an emotional response to the world around us, reasoning and logic don’t have very much to do with our fear response.
Fear is a motivator to either make us do something or prevent us from doing something and it’s a very powerful motivator.
It’s a rare individual who can ignore something that terrifies them.
The problem is that most of the time our fears are irrational.
We aren’t supposed to be able to sit there and weigh up the pros and cons of the situation, we are supposed to have an immediate reaction right then and there when we come across something that we fear.
Sure, there is that moment of “what am I going to do? There are bills due and I’m out of cash!” That sort of anxiety is fair enough and I see a lot of people for perfectly rational anxiety and stress management too.
Sometimes though, our fear response is hampered by that creative imagination that so many of us have.
I met a great young child recently who was actively scared of most foods. The thought of eating a tomato, a lettuce or a chicken leg actually scared him.
I remember a lady who came to see me because she felt trapped in New Zealand. She was desperate to visit her family who had moved to Australia but was crippled by her fear of Australian spiders.
Too scared to even get on the plane.
Someone came to me a month or two back with a fear of holes such as the ones in office ceiling spaces, and slugs. Every now and then I get someone who is scared of flying and I still often help people who are scared of needles.
My point is that these fears don’t make much sense but quite often, for the people who have them, they structure their lives in elaborate ways in order to avoid the object of their fears or limiting the ways.
This can be easy enough if your particular fear is a fear of sharks in swimming pools. Simply don’t go swimming at the pool and you will be fine. It’s an occasional inconvenience but easy enough to manage.
What if it’s a bit more commonplace though? A fear of dogs, or crowds or open spaces?
Sometimes people attempt to tough it out or desensitize themselves through more and more exposure.
Sometimes they try to talk it out and discuss their fear with a therapist. Sometimes it might even sort of work.
However, these are rational and sensible approaches to an irrational and unsensible problem. The part of the brain that deals with fear is the amygdala, it’s one of the oldest structures in the brain. It’s part of the limbic system that is also known as the lizard brain.
By way of contrast the frontal lobe, the bit that deals with logic and reason, only developed in primates including humans. Fear is not a ‘let’s talk about it’ sort of issue, it has very little to do with logic and logic has very little to do with it.
I’m grossly simplifying an extremely complex part of neuroscience and my apologies to anyone reading this who has actually studied the subject in depth.
Still though, I’ve yet to meet anyone who hasn’t been able to shed an irrational fear after asking for my help. It would seem that irrational fears are best dealt with using irrational and emotional methods.
Ready to overcome an irrational fear that has been unnecessarily creating obstacles and challenges in your life?
Book a session now at the link below and I’ll show you exactly how I can help :)