I read that fear is an emotional response induced by a perceived threat, which causes a change in brain and organ function, as well as in behavior fear may increase the depression rick also. Fear can lead us to hide, to run away, or to freeze in our shoes. Fear may arise from a confrontation or from avoiding a threat, or it may come in the form of a discovery.
When I was younger, fear came in the form of a scary movie, like The Shining or Nightmare on Elm Street. A little bit later, the fright was whether or not I would get picked in the neighborhood basketball game, and a little bit after that it was which girl I should ask to the school dance. After that, dread was dealt in the form of finding a job after college, and then consternation came about keeping that same job.
The day I found out what true fear genuinely feels like came later, at age 30. It didn’t come in the form of a movie, or a girl. It came in the form of being diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. And rushed into my life like a tsunami, reaping havoc and filling my mind with doubt and anxiety, my intellect with worry and unknown. I was quite literally in fear of losing my life.
Fear is part of the sympathetic nervous system which plays a major role in the fight or flight response. Hopefully after the fear has passed, our bodies return to a more restful and relaxed state through the parasympathetic nervous system.
Physical Signs Of Fear
– Wide Eyes
– Raised Eyebrows
– Flared Nostrils
– Clenched Mouth
– Larger personal space
– Slouching or hunching to minimize their exposure
– Taller or squared shoulders as in an aggressive response
– Feet may be pointed to locate a way out of the situation
– Crossed arms and hands
– Drumming of fingers
– Rapid Breathing
– Shaking or tapping legs
– Breathing more rapid and shallow
– Increase in blood pressure
– Increase in pulse rate
– Dilated Pupils
– Dry Mouth
– Body hair standing on end
– Tense and energized muscles
– Increased perspiration
– Digestive and Immune systems slow down
– Trembling and shaking
– Peristalsis reduced
– Increased glycogen to glucose conversion
– Norepinephrine and epinephrine secreted
– Sweaty Palms
– Nervous Ticks
– Increase in thoughts and Mind Racing
– Screaming, yelling or inability to do these things
– Immobility or paralysis
– Hives or skin rashes, skin conditions
(One of the most frequent commands in the Bible is “do not fear.” (Once again…it is a command, NOT a suggestion!)
#1 – Fear causes us to reduce the size of God and elevate the size and opinion of man.
#2 – Fear causes us to lead people in the wrong direction. (Remember when the Israelites wanted to GO BACK TO EGYPT and being slaves because they feared going into the land that God had promised them?)
#3 – Fear causes us to stay quiet when we should clearly speak up. (Mostly because many times we are OBSESSED with what others think about us, see Galatians 1:10)
#4 – Fear causes us to be passive about an issue that the Lord has clearly brought to our attention. (As Edmund Burke once said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.”)
#6 – Fear causes us to not engage the broken, the hurting, the misfits and the neglected because if we include them in our lives and actually invite them into our homes then it could get messy. (I’m so glad Jesus didn’t have that attitude…if He would have then I would have been screwed!)
#7 – Fear causes us to refuse to embrace change because we care way more about being comfortable than being conformed into the image of Christ.
#8 – Fear causes us to control things and take matters into our own hands rather than trusting the Lord and trusting others. (People who are control freaks really do fear when things don’t go their way! BUT…remember, control is the biggest illusion in the world, I wrote about that here.)
#9 – Fear causes us to conceal sin and shame in our lives when God’s Word is so clear that we should ask others for help – James 5:16
#10 – It causes us to seek the easy decision rather than seeking the right one.
It’s impossible to think clearly when you’re flooded with anxiety. The first thing to do is take time out so you can physically calm down.
Distract yourself from the worry for 15 minutes by walking around the block, making a cup of tea or having a bath.
If you start to get a faster heartbeat or sweating palms, the best thing is not to fight it.
Stay where you are and simply feel the panic without trying to distract yourself. Place the palm of your hand on your stomach and breathe slowly and deeply.
The goal is to help the mind get used to coping with panic, which takes the fear away.
Try this breathing technique for stress.
Avoiding fears only makes them scarier. Whatever your fear, if you face it, it should start to fade. If you panic one day getting into a lift, for example, it’s best to get back into a lift the next day.
Try imagining the worst thing that can happen – perhaps it’s panicking and having a heart attack. Then try to think yourself into having a heart attack. It’s just not possible. The fear will run away the more you chase it.
It sometimes helps to challenge fearful thoughts. For example, if you’re scared of getting trapped in a lift and suffocating, ask yourself if you have ever heard of this happening to someone. Ask yourself what you would say to a friend who had a similar problem.
Life is full of stresses, yet many of us feel that our lives must be perfect. Bad days and setbacks will always happen, and it’s important to remember that life is messy.
Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a place of safety and calm. It could be a picture of you walking on a beautiful beach, or snuggled up in bed with the cat next to you, or a happy memory from childhood. Let the positive feelings soothe you until you feel more relaxed.
Sharing fears takes away a lot of their scariness. If you can’t talk to a partner, friend or family member, call a helpline such as the Samaritans (116 123, open 24 hours a day).
If your fears aren’t going away, you can ask your GP for help. GPs can refer people for counselling, psychotherapy or help through an online mental health service, such as FearFighter.
Lots of people turn to alcohol or drugs to self-treat anxiety, but this will only make matters worse. Simple, everyday things like a good night’s sleep, a wholesome meal and a walk are often the best cures for anxiety.
Finally, give yourself a treat. When you’ve made that call you’ve been dreading, for example, reinforce your success by treating yourself to a massage, a country walk, a meal out, a book, a DVD, or whatever little gift makes you happy.
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.