xxxxiii) Need to understand the fear cycle (first and second fear)

People can become fearful of change and this is linked with a fear of the unknown or uncertain future.

"...of all the varieties of fear, the fear of the unknown is the greatest..."
Grafton Elliott Smith as quoted by Judith Hoare, 2020

In resistance we talk about fight, flight or freeze responses. However, fear is a more powerful emotional response.

Fear and anxiety are linked; it goes beyond worry, shame, guilt, etc.

Fear can result in a response entirely beyond our conscious control.
"...It is an automatic response to a threat as your body follows its evolutionary survival instincts. And it is quite different from the conscious awareness of fear that follows a threatening event...."
Judith Hoare, 2020

There are 2 types of responses

i) defensive responses to fear (like seeing a snake) (sometimes called first fear)

ii) subjective feeling of fear (reaction to some unexpected mishap) (sometimes called second fear)

"...these two quite distinct states involved different neural circuitry, the first engaging the amygdala, and the second cortical circuits..."
Judith Hoare, 2020

It is important to understand them to help break the fear cycle, ie fear-adrenaline-fear cycle. This starts with the acceptance of the defensive response to fear or first fear.

One of the ways of handling fear is vigilance. Like with the pandemic starting in 2020, we need to be vigilant about social distancing which goes against our natural instinct of social contact. This pandemic has created a wave of fear and anxiety.

"...Hypervigilance is learnt......the anxious are always hostage, but even the sanguine are in its grip, especially those on the medical front line or anyone whose public service forbids self-isolation, a broad category including shop assistants, bus drivers, emergency workers, tradespeople, couriers and carriers..."
Judith Hoare, 2020

NB Unrelieved fear can lead to trauma.

A sequence to handle fear has been developed by Dr Claire Weekes; the 6  word therapy is
"... Face, accept, float, let time pass.."
Judith Hoare, 2020

The lesson is
"...Don't fight fear. Accept it. Let it burn as savagely as it will. Float past it. Fighting fed a vicious cycle..."
Judith Hoare, 2020

By not fighting fear you, redesign the nervous system
"...Weekes was the first to educate the public about the destructive power of fear and its bewildering arsenal. She taught people to cure themselves by explaining the mind-body connection..."
Judith Hoare, 2020

NB What cannot be cured will endure!!

As change can result in anxiety and even fear in some people, there is a need to understand more about fear, especially fear of fear. This feeds anxiety: "...much anxiety and all nervous illness is caused by people becoming frightened of themselves, frightened of the state they are in. That fear starts a vicious feedback loop between the mind and the body. We get stuck in a fear cycle..."

Judith Hoare as quoted by Jill Margo 2019a

" are in a state because you are frightened of yourself, frightened of the dreadful feeling of fear, frightened of your own symptoms, mentally and physically which seemed to have consumed you......the fear might have started from a genuine problem...... only when people become afraid of the symptoms of fear - a fear of the fear -......they were nervously ill..."

Claire Weekes as quoted by Jill Margo 2019a

"...when people perceive the threat, such as a snake or tiger, the body instinctively prepares for fight, flight or freeze. This is first fear and its primal. But when somebody who is run down with illness or worry experiences this......that triggers greater alarm or second fear..."

Jill Margo 2019

"...distressed people, who think they are getting worse than they are, start to worry about their symptoms. They add fear to fear which creates a cycle they're unable to break..."

Judith Hoare as quoted by Jill Margo 2019a

The best way of handling this is yielding to the fear, ie balancing the two biological systems: the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

...The sympathetic system stimulates the body fight-flight-freeze response by increasing the heart rate and breathing, constricting vessels and shutting down digestion. In contrast, the parasympathetic system calms the body by stimulating it to feed and breed and rest..."

Jill Margo 2019a

By yielding, this is helping calm the body down. It involves a simple mantra: face, accept, float, let time pass, ie

"...Face means don't run away, accept means to own it, float means don't fight it, and letting time pass, give the body the time to get the message..."

Jill Margo 2019a

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