Updated: Apr 5, 2020
"Knowlege is not enough. We must apply. Willing is not enough. We must do."
Fear is a very real emotion that should not be taken lightly. Just as a check engine light coming on indicates an issue with a car, so too does the feeling of being afraid indicate an underlying matter that needs attention. So then, what is fear? Fear is the perceived realization of loss. Loss of what? Loss of attachment. Now this attachment can be to anything: people’s approval, a relationship, health, wealth, comfort, life, etc. Anything and everything can be considered valuable. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say. Can an individual flourish if he or she lives in a state of fear? No. Fear has the ability to paralyze, create pessimism, and destroy lives. One must learn how to manage that perception by controlling what he or she considers worthwhile. Only through this choice can an individual be truly free physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Fear is a negative attribute. However, there are times where being afraid is appropriate, such as a fight or flight scenario. The fight or flight response is a reaction to a threat by the sympathetic nervous system. These various physiological reactions allow an animal to become a supercharged version of itself, requiring extreme muscular effort. Fight or Flight can save one’s life.
Generally speaking though, fear is not birthed from a true fight or flight situation, but rather a created circumstance within a person’s mind. This frightening possibility is a projection which has not occurred. The projection is the anticipation of loss in the future. Why is losing something negative? Value has been placed on the particular thing, feeling, or state which makes it cherished. To lose something or someone that is cherished can be devastating. Fear is a reaction to the thought of devastation. In fact, all feelings are a reaction to a thought. If one can control the reaction to the thought, one can control the feeling. One must see through the fog of his or her own mind to find the truth.
Fear ruins an individual in three ways: paralysis, creation of pessimism, and destruction of life. Firstly, to be paralyzed is to be unable to move, choose, or act. When one is afraid, he or she is unable to see past the thing that the individual is concentrating on. Focusing on the power of the problem will keep one from taking a good course of action due to fear of losing what he or she is attached to. Secondly, fear will make one pessimistic. How so? To dwell only on the problem and not the solution, is to be hopeless. To be truly pessimistic is to not see the light at the end of the tunnel. Finally, living in terror can ruin one’s life and the connections to him or her. Anxiety stems from thoughts that are chewed upon over and over again. To live in a state of panic will lead down a slippery slope of pain. Furthermore, dwelling on one’s own agonizing thoughts is to be poisoned from the inside out.
What is the solution? There are 3 ways to overcome fear which are found in the physical, mental, and spiritual:
1. To fight fear in the physical realm, one must get out of his or her comfort zone and do something he or she has never done before. The mind-body connection is extremely strong and worth exploring. For example, if a person can win in the gym by achieving a new personal record of some sort, that person can apply the same principles of success to life outside the gym. The key is stepping into the fear of the unknown and the risk, not running away. One can not be afraid to fail. In fact, failure is seen as an indication of strong effort. That effort can be built upon for future triumphs. Physical adaptations of improvement only happen when the stress is great enough to force the body to get better. Also, exercise releases endorphins that give one positive feelings. The positive feelings can lead to making quality choices and a healthy sense of self-esteem.
2. Likewise, the mental strategy to combat fear lies in training of the mind. One must reprogram what is seen as valuable. The mind is a muscle that can be trained. One must create incentive to stay motivated to improve in the tough times. This creation of incentive is within one’s own thought life. Discomfort can be transformed into a desirable state because one knows that strength of all forms only comes from enduring pain. An individual can make pain work for him or her in a positive way, while still acknowledging the feeling. One has to control the things that are controllable. Controlling what one deems valuable is the key to mental strength. One has to change his or her perception. Limiting negative influences from the media (tv, music, internet, movies, social media) and negative relationships is beneficial as well. Guarding one’s thought life is imperative in the battle against fear. Furthermore, self-talk is an excellent psychological tool where one audibly speaks to his or her own mind. Self-talk helps program the subconscious mind to achieve the desired state.
3. Finally, spiritual power only comes from being anchored in God. Jesus slept during a storm on the water because he had peace from trusting in God. The Bible says, “God has not given you a spirit of fear”, “Be strong and courageous”, “Be anxious for nothing”, "Store for yourself treasure in Heaven”, and “Whoever shall say unto that mountain, ‘Be thou removed and cast into the sea’ and does not doubt in his heart, he shall have whatsoever he saith”. The story of Peter is an excellent example of fear management. When Peter stayed focused on Jesus, he accomplished a miracle. When Peter concentrated on his problems, he drowned. Another great example is the apostle Paul praising and praying to God in the midst of imprisonment. One can speak words of gratitude to God during crisis as well as pray. Prayer is simply talking to God. The individual praying should let God know his or her concerns as well as victories. Likewise, the Bible says, “He who waters shall be watered”. Anyone can learn to concentrate on helping others rather than one‘s problems. In addidtion to that, a person can memorize Bible scripture to contemplate and meditate on. Letting one’s life be rooted in God will complete the process of victory over fear.
As anybody can see, fear is no small enemy. Fear can paralyze, create pessimism and destroy lives. However, one should take the time and make the effort to combat fear in 3 ways:
1. PHYSICAL: by challenging oneself through exercise and achieving new levels
2. MENTAL: by reprogramming the mind to perceive discomfort potentially as positive. Also, guarding what enters the mind and thought life is necessary
3. SPIRITUAL: by rooting one’s life in God/ by focusing on Him instead of problems/ and helping others selflessly
Doing these things will allow all people to live in the correct manner.