By Chris Kok
Did you know that “FEAR” is one of the greatest suffering in our life?
In order to understand this, let us first learn a little more about fear. It is a dark and windy night. There is a constant display of lightning in the sky. You are watching TV alone in the house – suddenly you hear the sound of your back door hitting the door frame. You are startled and in that very moment your heart rate increases, your muscles tense up and your mind is triggered to play out the many possibilities ranging from robbers trying to gain entry into your house to ghosts and spirits. In that moment, you experience fear.
A moment later, you find that it was the wind and there are no robbers or ghosts. So, the possible scenarios in your mind were not real after all but what happened? Why did you experience fear?
Fear is actually a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that causes changes in your body condition, such as a racing heart, increased breathing and tensed muscle that cause the hair on your back to rise. A lot people do not realize that fear is not real, fear is a choice and that fear is the product of the thoughts we create. In the example that we have given earlier, the experience of an increased heart rate and tense muscles were the result of the train of thoughts about the possibility of robbers and ghosts but in actual fact there were no robbers and there were definitely no ghosts!
So what is so bad about having fear? Fear is the source of worry, anxiety, anger, irritation, depression, addiction and many other negative health effects that damage your overall well-being. Understanding the science behind fear will help you further understand how it impacts you.
During moments of fear, your hypothalamus activates two systems; the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal cortical system in your body.
The sympathetic nervous system uses nerve pathways to initiate reactions in the body, and the adrenal-cortical system uses the bloodstream. The combined effects of these two systems are the fight-or-flight response.
The sympathetic nervous system sends out impulses to glands and smooth muscles and tells the adrenal medulla to release epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) into the bloodstream. These “stress hormones” cause several changes in the body, including an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. At the same time, the hypothalamus releases corticotropin- releasing factor (CRF) into the pituitary gland, activating the adrenal-cortical system. The pituitary gland (a major endocrine gland) secretes the hormone ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). ACTH moves through the bloodstream and ultimately arrives at the adrenal cortex, where it activates the release of approximately 30 different hormones that get the body prepared to deal with a threat.
The sudden flood of epinephrine, norepinephrine and dozens of other hormones causes changes in the body that include:
• heart rate and blood pressure increase
• pupils dilate to take in as much light as possible
• veins in skin constrict to send more blood to major muscle groups (responsible for the “chill” sometimes
associated with fear — less blood in the skin to keep it warm)
• blood-glucose level increases
• muscles tense up, energized by adrenaline and glucose (responsible for goose bumps — when tiny
muscles attached to each hair on surface of skin tense up, the hairs are forced upright, pulling skin with
• smooth muscle relaxes in order to allow more oxygen into the lungs
• nonessential systems (like digestion and immune system) shut down to allow more energy for emergency
• trouble focusing on tasks at hand (brain is directed to focus only on big picture in order to determine
where threat is coming from)
Now that you get a better picture of how fear affects our body, let’s examine the type of fears that we commonly experience. Take some time and examine your own daily routine and find out for yourself the number of times that you have any of the following thoughts each day!
agreements and contracts
bills and debt
going back late
losing your job
comparing or being compared
not doing anything
telling the truth
father in law
Remember that “Fear” is not real; “Fear” is a choice.
Act today to stop your suffering and remove all your fears. Fear stops you from achieving your goals and it destroys your life in the long run.
Remove the shackles of fear from your mind and body and live the happy & healthy life you deserve!