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HOW AND WHY NOT TO BE SCARED

Nature has provided us with a sense of fear to be able to cope with the impending danger. Although fear is undoubtedly a useful emotion that has in many cases helped humanity to survive, nowadays it represents one of the main problems of self-development. How can we or our children deal with fear? Can it be prevented? Jan Mühlfeit and Katka Novotná are speaking out about fear slightly differently.

Chemistry of fear

The chemical processes in our head are still the same as a million years ago. In stress situations, hormones are being excreted which increases the overall availability of the organism. Especially the adrenaline, i.e. the stress hormone, and cortisol, which prepares us, for example, for fighting or escape. Human priority is survival, with which hormones help us, but at the expense of that, our immunity is weakened. People exposed to stress or fear for a long time are therefore often more susceptible to diseases.
In addition to internal chemical processes, stress also manifests itself on the external physical side. Part of the nervous system that supports stress is activated and prepares us for impending danger. Accelerated breathing often occurs during this reaction. Stress blocking the diaphragm cause that we are not able to breathe deeply and breathe just shallowly. Another sign is the increase in resting heart rate and the draining of blood from the brain to the limbs, so one is not capable of rational thinking. Although the processes that take place in our bodies during stressful situations have hardly changed in the last few millennia, the number of times we are exposed to stress has increased many times. Previously, people faced danger several times a month, and the felt fear was real. Today, in most cases, the fear is artificial, and our ego has taken over the defence mechanism, which is nothing but a ball of our fears. The success and the positive reality we experience are basically invisible for the amygdala (i.e. a component of the emotional part of the brain), in the case of negative sensations, the amygdala behaves like a zipper and sticks everything up.

Artificially created fears

When we are born, we do not know many forms of fear. Over time, however, fear begins to artificially develop in many forms through various influences. It is not the fear of survival, but rather the fears of our ego. Its forms are very different, for example, children are afraid of failure or “what if I get a bad evaluation?”, adults are afraid of a lack of financial security or of the judgment of others.
These fears are often transmitted from parent to child. So, we need to be careful not to pass on our own fears that we carry with us (even from our childhood). Although parents easily get the impression that they can protect their child in the best way, because they already have some experience and want their children to avoid making mistakes, it is rather counterproductive, because they are making up children’s fear artificially.
Nowadays, the fears of this artificial form prevail in society. We experience them on a daily basis. By not being able to discharge them by “fight” or by escape, stress is somatised into our body, which then manifests itself by various bodily deficiencies and diseases. Indeed, doctors tend to believe that 90% of our diseases are caused by stress.

Anti-stress strategy

There are various techniques to prevent fear or stress. One of the brains characteristics is the so-called neuroplasticity, which allows the brain to respond to various changing external sensations, but also to ways of thinking. The negative programs we have learned from childhood can be overwritten by new programs.
Fear can be easily illustrated on the timeline – past, present moment, future. The feeling of fear stems from something that has already happened (past) or from something that is yet to happen (the future). If we learn to be here and now in the present moment, fear cannot paralyze us. Try taking a deep breath and exhale. Were you worried about something? There was not even room for that. From this knowledge comes the strategy of how one can deal with fear.

Do not be afraid of making mistakes

Unfortunately, amygdala tends to stigmatize our mistakes. However, a mistake is a part of the performance as well as the result. To make our talent a strength, we need to put some effort into it. This investment can take various forms, such as acquiring certain knowledge, practice and skills. However, this process cannot be avoided by making mistakes. That enables us to learn how to do it differently and better next time. Therefore, it is necessary to learn not to be afraid of making a mistake.
“We can only lose if we give up. Everything else is a bridge to better results in the future. Whether it is good or bad, it is necessary to learn, to return to the present moment and to continue working,” says Jan Mühlfeit.
If we are in a well-managed situation, the amygdala “sleeps”. In the case of a negative experience, e.g. when we cannot calculate mathematical example, the amygdala “awakens” and begins to urge us. If it does not find a solution in our subconscious, then it alarms and makes the problem bigger than it really is. One is convinced that if they do not calculate this example, they do not count anything, let themself be carried away emotionally. In such moments, it is possible to exercise mental resilience, which consists of three components: body, breath and mind. To be able to use it properly and effectively, it is necessary to train it from childhood.

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Jan Mühlfeit

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