One of the four key emotions is fear, a word which covers everything from slightly concerned to absolute terror. Fear can be the hallmark of someone’s life. Scared to say what we really think, scared to be seen, scared to go out, scared to take risks, even small ones, to apply for a new job, ask for a raise, speak in public and so on. Fear can permeate a person’s world and create unwelcome behaviours which limit how life is lived.
In many cases, fear is a useful and appropriate response to something which is happening or may very well happen. Fear triggers our bodies into alert/alarm status. We become ready to flee or fight, which is our primitive early brain taking over and putting us into survival mode.
Relationship between fear & anxiety
Quite often fear manifests as anxiety, a particular kind of fear. Anxiety can often relate to an unknown source of fear, a sense of dread or irrational fear based on nothing in particular or upon what are, on the surface, quite simple things to deal with. But for the anxiety sufferer, the physical response can be extreme and sometimes overwhelming. Panic can be seen as the more extreme end of the anxiety spectrum, with the person losing control accompanied by rapid breathing and elevated heart rate and sometimes incapacitation.
Understanding & coping with anxiety
Working with anxiety and panic is firstly about working with our bodies and learning how to bring our physical responses under control, using techniques such as mindfulness and meditation and certain distraction techniques. With our physical symptoms under our control then work focuses on what is the cause of the anxiety or the panic; learning how to cope with difficult thoughts or runaway ideas which catastrophise small things into major events in our imaginations. Learning how to see and understand things in perspective.