Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to offer some light and positivity amidst the news of doom and gloom as well as reveal why “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

First a quick update:

Tonight —“Secrets to Overcoming Fear and Stress” — Live training:
A rare opportunity to see and hear me speak live at no charge. I will be revealing the secrets to overcoming fear and stress to maintain daily mental and emotional health for BP Media + Partners and Flow Lifestyles at 500 Brickell Miami FL tonight Wednesday March 11 at 7:30 PM. Register here

Now, let’s talk about overcoming fear and readjusting our mindset.

I am almost sure that you, like so many others, are probably tired of hearing the doom and gloom of everyday news and so I want to offer you something empowering. I teach that it is not what happens to us but how we choose to respond to what happens to us that not only makes the difference, but determines our results and even our physical, mental and emotional health.

In scientific studies of the human stress response, it has been revealed that the adrenal cortex releases Cortisol which helps the body with increased blood flow, glucose availability and increased behavioral responses. Cortisol is vital in the immediate face of a stressor, but long term effects of stress and elevated Cortisol levels lead to damage to muscle tissue, increased blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, abdominal fat, and a weakened immune system -making us more vulnerable to infection and cancer.

One of the most intriguing and revealing findings of recent studies is the fact that Cortisol is only released when the stressor is perceived as overwhelming or results in “submissive behaviors” which can also be likened to the concept or feeling of being beaten down. In contrast, when the stressor is perceived as arousing or challenging, the body does not release Cortisol. Thus, again, what ultimately matters is the way we perceive life’s challenges.

It is clear that fear, uncertainty and doubt are things that challenge us today.

Interestingly, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt 76 years ago, On March 4, 1933, during his inaugural address, uttered the famous words:

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

This speech and this call to action were given during The Great Depression: Thousands of stockholders lost vast sums of money; Bank, business, and factory closures left millions of Americans facing unemployment and poverty (one in four Americans was jobless); Men fought with each other for morsels of food found in city dumps; People jumped out of buildings to their death after losing their savings; Many people were forced to seek charity for food and shelter; children were sent away to conservation camps because their parents couldn’t afford to look after them and other children wore shoes with cardboard-plugged holes and dresses and bloomers made from flour sacks.

President Roosevelt was telling the people seventy-six years ago something that still applies today: if we can’t shake our pessimistic economic outlook, our fear, then it will be really tough to turn things around.

But President Roosevelt said something even more powerful: fear debilitates; it paralyzes at a time when instead of retreating we need to advance, take action -move forward. He was saying that it is fear that kills, that destroys us and our lives. And just as illustrated by the scientific studies, the way we choose to perceive each stressor – as a challenge or as a threat will determine the effect on our body, our health and overall enjoyment of life; it will also determine our recovery.  Roosevelt’s speech also included admonitions to rethink our values and to look beyond material gain and monetary reward: “Happiness…lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” In fact, his speech is quite eerie because it sounds as if he is speaking to us today. You can read the entire text of his speech here.

President Roosevelt also called for action, “action now”; and it is action that is one of the antidotes to fear.

But the most powerful antidote to fear is purposeful and meaningful action: one of them is focusing on contributing to others, helping out whenever possible. For example, when we are forced to act to save someone else’s life, our fear dissipates and we find an inner strength that is almost inexplicable. In 2007, a 65-year-old Californian woman overcame her own fear as her 70 year old husband was being attacked by a mountain lion when she saved him by fighting off the attacking lion with a small log and his pen. Nell Hamm had to reach into her husband’s pocket to get the pen while the lion was attacking him.

It is fear that prevents us from finding a way out of any situation or challenge. Fear in the face of a physical threat causes us to fight or run to protect ourselves. But mental and emotional fear creates the same stress response in our body but with no solution and nowhere to run and nothing to fight. As explained above, the shift in our mental perception from fear and submission to stimulation and challenge not only prevents the dangerous effects of stress, it empowers us to act with purpose, allowing us to be clear in our cognitive processes to find the solution. Once fear overtakes us, we lose all of our power, we submit like the cornered, frightened defeated animal.

Although fear is hard-wired in our brain as part of our stress response, we need to understand that we create, nurture and nourish fear with our thoughts, energy and focus. Fear is the anticipation of pain, always set in the future. When we give into our fear, we lose all hope and all possibility of succeeding. If we look back, we would be inspired by those people who survived and even shepherded their families through The Great Depression, one of the worst financial periods in U.S. history, without the aid of strict bank protections, food stamps, unemployment or other social benefits.

Become aware of your emotions and thoughts in each and every moment. Are you frozen with fear or motivated by possibility? Will you be stopped or will nothing stop you?

Add your comments and questions to my Blog and read my past Success Newsletters, if you have received this newsletter as a forward and would like to receive all of my newsletters please enter your email address on the home page.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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