The Arbitrary Nature Of Fear And Worry

This article is about the arbitrary nature of fear and worry and the way that your subconscious ignores most of your ‘real’ fears in favour of just one, specially for you.

If you suffer from one of the many anxieties that modern life offers read on. From fear of being sick, fear of food poisoning, fear of fainting or going mad,fainting,blushing,needing the loo,having a panic attack,looking nervous,public speaking,being trapped; the list is endless.

Anxiety and fear is based on the idea that something bad is going to happen and that the terrible event is too awful to contemplate, it would be earth shattering and must be avoided at all costs.

Yet, is it not strange that so many different people suffer from so many different fears and anxieties, but each person suffers from just one? Yet all of them are rational, in the sense that they are all possible. Somehow the sufferer of a fear of X is very likely not to have a fear of Y, unless you have a fear of mathematics! Very rarely does someone worry about all the possible things that could happen to them. It is as if one fear is enough. We know that dreaded thing could happen, so we spend a lot of time and energy trying to reduce that possibility of that particular thing happening. Planning, avoidance and dread is the order of the day.

In my work as a therapist helping sufferers of anxiety I often ask them why they do not fear all of the other things that could happen in their life. They often respond with the confident assertion;” Oh I will deal with that if it happens”. In other words they cannot be bothered to worry about it in advance, even though the possible experience would be unpleasant and upsetting. They are too busy worrying about their own personal fear to spend time worrying about all the other ones, however possible or rational.

My point here is that the chosen fear is abitrary. The fear could be any one of a hundred possible ‘worst case scenarios’. Yet the subconscious has settled on just the one, leaving the other 99 to chance, with a happy go lucky shrug of the shoulders. We dismiss the 99.

How could this perspective help those that suffer from anxiety?

Well, it often helps to look to your strengths instead of dwelling on your weaknesses. By concentrating on your ability to shrug off all those 99 fears, you can use this fact to help build your confidence. Because you clearly are coping very well in a world of so many possibilities and have a natural ability in dealing with those 99 fears. OK, so you go weak and wobbly at your own chosen fear but look at how you deal with the 99. Resourcefulness is the opposite of anxiety and by musing on your innate happy go lucky attitude to the majority of terrible things that could happen is a confidence builder.

Try it.

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Existential Anxiety, Self Image and Self Esteem

If you feel you are a complete and whole human being then skip this article.

This article is for those who doubt, who seek perfection, who judge, who struggle to avoid failure at all costs, for those who feel something is missing in them. This is for those who need to justify themselves, who struggle to find proof that they are a complete and good person.

In all your shortcomings, your lack, your inadequacies, your failings, did you know that you are perfect at being a human being? How could you be anything else?

Humour me in my therapy-speak, there might be something in this. These ideas are not new but have their uses.

Indulge me for a moment.

A rock is completely and totally a rock. It does not have to explain itself or prove itself, it can’t help but be wholly and truthfully a rock. This is the same for a flower or a cat, neither need to complete any procedure in order to be fully fledged flowers or cats. Whatever happens to them they are totally and fundamentally true and honest beings. Cats and flowers come in all shapes and sizes but they cannot be anything else but themselves.

Humans have consciences and have minds that strive and create and investigate. We have the ability and awareness to judge ourselves and compare ourselves to others or what we <em>could</em> be or feel we <em>should</em> be. However, conscience is another part of being human along with attributes like Origami, basket weaving or singing (OK, birds sing but you know what I mean).

The mind has the ability to think outside the box, to look in on itself and trash what it sees with self consciousness and self criticism. Like the hoover that sucks itself up into nothingness.

However, whatever we think, we are still being human, everything we do and think is human, it is inescapable. We cannot fail at being human.

You may say (and you will.. I know you) that being human is not enough, that we should strive for being more, that inadequacy and weakness is just not good enough and it is lazy to ‘just be human’ and we have no right to let ourselves off the hook. But this striving, this effort to be more than human is simply another aspect of being human.

A flower, however hard it tries, is always a flower, a dog is no less a dog however many rabbits it chases. A dog can be a bad dog but it’s still a dog.

Why am I saying all this?

