Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at phobias what they are and how we can start to change how we respond to them. We have looked at how we have created a whole list of things that we have been avoiding and how we have shaped our lives to negatively support our fears. Now we need to look at what we do when we approach the things that scare us and how we can change how we respond by changing how we feel, and how we think. Our mind is like a massive computer, with so many alerts on it to remember this and not do this, to think this way, live this way and feel this way. Who we are, is a sum total of the life we have had and how this has shaped us into being the person we are today. This is not a static thing we don’t have to feel that after being moulded into who we are that we have gone into the kiln and have been set this way forever. Of course, if this is how we want to be, then yes, we can stay this way if we choose to, but we live in such a fast-moving time what we did 20 years ago in many situations is not the same as we are doing now. This isn’t normal for our minds as our minds over the millions of years we have lived on the planet have mainly kept doing the same thing.
Darwin who spent his life studying evolution theorised that change in our species is something that takes thousands of years not just a few. This is one of the things that has made us the most overpopulated species on the planet is our primaeval mind and how it strives for the survival of the fittest and how we learn to keep doing the things which keep us alive. If we had to always learn how to do something each time we did it, we would never do anything, learning to walk, talk, think and feel in many different situations is massive. These habits are just the tip of the iceberg and if we took the time to look at this, we are more than likely to be finding hundreds and thousands of habits. Some of these are big like walking and some are just small things like when we hear the doorbell ring we know to go and see who is there. All of these habits are what keep us in the same mould, we just keep following the signals and messages our minds, body and nervous system send out to us. This is great for lots and lots of things but if we want to change how we are responding to a phobic situation so we can let these phobias go, we need to understand that we can’t just keep following the same messages as it will just lead us to the same outcome.
All of us spend time listening to our thoughts, feelings and how are body is reacting to things and this leads us to feel and perceive things in certain ways. To change this we have to start not listening and then adding to those messages and signals with our worrying thoughts so that we have the ability to create new ones. With a phobia, the most important ones we need to change are the pre thoughts as these are the ones that impact our responses the most. Many times, we are doing this without even thinking about it and it has become one of the thousands of thinking habits we listen to. A good thing to do is to try and observe what we are thinking and feeling on the build-up to doing something that scares us. This needs to be something we do consciously as this is not a natural thing for us to do, so it’s good to set an alert before being in a phobia situation and start to look at the thoughts your mind is sending. This won’t work for every phobia as some of them we can’t plan but for those, we plan to do like, driving, blood tests, heights etc it’s easy to do this. For the other ones like illness, snakes and sick phobias we need to do this more by imagination than reality as these types of phobias can’t be planned, they just happen. For the snake and sick phobia, we could look online for videos to help us hear the messages our mind sends and even just to consider how it feels at the thought of just doing this exercise. All of these messages that you will start hearing are the ones your mind have put in place over these things and these are the signals we are reacting to and living by. Once we start to recognise them for just being signals and not what we actually think consciously then this is our first step in starting to switch them off.
Keep reminding yourself in these exercises that these thought and signals are not you, they don’t define who you are and how you consciously feel. Most of them are not even true, real or rational they are just habits, pure and simple and they are definitely not you. You are not your thoughts are just the habits we have formed and the left-over things are mind keeps playing in our minds. Also, remember that in these moments you’re not even in the situation you’re just thinking about doing it or preparing to do it so it can’t be real it’s just in your imagination. This is just your mind telling you that same old story that it has told you time and time again, it may bring feeling and physical reactions but again just keep yourself clear over this it’s not real, as it is not happening, as you’re not there. The more we work on staying in the moment the easier this will be, so when you doing these exercises or prepare to face something you fear, take the time to look around and remember where you are.
Over the next few blogs, we will look at this in more detail and help you continue to change, leaving what you no longer need in the past.
Thanks for dropping by, Sara x