What is Fear?
Fear is an instinctual physiological response to danger. Fear is a gift. Back in the caveman days, it was fear that alerted you to danger and gave you the strength and speed you needed to deal with predators like the saber tooth tiger.
What Happens to Your Body When You’re Afraid?
When you feel fear, your body has a strong physiological reaction. Your adrenal glands pump out cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Your digestion slows, your muscles tense, and your heart begins to race. Your pupils dilate and you may sweat profusely.
If you feel this fear in response to an imminent danger such as an attempted robbery or a house fire, these feelings could give you enough energy and strength to save your life.
However, when fear becomes chronic, it can take over your life and become debilitating. Fear of the future is called anxiety and irrational fears of people, places, situations or objects are called phobias.
How to Overcome Fear
Overcoming fear can be difficult as it can get stuck in a cycle that perpetuates itself. When your heart races or your mouth dries out, it’s harder to control that feeling and keep it from progressing to a full-blown panic attack.
To overcome fear, it’s important to know what’s causing it. Once you really get to the bottom of what’s causing your terrible anxiety, it has less power over you. The next time you feel afraid, really think about what thought, sound, smell, etc. caused your body to react.
Each time you feel afraid, take a deep breath. It may sound cliché but it works. One trick I give my clients is “5 breathing”. Take a deep breath in through your nose and count to five while breathing in. Hold the breath for a count of five. Release the breath out through your mouth and count to five. Do this five times. This distracts your brain and refocuses it on something else.
Speaking of distractions, when you feel an anxiety attack coming on, distract yourself. Put a hard candy in your mouth, notice a tree or rock off in the distance, touch the buttons on your jacket and concentrate on its shape and texture. Distracting yourself from a panic attack is a tried-and-true method.
When it comes to phobias, the only way to get over them is to face them in a process called immersion therapy. For severe phobias, this should be done with the support of a qualified therapist. Immersion therapy desensitized and rewires your brain to have a different response to what was once a fear-inducing stimulus.
Another method of overcoming fear is playing “worst case scenario”. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down your fear then write out what you think might happen. Sometimes, when you see your fear on paper, it becomes much easier to manage.
Manage Anxiety Naturally
Sometimes anxiety is a symptom of vitamin deficiencies. Vitamin D3 deficiency and magnesium deficiency are the most common nutrient deficiencies and can cause the patient to exhibit signs of anxiety disorder.
Adding a chelated magnesium supplement to your diet can improve your neurological health, ease feelings of anxiety, and help you sleep better at night. A high-potency vitamin D3 supplement can also help balance your mental state. For my patients, I recommend 2,000 I.U. 5,000 I.U. per day but it’s important to get a blood test.
Don’t let fear ruin your life. Overcoming fear means you’re in control. Sometimes all it takes is retraining your brain and getting on the right whole-food supplements. The rest will take care of itself!