Overcome your Fear
Has fear robbed your life of its fullness and beauty? Are you sick of hearing this statement ‘the only way to overcome fear is to face it’? Well, I am not going to say anything much different, and yet what you will understand from this article may be different in some ways and may save you some heartache and pain. The brain takes the easy approach to any problem, fleeing is learned a response which is easier than facing confrontation and the pressure of overcoming a challenge. Yet, it is possible to rewire your brain to respond differently to the same situations. It takes some dedication and pain, but it is possible. Whatever the method that your mind has adopted as responses to a situation, be it fear, worry, anxiety or panic, it can be unlearned. Take heart, your brain can be rewired to function with courage, face the fears and challenges, stop worrying and be at peace or remain calm in the face of the most threatening events. Yes, you can do it. Stay with me awhile and you could learn a few things to help you along in life.
What Does Rewiring the Brain Mean?
Strong emotions like fear, sadness etc., beliefs and habits etc., create neural pathways in the brain (or wire the brain in a particular way) forming habits and fixed responses. From childhood the brain learns to connect certain responses to certain stimuli. Your DNA also predisposes you to be on the alertand to constantlyavoid danger – the need for survival. Your amygdala, or fear centre is wired to pick up danger signals, its releases certain chemicals that fills you with that spurt of courage to stand up and fight or take flight. This does not mean that your brain is hardwired and nothing can be done about it. You could learn to block these neural paths, obstruct the programmed behaviour and teach your brain to respond in ways that are different from its learned patterns of behaviour.
How to Rewire Your Brain?
Strong emotions like fear, sadness etc., beliefs and habits create neural pathways in the brain (or wire the brain in a particular way). From childhood the brain learns to connect certain responses to certain stimuli. Your DNA also predisposes you to on the alert be constantly to avoid danger, the need for survival. Your amygdala or fear centre is wired to pick up danger signals, its releases certain chemicals that fills you with that spurt of courage to stand up and fight or take flight.This does not mean that your brain is hardwired and nothing can be done about it. You could learn to block these neural paths, obstruct the programmed behavior and teach your brain to respond in ways that are different from its learned patterns of behavior.
Is it Easy to Rewire your Brain?
I would love to say, “yes”, but it is not. It takes two to three months to rewire your brain to learn new ways of responding to any stimuli. It takes determination and consistent effort to do this, but it is possible. Practice and constant repetitions help you make the required neural connections. However rewiring your brain is easier if your experiences are rewarding or encouraging. They help release neuromodulators, like dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine which enable the new behaviors to be rewired to your brain.
How to rewire your mind to overcome your fears
Our mind is naturally programmed to focus on the negative, our early childhood experiences, negative life experiences etc reinforce these negative neural pathways in our brain. You need to unlearn these old ways and learn new tricks. Are you wondering if you can learn new tricks? Well yes, your age is never a part of the equation, you can if you have the will to overcome your fear. Here are some simple, doable tips to rewire your brain.
You could spend a pot of money on a 'tapping summit' or lighten your purse on some online program to get these tips, however, the basics are the same. The only advantage that you could have when you take help from a trainer or go to a summit is that your beliefs are reinforced by hundreds of others doing the same things as you or that your trainer is your point of contact for your faith in the system. If you have faith in yourself and believe that you have the persistence and commitment to change your life, you can work on your own.
Recent Research on the Amygdala the center of Fear
- The amygdala is a key brain region that helps regulate fear and anxiety, while the prefrontal cortex is critically involved in the control of fear.
- The major conclusion from studies of fear conditioning is that the amygdala plays critical role in linking external stimuli to defense responses.
- Damage to the amygdala (Bechara et al., 1995) or areas of temporal lobe including the amygdala (LaBar et al., 1995) produces deﬁcits in fear conditioning in humans
Step by Step Instructions to Rewire Your Brain and Overcome Fear and Anxiety
Although this may sound too simple don't be fooled by it, it is effective.
- Get yourself a journal and list your fears. Carefully read through your list and decide which one is to you, the mother of all fears.
- Now circle this on your list.
- Naming your greatest fear would be the first step to cognitively accept your problem and focusing your energies on handling your problem.
