I just got done with a long vacaction in which I was able to think clearly about many different topics, mostly spiritual, but not exclusively. I was able to finish reading Think and Grow Rich before my vacation so many of the ideas from that book were on my mind. I came up with a lot of questions that I plan on asking, but not all at once.
My first one deals with the six ghosts of fear. They are the fears of:
poverty, criticism, loss of love, ill health, old age, and death.
I was honest with myself as Hill suggested and found out that I have the fear of criticism, loss of love, and dying before I accomplish everything I want to accomplish. Also, I don't FEAR ill health, but I HAVE ill health so maybe I fear it on some deeper level.
I know that auto-suggestion would work, along with Eckhart Tolle's dissolving the pain-body practices and even correcting some limiting beliefs. To deal with criticism, I plan on deciding on a definite life goal (again suggested by Hill).
So has anybody else dealt with a major fear? How did you do it? Even if you haven't what advice could you give?
asked 11 Jul '10, 21:02
Glad you asked this question. I've been doing some research on this on my own :
To begin with -- I would like to say I generally wouldn't take these specific lists too seriously because no matter how smart the author is one person trying to give emotional classification on his own is sort of like a 12th grade student trying to disprove the theory of relativity. Documented history has been around for close to 2000 years and no one person has been able to absolutely pin down emotions and lay down a frame-work accurately on his own. If you have any experience with reading Sigmund Frueds theories you'll know how much of a disaster it would be if you just take one persons word for it. To cut the long story short. The list looks good but probably doesn't hold that much of a value in actual life -- think about it, its a pop-psychology/self-help book you're not going to get cutting edge factual stuff even if you do its going to be dumbed down beyond recognition. If you read 20 other books you'll find at least 15 such lists - so don't take the list items per se too seriously.
Enough of that
If you want to work with the emotion and work on reducing your fear. Here is a list of things that seem to work.
I am going to use the emotions theory put forward by psychologist Robert Plutchik as the basis for this approach.
Fear - Anger
One end is Extreme Terror whereas the other End is absolute Rage.
More on the theory :
This is a full list of all combinations.
Emotional Balance - Emotional Management
Before we move to managing fear specifically. I think it would be appropriate to try to understand all your emotions as a whole first rather than just tackle fear.
We have much more cumulative emotions that just sit in our brain -- like worrying about paying for your son to go to college -- you could worry about it for 6-7 months consistently - every time you worry about it, you'll accumulate fear in your head. Human brains are not built for those kind of prolonged stresses. I'm not going to go too much into detail cause the post is anyways going to be very long.
The brain gives you emotion to give context and draw attention and focus to certain things. They are like messengers to the king(your attention) -- they will keep persisting and trying to meet the king -- the more important they feel the message is the more persistent they will be. Emotions don't ask anything from you -- What they need is they need to be experienced -- This is different from overtly expressing those emotions -- the important thing is experiencing them. So if you fear something -- don't try to be guilty of it, don't try to suppress it -- experience it -- your emotions and your mind is your friend, only if your brain thinks its important will it trouble you with that emotion -- your brain is not stupid.
If you are feeling really emotional(anger, sadness, fear..etc) At any given point of time, you will probably have 4-5 issues that are running in your head. Because of the limitations of your brain where you have limited active memory(like RAM in computers, if you understand the analogy) you can sit by yourself and figure out all the things that are going on in your head.
This is how I go about trying to make sense of my emotions :
Couple of ways you can do this.
Second way is, shoot and record yourself talking to a camera. Just keep talking to it and talk about the issues that are running through your mind as they come up. I Haven't worked much with this though, you could probably try it out.
Above is a step by step way of reaching specific goals or solving difficult problems. If the emotions are not about things that you need to solve but something that you just feel about. Then what you need to do is just experience these emotions -- Sit down and feel these emotions don't suppress them, don't try to distract yourself -- just sit there feel these emotions and understand what they are trying to tell you. If its negative emotions and you can't do anything about that situation now. Accept things as they are and let go. A lot of people just suppress their emotions or run away from them because they are not sure if they're strong enough to face them. It takes courage to face them sometimes, but once you do -- you will see the real strength of yourself and your own resilience. Its beautiful to know how truly strong you are and how much as a human being you can go through and still bounce back.
Emotions are created and felt in the limbic system of the brain. The limbic system of the brain is again an older part of our brain in terms of evolution. Emotions are actually felt as energy flowing through specific parts of your body. It is assumed that you know emotions have a purpose and any of them is undesirable.
Here is short a list of emotions and related body reactions they cause :
1) Fear - often starts in the belly and moves upward in the body. It starts as a small prick or like a stab in the stomach and moves upward.
