Primitive man needed the fear reaction to survive. When a threat presented itself, the brain would react with one of three responses; fight, flight or freeze. The fear response begins in the region of the brain called the amygdala, which is located in the temporal lobe, and passes to the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex which are responsible for ascertaining the degree of threat. Other physical changes that happen in the body, include sweating, dilation of pupils, increased respiration and heart rate, and raised blood pressure.
These days we are not exposed to such immediate threats, and do not have sabre toothed tigers jumping out at us unexpectedly, however our brains still respond to fear in the programmed way. Life today brings different kinds of fears, the most recent one being the COVID19 scare. Many people are terrified of catching the virus and spend time worrying about what might happen if they or their loved ones contracted it. This can lead to hyper-vigilance, obsession with the news and media, overthinking, fear of others, and phobic or obsessive thought patterns that cause increasing levels of anxiety.
The detrimental effects on our physical and psychological systems from such behaviours is huge. Research shows that chronic fear can result in:
- Immune system disorders
- Sleep issues
- Eating disorders
- Unstable moods
- Anxiety and anxiety related disorders
- Unhelpful behaviours
- Negative thought patterns
- Cardiac problems
Now, more than ever, it is vital that we learn to manage our minds, to relax and connect with ourselves, to facilitate an ability to cope with life and to keep ourselves mentally well. Spending just 10 minutes a day sitting quietly, meditating or listening to a hypnosis audio can help significantly.
Why not give yourself a break and try this short relaxation.
Wishing you well,