Jorge Bicho · 08.06.2017
What can cause a sea sponge 600 meters deep to change color and seemingly to become a stone of no interest? The fear. What makes a grandmother jump with unusual agility onto a chair when she sees a little mouse? Also fear. The classic definition of fear is "a sense of anguish provoked by the presence of a real or imagined danger."
They say that fear is a child of ignorance and may be true, but it is much more; Is an emotion that has accompanied us since birth and that we are well identified by its discomfort and because it tends to crush other more pleasant emotions. We are above all afraid of the unknown - again ignorant - and when something obscure is rationalized, it often manages to lose much of the frightening and disturbing element. Horace said that "Those who live in fear will never be free". Knowledge makes us freer, because freedom can be the absence of fear.
But what we can not doubt is its practical aspect. We are afraid because we are alert; Because in order to survive, humans have had to be vigilant and we have developed this ability - like the rest of the species - to be "on notice" before any eventuality that presents itself and threatens us or ours. But of course, the emotional situation that often provokes us is disturbing, threatening, sometimes insurmountable. And this is because the difference between animals, which are instinctively afraid, is that humans bring fear to thought through language and are capable of transcending the biochemical process and realizing a cognitive process.
"Fear neither prison nor poverty nor death. Fear the fear. "Giacomo Leopardi
Physiologically it is a whole picture that awakens our biology: first the senses capture the focus of the danger, being interpreted by the brain, and from there the limbic system goes into action. This one is in charge to regulate the emotions of fight, escape, and, above all, the conservation of the individual. In addition to all this, it also takes care of the constant revision of the information given by the senses, including when we sleep, in order to alert us in case of danger. ...
It is as if we were running a marathon pursued by a herd of brave bulls. But the truth is that on very few occasions we are really facing a real danger that poses a risk to our lives and that, therefore, needs to activate so many alerts.
In fact, fear was an indispensable resource in prehistoric societies, since it safeguarded our predecessors from dangers such as predators, inclement weather and other threats, thus contributing to the survival of the species. But as societies moved forward, the big threats were dwindling. However, fear has settled in our consciousness, so threats of another kind have been used on many occasions by the great powers to control the masses or to shape the populations at their will.
But what does fear represent in our lives? How does it affect our character, our relationships, our decision-making processes?
We apply the concept "fear" to day-to-day situations in which our reptilian brain reacts when it should not; We say that "we are afraid of finding a bottleneck on the way out of work," for example. But, is this fear? Language betrays us.
Overestimating the fears we suffer, happens to 90% of people in their daily tasks. Fears are real in most cases (losing work or conjugation, not counting on family protection, or illness) but they turn into nightmares when we add a fear of the average type to make it unsurpassable, usually by unfamiliarity. A monster appears larger than the capacity we think we have to overcome it.
There are other fears that may be irrational, but they are based on situations that can occur. A colleague has nightmares because he thinks he can lose his official status, achieved more than thirty years ago. Interestingly, his father (retired physician with a long and successful career and still working as a volunteer at a clinic) continues to dream that he may not pass the college admissions exam. Are these rational fears? Do they relate to facts that could confirm both cases? Yes, of course. In the first case, although it is unlikely it is not impossible, but not in the second case, while for some people this becomes an obsession first and then an insurmountable fear, for most it is no more than an anecdote.
In an extreme form is fear converted into pathology and that prevents us from leading a normal life. Phobias are a good example. Agoraphobia, for example, is an unsurpassed fear of open spaces, which sometimes leads to a pathology that does not lead to a normal life.
Fear, in some ways, is not so subjective, but some of the associated typology may be: anxiety, stress, startle, phobia, and panic. Or another more original: External fear, inner fear and subconscious fear. In any case, each one feels their own fears and we try to overcome them with our tools. From time to time there is need of help to move forward, to cross with full consciousness the process that involves this emotion so contradictory; And in this crossing are fundamental the learning that we can use in other times of our life. The coach often works with clients with fear, including panic. Fear of a boss who causes paralysis at various times, fear of failure, fear of rising, fear of the spouse, fear of the father and all that this figure represents throughout life ... The conversations are worked to lead us to a process in That, in the first place, the search for awareness is sought. Cognitively, this helps us to establish the basis of this fear and its dimensions, trying to bring to reality all that is possible. We introduced questions such as "what would you do if you were not afraid? Who would you be? What would your life be like? How many things did you give up for fear of failure or rejection? What do you want to do with your fear? "The second step in the process consists in learning to manage the thoughts that paralyze us: we identify the place from which they arise and, from there, it is necessary to act, to help the client to think again rational. It involves identifying the concrete difficulty and basically learning to separate facts from judgments. It is about helping to keep our client in focus without dispersion, to separate and limit the issue of the rest of the elements that might interfere by concentrating the energy. Then he walks to the "feel" to be able to undo all the knots; We are alert to the bodily signs to locate the physical sensations and to identify where the energy channels are cut: respiration, posture, etc. Will be essential clues to tracking down and managing episodes of fear when they appear. It is necessary that the negative emotions are undone and, in its place, mechanisms appear that allow to face these situations with serenity and knowledge. Coaching is directed at the results, and for this it is necessary to take action. In this case, what matters is letting go, letting go and letting go, abandoning the beliefs that lead us to situations where fear dominates us, grabs us by our feet and prevents us from moving.
• "Reptilian" thinking regulates the involuntary physiological functions of our body and is responsible for the most primitive part of reflex-response.
Adapted from a text by Luis Llorente - Positive Space Coaching Granada