What is the fear
Fear is a basic emotion that acts as an alarm that warns of danger situations to generate a response to neutralise the threat. There are so many fears that paralize us. Here's how to deal with it successfully.
KNOW YOURSELF16 May 2018
It is due to this system that human beings can anticipate danger situations, and that we have managed to survive and adapt to the environment in which we live, facing up to the threats that stalk us through the fight or flight mechanism.
If a risk of accident is sensed while crossing thestreet, the organism puts everything in motion to prevent this from happening. At the cognitive level, it is decided whether it is more effective to finish crossing or return to the starting point. Physiologically, the sympathetic nervous system starts functioning at a higher level for maximum performance and greater motor powers to run or jump to a safe place are made available.
This is how we are able to face and resolve the threatening situations that we live through every day. But there are times when fear loses this adaptive value and produces the opposite response, paralysis and blockage. Paradoxically, what it does is prevent the dangerous stimulus from being confronted.
This occurs when the sudden physiological activation of the organism is very intense and the interpretation following from this can then be catastrophic.
The heart suddenly begins to beats fast, we begin sweating, it’s hard to breathe and a feeling of dizziness and instability occurs. Faced with this situation, it is easy to focus all attention on fear, which can bring about a spiral leading towards a panic.
Not everyone is equally likely to suffer from these intense and unexpected anxiety reactions. The factors that influence it are many and it is important to maintain a proactive attitude to prevent them. Itis important to take care with the adaptive value of fear.
Having a carelessly high-stress lifestyle increases the likeli hood of stimulating automatic cognitive danger responses. These responses can bring about a higher vulnerability to anxiety disorders.
Worry is useful when it can be made into an actionplan, so worrying about things that are unlikely and about the uncontrollable or uncertain, is not only ineffective, but can generate undesirable side effects.
10 ideas to face fear successfully
- Recognise and accept what causes fear, without denying or justifying it.
- Face fear, do not try to cancel it out.
- Rationalise fear, and do not feed destructive thoughts.
- Start by facing less intense fears.
- Take small progressive steps to reach the finalgoal.
- Do not avoid situations/objects that cause fear.
- Find workable models, observe how other people face their fears.
- Focus on solutions, don't only think about the potential threats.
- Visualise the process that will lead to confronting the feared situation/object, and admit to yourself that the process involves difficulties.
- Seek the help of a professional if you can not manage this on your own.
How to handle a panic attack
1. Identify the symptoms: realise that what is happening in the body are the symptoms of high intensity anxiety
2. Control hyperventilation: breath slowly and deeply, paying special attention to exhalation.
3. Situate yourself in a comfortable place: while the physiological sensations disappear, sit down and wait for the intensity to reduce.
4. Useself-instructions: mentally repeat phrases that help confront the situation,for example, "It's just my body feeling anxious, nothing worse is going tohappen."
5. Find distractions: these can help you not to continue following destructive thought patterns.
6. Being aroundother people: receiving support from another person can reduce the intensity ofthe situation.
7. Do not fightpanic: let it pass, knowing that these episodes usually have an approximateduration of ten minutes.