Halloween is one time of year when some people look for a thrill from a haunted house or scary movie, with spine-tingling situations that trigger the brain’s fight-or-flight response. There are people who enjoy the rush of fear, while others may cower at the mention of a roller-coaster! In our everyday lives it is helpful to understand how to recognize, process and move through fear.
Physical and mental dangers both create similar fear responses. The presence of a hungry zombie is a physical threat that causes fear and the urge to run away. Other undesirable scenarios such as financial troubles, or possible exposure to a virus can cause psychological distress that can make us freeze up or involuntarily react.
Understanding this primitive survival mechanism and our body’s stress response to it can help us recognize what we are feeling, acknowledge the emotion and face our fears by thinking before reacting.
COPING WITH FEAR
- Recognize what fear feels like. Increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure and sometimes a painful pit in the stomach.
- Acknowledge that a fear response has been triggered. This allows you to take the time to pause until you can enter a calmer state with a clearer head.
- Think and make choices based on what you feel is right for you today, rather than what you fear of losing in the future.