- Writing down your fears clearly, also helps you understand yourself. You could spend a little more time writing about how these fears drain your life of all the happiness, fun and excitement you could possibly have. This could fuel your motivation to overcome the fear that has been destroying your life.
- Find a quiet cozy place to do this without any disturbance.
- Create for yourself a delete button. You need to bring your visualization skills into play here. This button sould preferably be visualized in your palm or in your wrist. Now connect this spot visually to your amygdala or the center of your head. Studies have proved that your brain does not know the difference between a well visualized thought and reality, this will still work.
- Bring to mind those situation that cause you to freeze in fear. As your body reacts to those thoughts, you could choose to tap or press the button in your palm/wrist to delete or nullify those fears and reactions that your body is going through at the moment. Now, remember this isn’t magic. You need to keep repeating this process until all those cancelled reactions are unlearned by the brain. Once you have achieved this you are your own free person.. to do as you wish.
- I usually add one more step to this process. My clients tell me it works very well for them too. This step is based on the information that when you experience a feeling that is rewarding or encouraging, neuromodulators like dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine are released which enable the new behaviors to be rewired to your brain.
- Now visualize being free from fear, see yourself achieving what you want and feel the pleasure it brings you. Dwell on this feeling, let those positive emotions wash over your being. Enjoy it for as long as you can without distraction.
- Be aware of your thoughts, you need to press the delete button each time you are filled with fear or you start feeling those familiar sensations of fear in your body. Being aware of your fear and anxiety-ridden thoughts and being able to delete them instantly helps speed up the process of rewiring of the brain.
- Persist with this day after day until your mind starts to forget the fear and gets rewired to the pleasure of being free to do what you want.
The time taken for rewiring the brain differs from individual to individual, it takes anywherefrom 6 weeks to 12 weeks to achieve the desired results. You really need to keeping working on these steps to see the benefits. This method could be used to effectively overcome anxiety, mild depression and negative feelings as well.
Take care of your body. Your mind and body need rest, exercise and a healthy diet. Imbalance in one area affects your emotional and mental balance.
Learn to enjoy every moment of your life. Take pleasure in the little but beautiful things of life. Stop to smell the roses. Don’t let life pass you by.
This is not meant to replace therapy or psychiatric treatment. This is a self-help article meant to help those struggling with fears. Please do let me know how effective this has been, it could help and encourage others to overcome their fears.
Gracie from Ajax, Ontario on May 14, 2016:
Thanks for a very interesting article; the scientific part of me is intrigued; as a believing Christian I seek God to overcome my fears. When you begin looking inwards for faith and courage you set yourself up for a fall as human effort and wisdom is limited, giving way to frustration. When you look to God and wait upon his direction - you know the outcome will be good.
Anna-Lotta from Perth on November 22, 2012:
i am familiar with this kind of method, something i learned at a health retreat that teaches ways to overcome stress, depression and anxiety. i was there for 6 weeks working on my biggest fears... and it does work. and i can also confirm... repitition is absolutely crucial! i nearly slipped on that, but i didn't let myself fall. i still struggle with those fears daily, in almost every situation... but i have the tools to overcome them and the belief that i am capable of doing so. i just need to repeat ;) good post, great to see this kind of info coming out!
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on October 05, 2012:
I'll give the tap the delete button a try, to see if I can get rid of my nervousness when I have to receive or make a phone call, or when I have to start a conversation. It would be wonderful to be fearless. Most of the time I'm anxious, not for any particular reason. Does it make any difference if the imaginary delete button is in my wrist, my palm, the tip of my nose, my bellybutton, in thin air in front of me, in thin air straight above me, or wherever else?
I have had some success being able to do something in spite of feeling afraid by pretending during the incident, like a child at play or like a "method" stage actor, that I am brave, fearless, and confident.
Sophie (author) on September 12, 2012:
Thanks for your kind words. I appreciate it very much. God Bless.
carozy on September 11, 2012:
Fascinating article, I enjoyed it very much. I will try these techniques!
prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on September 11, 2012:
Very inspiring hub and I learn many things from you. Thanks for writing and share with us. Voted up!
