We have been looking at our inner melting pot of emotions over the last few blogs and how when we get anxious about things we can all react in our own unique way. The thing is if we are reacting in a certain way and we don’t recognise where this is truly coming from, then it is harder for us to change these responses. Understanding our minds at times can be super complicated and I often say to my clients your mind is like a very slippery snake. You feel you have got it in your grip and then it can just slip away from you. This is because our mind works on a deep defensive level, always trying to protect us from what it feels are life or death things. This was amazing 500 years ago, as most things back then and beyond that time were dangerous and we needed this defensive part of our minds to keep us safe, to stop us from getting complacent and in turn getting hurt. But now for many of us in England, what do we have to be afraid of? I am sure most of us have paused and thought, and then thought again, and realised that, we are living in an extremely safe world with nothing really to be afraid of. This is amazing that we can live our lives this way but our inner minds do need to catch up and reset themselves to this safer life that many of us are now living.
If we have triggered an anxiety response, we have gone down many different emotional responses and one of them is being scared. For many years it has been termed that being called yellow – or yellow-bellied – means we are cowardly and afraid to do lots of things. When we get anxious then one of the main responses is fear and for some of us, it can trigger excess amounts of this. When this happens, we can become afraid, not only of the things that are triggering the fear, but often we become fearful about lots of things. This can make us, as they say, “a cat on hot bricks”, this is when we are nervous and jumpy at anything and everything around us. Being afraid is a horrible feeling and understandably this is something we don’t ever want to feel, so we often just start following those patterns of avoidance. This is a slippery slope, as the more we avoid, the more afraid we become and then in turn the more we need to avoid.
For some people, this can seemingly sneak up on us as we are not always fully acknowledging why we are responding in these ways, and we can easily make excuses for things – we don’t want to drive all that way as we are too tired, going out in that busy situation isn’t for us today, we can’t ask that person out, what if they say no. These are just a few of the millions of excuses we can make for ourselves over things we have started to become afraid of, and inadvertently doing this will be escalating that inner fear. If we make an excuse from time to time then that, of course, is completely fine but if we are doing this in lots of situations then we will be triggering a massive internal fear response. It can feel like a bit of a chicken and egg situation that we fall into. Are we afraid of doing this or are we just afraid because we have been avoiding doing this? Understanding where the fear is coming from at times like this will be very hard to feel, which is right, but I do know that if we start to face those situations and work to reduce those fears, then we will start to feel better. Also, we have to understand that we have to change that belief system back to being a non-fearful person and this can be something some of us struggle with.
If we are struggling to let go of our fears then we are often fuelling them with irrational thoughts over the situation, and we are then resending the fear back into our minds. Say for example you have become fearful of travelling and have avoided leaving your home, then as you move out of these fears you get stuck on certain aspects of travel. Maybe you can’t get on a plane, this could be for the fact that you get stuck thinking planes are deadly and dangerous. The thing is everything could be deadly and dangerous, we could choke on a grape, or fall over a curb and smash our heads open, or not hear a car coming and walk out in front of it. The thing is, nothing is fool proof, and we can’t categorically say that we will be safe and will survive the day. But we can’t not do things because of this either, as we don’t know what’s coming, and living in this fear state is just limiting our lives. With flying, we get stuck on those fears that the plane will crash, and yes it could, but all those other things happen and that doesn’t stop us from walking down the road, moving around, or even eating grapes. What we have is an irrational fear response which we just keep fuelling with our thoughts. Once we know this, we have to work to switch this off, and that is what we can do by working to desensitise our fear responses, by doing more, or coming to see someone like myself.
Maybe it is time for you to look at the things you are avoiding and find ways to expand away from this, by slowly doing more things and helping your inner mind out of that emotional melting pot of fear, turning it into a new more balanced colour scheme. Have a lovely day. Sara x