I watched a presentation recently – from a doctor who explained how fear kills, he said fear manipulates the brain to send messages to your body that cause the body to self sabotage.
When we fear something we get stressed, and this stress can kill.
Doubt is the usual accomplice to fear, they’re a seductive pair and difficult to pull away from once they get inside your head.
If you don’t think your thoughts and emotions can affect your physical health, you’re wrong.
The mind is more powerful than we give it credit for, if we can master our thoughts in a more healthy way, our bodies will thank us for it.
The human body is pretty savvy
When the mind is afraid of something (real or imagined) the body reacts by shutting down all the functions that would normally keep you healthy and fight disease.
The immune system literally takes a back seat while your body fights to survive the ‘threat’.
The body does this so that all it’s energy and limited resource can be channelled toward the perceived threat – the thing we fear.
However, the body isn’t savvy enough to differentiate between a threat to life and a threat to your feelings – it reacts in the same way, regardless.
Put simply, this doctor used the example of a lion or tiger chasing you – in this case it would make perfect sense for your body to give all it’s resources to avoiding and fighting the threat – which is likely to be a short lived threat, since the lion won’t be chasing you for days, months or years at a time.
This means your body would get straight back to taking care of you and your immune system pretty soon after the incident.
Worries, which in many cases are unfounded, can stay with us for days, months and years at a time, in some cases – a life time.
So for days, weeks, months and years, our worries are hindering our immune systems, making us much more susceptible to illness and ill equipped to fight it.
It sounds crazy when you think about it like this.
Our bodies are simply following strict biological orders
Our bodies don’t differentiate between a lion and a deep insecurity about whether we’ll succeed or fail at that new business venture, or whether our friends will still like us if we stop trying to ‘keep up with the Jones’.
The body simply reacts to the fear in the same way as if it was a life and death situation.
That’s pretty intense.
We all know that stress and illness are linked – we hear about it enough in the media to the point where it’s become a bit of a cliche, and it’s clear that a lot of us have become complacent about this aspect of our health.
It’s so important that we look after ourselves, identify when we’re feeling anxious and address it head on before it overwhelms our thoughts and behaviours.
Part of the ‘self care’ movement is about making time for ourselves, keeping the scales in life balanced and feeding our minds with thoughts, feelings and experiences that nourish us and help us to develop our weak areas, stretch our talents and create enjoyable experiences to cherish and look forward to again and again.
Down time is important, time to take ourselves away and relax or immerse ourselves in new interests – to give the mind breathing space to start putting ‘things’ (life) into perspective.
Get a grip on your fears and reduce stress before it gets a grip on you
Don’t let stress get the better you.
Workplace stress seems to be on the up these days – if it means a new career or relocation, fresh start, giving up some of the luxuries we have or the energy sucking people in our lives – then maybe thats a better deal than sacrificing our health and wellbeing.
Stress in teens is reported to be on the rise, particularly in relation to accessing social media via smart-phones.
Last year the number of hospital admissions in the UK for stress and anxiety was the highest it had been in the last ten years, a worrying picture.
If worries are linked to something we can change then we need to start doing something about it, trying to change it – with positive moves forward on our minds, rather than doom and gloom.
I know this is easy to say, and there will be some situations where this type of wishy washy advice will feel absolutely impossible to embrace; we are emotional creatures after all, but we can try….
Start putting yourself first, learn to recognise your own stress signals and act on them, otherwise you could end up being no use to anyone and that would be a waste of ‘you’.