Best wishes, Prasetio
Sherry Duffy from Here. There. Everywhere. Currently: Portland, OR on September 11, 2012:
This is an amazing piece! Thank you for sharing! I have bookmarked and pinned.
Sophie (author) on September 11, 2012:
Thanks everyone, I appreciate each of your comments and observations . Have a great day. God Bless.
FullOfLoveSites from United States on September 11, 2012:
I've got to have courage... I still have fear but I'll just saddle it up anyway. I must put fear at the back of my mind. Thanks for the great hub, it's useful. :)
assimilated on September 10, 2012:
Very profound hub, I like it.
I've also had great success with NLP techniques - the ones you're showing here worked fine for me a few years ago when I was getting rid of arachnophobia :-)
Surfraz from India on September 10, 2012:
A very interesting and a useful article, thanks for writing such a great article
Dr Anupma Srivastava from India on September 10, 2012:
First congrats for hub of the day. Really it is a great hub that is able to help so many people and I will be one of them. Sometimes I fear for my future. Although I am well-settled, even then I feel whether I will be able to fulfill all my dreams. I will certainly follow ur instruction to remove my fear.
BlissfulWriter on September 10, 2012:
That is very interesting technique. What is that technique that you described called? So that I can Google more about it. It is similar to EFT? How does it compare to EFT? Thanks.
Catherine Simmons from Mission BC Canada on September 10, 2012:
Hey Sofs, congrats on your hub of the day!
Great to see this subject highlighted :-)
I love your idea for the delete button, I'm always amazed by how well visualization works! It's a great way to get in touch with your subconscious mind.
I'm also an EFT practitioner (and trained as a molecular biologist) and fascinated by the way this process reduces stress and reduces production of adrenal hormones as well as calming the amygdala.
By the way, Gary Craig has a new website called garythink and EFT universe has lots of free resources.
Keep up the good work!
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on September 10, 2012:
I really liked your Hub, and the photo is so cool. Great job, and great info you have imparted. The brain is malleable, and you give great evidence of that!
Sophie (author) on September 10, 2012:
@ Matt M
@ L.L. Woodard
@ Denise Handlon
@ John Sarkis
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate this greatly. God Bless.
Sophie (author) on September 10, 2012:
@ rabia kamran
@ Mazzy Bolero Your Cousins
@ Yours Cousins
@ Camille Harris
@ Thelma Alberts
Thank you everyone.. for your gracious comments.. and observations. I appreciate this very much . God Bless.
John Sarkis from Winter Haven, FL on September 10, 2012:
Interesting article. Additionally, Audrey makes a great point. "focus on the positive as opposed to removing a negative" what a great idea.
Voted up on your interesting article
Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on September 10, 2012:
Congrats on earning HOTD for this well written article which contains many tips for rewiring our brains.
I think that much of the scientific research that's done on how our brains function has proven that our brains are capable of amazing adaptations and change even when we're older.
You've done a great job of explaining some specific techniques that are helpful, not just for dealing with fear, but also for mild depression and anxiety.
Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting.
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on September 10, 2012:
Sofs-congratulations on the HOTD :) Very interesting. Rated up/U/I Thinking of you...
L.L. Woodard from Oklahoma City on September 10, 2012:
Enjoyed reading this information and am relieved to learn that with time and discipline individuals can rewire their brains.
Completely new information for me is the info about the brain being unable to distinguish between a visualization and the actual situation. This started me thinking about the importance of visualization in areas such as positive thinking and the laws of attraction. Great food for thought, all the way around.
Voted up and shared.
JP993 from England on September 10, 2012:
Fantastic Hub im also a fan of NLP. Great Read
Matt M. from Philly, PA on September 10, 2012:
First off, let me say that I applaud the intention behind this article. With any sort of fear/anxiety cessation technique, there is no right or wrong. If something works for you that it works. Period. Although, sometimes I find it beneficial to completely ignore my physical feelings of anxiety and instead think about a song playing (if I'm in my car) or something positive that I am planning on doing.
The more I think about it the more I seem to think that the best way to mitigate negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, psychosis is by doing what we are doing. Which is communicating, connecting and sharing with our fellow humans our knowledge and experience. So, with the being said, so hats off to Sofs!! Well done.