2) Sadness - often begins in the chest and moves upward through the throat and up to the eyes where we see tears - It is also accompanied by a strong wanting to drop your extremities(hands/legs) and let wanting to let go of your neck muscles and just let go + bending of the spine.
3) Anger - Anger is energy felt in your body - begins in the back between the shoulder blades and travels upward, along the back of the neck and around the sides of the jaws.
4) Joy - Joy is the last of the five core emotions. Joy is often felt in the chest (Similar to sadness we have tears of joy) but it may radiate outward more than simply moving upward.
You feel energy moving through your body at any time, if you can control the flow of this energy, you can change your emotions. The moment you feel Sad and fearful. You want to do the following :
2) keep your back fairly straight -- don't need to strain it but don't let it slump.
3) Feel a radiant glow, right at the center of your chest, and feel that moving outward. Smile as you do this - you'll notice, it will be an effortless smile.
4)fly ( ;) - kidding)
2) Feel energy move to your jaw - Push it out till you feel it is a strain. Feel the energy moving from your chest to your jaw and it will feel really good on your lower jaw
3) Do both Joy-Anger together and Give a bloody big smile. You'll love it.
Inner-directed Vs. Outer-directed
A lot of fears can be a result of being Outer-directed and getting your approval/values/sense of achievement from people around you and from outside sources.
Try to be more inner-direct, Accept yourself for who you are. Care less about what people think of you and more of what you think about yourself from your own perspective and value system. Don't beat yourself too much. Be secure and self assured about who you are.
I'm just giving you pointers here, you can read up on your own and learn about these :
Increase Testosterone :
Workout for at least 30 mins a day -- any physical exercise will keep your testosterone levels up and it will keep your stress levels low, you'll feel good about yourself and less depressed.
Reduce Cortisol :
answered 12 Jul '10, 11:42
Thanks for the indepth answer. I'm going to have to read this a few times to really take it in. I really like the part about writing everything thats you think of. I think the pairing of witnessing fear as Michaela said along with this really getting to the core of the problem should help alot.
(12 Jul '10, 19:40) Michael 1
Impressed by the depth.
(12 Jul '10, 21:04) Asklepios
This message is so awesome, thanks for putting in the time for the answer. Would this be the same way I'd get over my fear of doing backflips (even though im a gymnast)?
(10 Nov '11, 12:09) Nikulas
showing 2 of 3 show 1 more comments
Firstly Michael, you don't destroy fear.
When something dysfunctional is operating in our lives, the last thing we should try to do is get rid of or destroy it because by doing so we give that dysfunctional tool an energy that it does not deserve.
We operate from a much stronger position when we can witness that fear for what it is. This means differentiating from merely knowing ( on an intellectual level ) that we are operating from a place of fear to actually watching or witnessing ourselves from a place of awareness. Witnessing takes quite a bit of practice but like anything worthwhile, the more we practice the better we get.
The more you can practice watching or witnessing your own feelings and reactions, the more control you have over how you respond to any given situation or feeling.
Emotions are feelings that move through us and often become habitual due to our learning experiences. However, the more we can watch these emotions move through our physical system, the more we realize that we have control over these. Fear is an emotion and You have control over it - irregardless of what situation is generating that fear.
P.S. Good for you Michael for being willing to confront those fears :-)
answered 11 Jul '10, 21:36
Thanks for the great answer on controling fears. Witnessing is much like the dissolving pain-body exercises I mentioned. In breif what you do is move your attention to the point of the observer and feel the emotions instead of analyzing it. Thanks for reinforcing that practice.
(11 Jul '10, 22:29) Michael 1
You're right Michael - the key is not to analyze but let that other presence take over ( sometimes easier said than done, especially for those of us who are predominantly left brained ) but persistence and practice does pay off.
(11 Jul '10, 23:20) Michaela
From my experience I know that cause of fear is rather internal than external. That means you are afraid of illusions created by your mind. This applies to the fear of criticism.
answered 12 Jul '10, 09:48
Michaela, I have to back to Abraham. You need to get to a better feeling place regarding the fear (whatever it maybe). One way to do so is with the focus block. If you fear heights then you want to get to a better feeling place until you no long fear heights. You need to work your way up the emotional scale until you get there.
answered 12 Jul '10, 17:35
one of my favorite books is Dune and there is a quote from that that I use when something brings on fear
and then there is what Roosevelt said "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." I'm good at quitting so these help me in quitting fear/being afraid. It's funny how the abraham-hicks qoutes I get in the mail seem to fit as answers here this qoute is from the 9th I had not opened it until just now (the 13th).
answered 12 Jul '10, 22:13
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