Mental health is a big issue and how we think about our self-image, self-esteem and confidence is important for mental well-being. Finding ways to be more comfortable in ourselves, to be more at peace could provide an important step for many sufferers.

It is easy to use our minds destructively, to chip away at our true nature and wholeness. The mind is so active and searching and critical that it has the ability to undermine itself and put doubt and guilt and judgement where there could be innocence and wholeness.

Acceptance and forgiveness, new thinking and imagination are cornerstones of a healthy mind. And good therapy.

This article may fail to interest you but it cannot fail to be human.

Andrew Cunningham is director of <a href=”http://www.findinghelp.co.uk&#8221; target=”_hplink”>Finding Help Ltd</a> and runs the popular anxiety magazine site <a href=”http://www.modern-anxiety.com&#8221; target=”_hplink”>Modern Anxiety</a>

The Fear Of Being Sick Often Underpins Other Fears.

Emetophobia is the fear of being sick. The anxiety that comes with the thought that throwing up would be the worst thing that could happen and must be avoided at all costs. It blights many lives because every activity has to be planned, every meal is thought through and calculated. The mind is consumed with avoiding the disaster of throwing up, even if the event hasn’t happened since childhood!

Other fears such as flying phobia, agoraphobia and eating disorders can often have the fear of being sick at their root. Throwing up seems like the ultimate humiliation and embarrassment, something to be avoided at all costs. Sadly the costs are restricting your life to a miserable degree.

So what’s to do?

Challenging the thoughts and feelings with CBT, learning Mindfulness and getting a decent hypnotherapist in is a good start.

Try this Huffington Post article on the subject.

Or this webpage on my site about the fear

How seeking too much reassurance can weaken you

I hope this brief blog piece on seeking reassurance might be of help to those suffering from worry and fear. 

There is a line that separates useful guidance and support on one hand and a destructive pattern of seeking to much reassurance on the other. When the line is blurred a person can seek more and more reassurance at the expense of building their own sense of strength in themselves, an independent spirit. 

An example of this is Health Anxiety. Getting clarification from the doctor about one’s health can be a life saving journey to the surgery and is an important part of ‘looking after one’s self’. However we can also seek (or feel the need) for diagnosis of every twinge that we get which leads to worry and fear. 

Another example is in relationships with our nearest and dearest. Sharing our concerns and worries with a loved one is one of the most rewarding aspects of human relations. However when it is taken to an extreme it can undermine our sense of self and lead to bitterness and arguments.

So how do we get the balance right? 

One answer is to accept that there is a limit to what another person (or organisation) can do for our peace of mind and that seeking reassurance is not always a healthy thing to do. Bitterness and anger might also be a sign that we are making excessive demands that will eventually undermine us. That is not to say that we should give up our ability to campaign against injustice however. 

Another answer might be to focus on the concept that the dreaded possibility that we are trying to avoid is actually something we can handle. The dreaded thing might be bad and uncomfortable but is something that can be dealt with. Being held to ransom by the thought “I cannot bear it” could haunt a person for years when the reality could be quite different. Most of the things we imagine will happen don’t happen and if they do who is to say how we might actually respond?

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Anxiety and the present moment…a contradiction.

If you are experiencing the present moment through your senses it is likely that you are not feeling anxious.

Anxiety is usually a thought about the future. Or perhaps a thought about the past that we call regret. But what about the present moment? Focus on what you can hear or what you can feel in the body and your mind will quieten down bringing down the anxieties as it quietens.

It is quite difficult to be in the moment and to feel anxious at the same time…try it. Notice that your mind will roam to other times and places but if you here and now you are probably feeling calm. Spooky eh?

The ideas behind mindfulness are quite a blow to traditional therapy which seek to do a lot of thinking about the past. For some it seems, it is the nature of our consciousness that is the issue and the source of our problems and not anything more than that.

How to be in the moment is a learned technique and not as hard as you think (joke).

Hypnotherapy In London For Fear Of Flying

Hypnotherapy for a fear of flying or flying phobia is a popular use of a hypnotherapist.

If you have a flying phobia and are curious if hypnotherapy might help, do get in touch. I work in Harley St in the West End of London.

Try my website by clicking here.

Or watch on Youtube Flying Phobia Cure