“Fear is not real.
It is a product of thoughts you create.
Do not misunderstand me:
Danger is very real, but fear is a choice.”
“Fear and excitement are chemically the same.” ~ Catherine Hanrahan
“As soon as you feel fear, the amygdala (a small almond-shaped organ in the center of your brain) sends signals to your autonomic nervous system (ANS), which then has a wide range of effects. The ANS kicks in, and suddenly, your heart rate increases, your blood pressure goes up, your breathing gets quicker, and stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released. The blood flows away from the heart and out towards the extremities, preparing the arms and legs for action.”1
Think of a time when excitement coursed through your body. The physiological response is nearly identical. So much so that the body itself cannot tell the difference between fear and excitement. The brain is simply reacting to the sudden rush of neurotransmitters.
As humans, we do have access to higher faculties. While we can’t control the body’s bio-chemical reactions, we can control our interpretation… Fear or excitement?
In the clip from After Earth, Will Smith‘s character points out, “Danger is very real,” making a distinction between danger and fear. Fear is a survival instinct, although in today’s world–where we are not at risk of being eaten by saber-toothed tigers–fear often acts as a block that keeps us paralyzed and holds us back.
As Amelia Earhart stated, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do.”
Fear is a block. Excitement inspires creation. How will you choose to interpret the events in your life?
1. John A. Call, PhD http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/crisis-center/200807/the-anatomy-fear