Graham Gifford from New Hamphire on September 10, 2012:
Voted useful and interested (and then some!). Agreed, this is a very useful tool that everyone should learn. I have found it most helpful several times throughout my life and I'm certain that I will have future fears to conquer, as well. I recall training myself to overcome my fear of snakes. I have not mastered this fear, but when it comes to the various snakes that are in my yard, I am okay. Today, I continue my learning of overcoming my fear of flying. Years ago, I had a very bad flight and have been unable to fly without becoming anxious. I've done a bit of reading on somatic experiencing, perhaps you would find that interesting....
katecupcake on September 10, 2012:
This hub is wonderful, Im very glad to have seen it. I think the information you give us here is truly very important. I have been doing things similar to this my entire life to help control the chaos my brain goes into when thinking of those 'scary' things. I have always journaled, but now I will begin to use the delete button method as well.
Marlene Bertrand from USA on September 10, 2012:
Your hub is most helpful. I like the idea of creating a fear journal. I also like the idea of creating a "button" to turn off the fear. Excellent hub. And, by the way, congratulations on receiving Hub of the Day!
Audrey Howitt from California on September 10, 2012:
Interesting article! You may also want to take a look at EFT/Meridian tapping techniques as they focus on the positive as opposed to removing a negative--
Marites Mabugat-Simbajon from Toronto, Ontario on September 10, 2012:
Good exercise. Gotta have my "delete" button. Useful and interesting. Cheers, sofs!
whonunuwho from United States on September 10, 2012:
Perhaps the greatest motivator and that which fashions the structure of society, in the concept of fear. Fear permeates all of society as the basis of what our civilization is built upon. Some use fear as political motivators and getting votes, others make money off of the fearful in what is to be proposed as a world calamity, and some are so caught up in fear, that they cannot use their bodily functions effectively. It is the one controlling factor of all life, even in the small creatures around us all. Survival is based upon dealing with fear causing agents in all life on this planet. If we can control this greatest enemy and founder of countries that would once seek to rule the world, then we have done a miraculous work and astounding in its capacity. Thank you for your good work and it was well enjoyed . Hopefully it will serve as a means in which many may control fears and live a more open life of freedom.
Sandra Busby from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA on September 10, 2012:
Thank you, sofs. This is a skill everyone should be taught at an early age. I'm a great fan. Voted up and shared.
Brenda Kyle from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA on September 10, 2012:
Hubs like yours are so important. Those fears seem impossible to overcome when you are caught up in them. This lets you step away, review and resolve it. Congrats on hub of the day! Truly a great pick.
visionandfocus from North York, Canada on September 10, 2012:
Wow! I just spent a year learning all I can about EFT and other energy medicine/energy psychology techniques, so I'm real glad to read this article. I watched Gary Craig's DVDs several years ago and managed to get rid of my nightmares myself, but I needed a therapist's help with my chronic neck pain. Since then, I've used it for surrogate healing and was shocked at how powerful it can be, so that's why I spent the past year getting my EFT (INT) designation. After doing 50 sessions on other people, I can really attest to its effectiveness, esp. when you add on the advanced technique of Matrix Reimprinting which, to my mind, is like super-charging the EFT.
What a great hub you have here--voted up and awesome!
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on September 10, 2012:
Congratulation on the hub of the day! This is an interesting hub! Well done. Thanks for sharing.
Tim Nichol from Me to You on September 10, 2012:
Congrats on your Hub-of-the-Day, Buddy :)
Haunty from Hungary on September 10, 2012:
Hi sofs! Courage and fear are but mental vibrations, and are essentially just the two poles of the same thing. They are not different in nature, they are only different in degree. Obviously mental vibes can be changed mentally, no need for tapping your body. While I agree with most of what you said, I'd like to add that if you are possessed of fear, you should waste no time trying to "kill it out." Intead, cultivate the quality of courage, and the fear will disappear.
kaikai from TX on September 10, 2012:
Camille Harris from SF Bay Area on September 10, 2012:
Hi Sofs! No need to publish this, but it looks like two of your sections are identical: "What Does Rewiring the Brain Mean?" and "How to Rewire Your Brain?" Just wanted to give a heads up!
Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on September 10, 2012:
Congratulations on HOTD. This information could help so many people. We just need to apply the advice! Thanks so much.
Your Cousins from Atlanta, GA on September 10, 2012:
H-m-m-m. "Neurons that fire together wire together," the video says. This is an interesting hub that gives us specific techniques to use to slay our fears. Thanks for the information.
Sam Graham from Australia on September 10, 2012:
Mazzy Bolero from the U.K. on September 10, 2012:
A very good idea for a hub. I like the idea of the delete button - I will definitely try that one.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on September 10, 2012:
sofs....This is powerful information for those with fear issues. Learning to live with the fear can mean being able to do those things which you may miss out on those things which could bring you great happiness. You have provided a sound list of ways to maneuver around that fear.
I had a horrid fear of dogs and my cure for it came most unexpectedly when I was forced to confront that fear. I was surrounded by three snarling angry dogs. Without dragging out the story, I stood my ground as I had no choice and faced down my greatest fear.
For me facing the fear was a real way to overcome it.
I will share this with my friends and family as they will find this helpful for sure. Congratulations on Hub of the Day.
rabia kamran from pakistan on September 10, 2012:
JCielo from England on September 10, 2012:
I'm going to share this with a certain person who is going through a really trying time right now. Excellent subject background followed by practical tips. Voted up and useful.
Sophie (author) on July 25, 2012:
Pamela99, Thanks for that endorsement. I truly hope it helps people, I know it does when people make the decision to put it into action. Have a great day.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 25, 2012:
This is a very helpful article for anyone that has fear issues. I think your suggestions are great. Well done.
Sophie (author) on July 24, 2012:
Yes, it is Ruby... but impossible is nothing.... If I could overcome shyness and fear anyone could. Thanks for the comment. Have a lovely day.
Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on July 24, 2012:
Reprogramming the mind takes time. It can be done. Great hub Sophie. Thank you....
Sophie (author) on July 24, 2012:
Teaches 12345, Having seen what medication does to people I am totally with you... If only we learned to trust ourselves and the strength we have within, we could do great wonders... I wish I could get this message across strongly. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Have a lovely day.
Dianna Mendez on July 24, 2012:
Good hub article and so well done. I think writing your thoughts down helps to visualize the goal of peace. It seems that many people are experiencing this these days. I imagine the economy has a lot to do with it. I would rather see people use natural methods to overcome these fears than to resort to medication long term. Voted up.
Sophie (author) on July 24, 2012:
Judi, Glad that you found rewiring the brain of interest to you. Appreciate the fact you stopped by to read and comment. Have a wonderful day.
Judi Brown from UK on July 24, 2012:
Interesting indeed. Keeping a journal is great for so many reasons, this is another to add to the list. I shall certainly read this again and try out your suggestions.
Sophie (author) on July 23, 2012:
theraggededge, Interesting comment there.. Yup all the free information you need is available albeit in bits and pieces.. Journaling is great.. and so are the delete buttons .. you just have to get sharp on your skills of visualization. Thanks for stopping by .. Have a lovely day/night.
Sophie (author) on July 23, 2012:
Hi there Tim, I can see that you are back in action LOL :) I like that comment of yours.. back to the basics.. willingness to change and commitment to change..face your fear. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. Have a great day.
Bev G from Wales, UK on July 23, 2012:
Very interesting. Have to say that you can get all the free info on EFT (tapping) from Gary Craig's sites - those people and their money-grabbing tapping summits drive me crazy - Gary developed it and gave the method away for free. It definitely works in helping people release fear fast.
I think it is important to recognize fear in children and help them rewire before it becomes entrenched. I feel fearful in certain situations - worry about kids, etc., but I couldn't function if I felt uneasy all the time.
You have some great ideas here and I wholeheartedly go along with the journaling one. You can write a lot out of your system if you go about it the right way.
Tim Nichol from Me to You on July 23, 2012:
Hi there sofs. Interesting stuff here. I've read about many techniques to re-program your mind (including NLP). I'm sure it can be done, but as you say, it takes quite a bit of time and determination, and a real willingness to 'change your mind'. The first order of business is admitting that you have a problem, and want to do something about it. Nice work, buddy. :)