by Gay Landeta
How many times are you immobilised by anxiety and fear? For some it is a daily experience – for others only when they are challenged beyond their known capacity. What makes us react the way we do? The first step is understanding the difference between fear and anxiety and then learning to how to treat anxiety and conquer fear. We can start by understanding the sources of fear.
Firstly, there is primal fear. That is the one we all know. It is there to keep us safe from the Sabre Tooth Tiger. I notice it in our little dog, Lola. She is mostly Lhasa Apso which have been bred for hundreds of years to react quickly to potential danger.
She lies around quite happily, not really thinking or doing much unless there is a ‘dangerous noise’– perhaps a possum in boots on the roof, or kids on their skateboards on the road or the slithery sound of a possible snake in the undergrowth – at that point she goes off! Her heart rate and breathing speeds up and she can’t hear anything or focus on anything but barking at the threat. Once it passes she stops, her heart rate immediately drops and she is her happy little loving self straight away. It’s quite remarkable how little impact the physiological changes have on her.
Her adrenal glands cope easily with the stress of the danger because she lets it go once it’s immediacy has passed. She is very present with it. Her adrenal glands are working the way nature has intended.
On the other hand, our lovely little Wing, is a bit more of a thinker. She is much more easily trained, can figure out things that dogs are not meant to be able to and is delightful to talk to. But she is not so good at letting things go. She continues to stay stressed after an event because she keeps worrying about it, her intelligence is a definite impediment to her happiness and her adrenals show it.
Many of us react to stress more like Wing than Lola and our adrenal glands run the risk of exhaustion through constantly being on the go. Irritability, insomnia, fatigue, gut issues, that sense of being run ragged – all of this are indicators that the adrenals may be overworking. If that is the case ask yourself if it is hanging onto the event, i.e. your intelligence, that is your trap? What could like be like if you didn’t stay caught in the story of the event?
To let go of the story you could try summoning up your inner Lola to help deal with the stories that are keeping you from letting go and enjoying the moment. The reality is most of those stories are either exaggerated or altered by our fearful nature (our brains are designed to remember the bad to keep us safe).
Or else they are kept alive by our need for justice, instead of being in ‘Just Is’ (the blame created by this stance only hurts us!)
Or by our (often unconscious) determination to suffer. This can be caused by many things – noticing that it is so is the first step to choosing happiness instead.
Getting back to our little Lola, cuddles and reassurance helps her to accept the danger is not real. Try it yourself – reassure yourself everything is alright by consciously remembering the good or positive, write it down and keep it in eyesight if it easily slips from your mind. Remember to play and enjoy life – reprogram your child brain.
Reassure yourself that you don’t have to be in judgement – that the only person really affected is yourself and not in a good way! And ask for a hug from others just because you want one – not because you are suffering and need it.
Love to hear how you go with this …
Copyright 2015 Gay Landeta. All rights reserved.