Anxiety and fear: how to overcome difficult emotions – a scientific approach
Why do we feel anxiety and fear? Why did nature make a person a coward, and how did scientists discover 5 levers to control their own emotions? We found out why people are born to be afraid and how to manage it.
A place where anxiety and fear live
Nature endowed man with the ability to respond with emotions and created a checkpoint in the brain to control these emotions so that the chaos of reactions would not interrupt the existence of the species. The checkpoint is located in the amygdala (amygdala). At first glance, everything is simple.
But if you’ve ever dealt with development, you know that sometimes projects outgrow themselves. Scientists call it evolution and watch it happen.
Shot from the film Where the wild things are
Programmers would call this an "outdated version" of software that needs to be updated. And they would write an update or, they would offer to reprogram the brain so that errors no longer occur. Since there are more than 6 billion of us people, mass renewal is simply impossible for a number of reasons. For example, write in the comments how to synchronize all people at once, for a start, and then you will think about the technical possibilities of reprogramming each unique brain … You understand the scale, right? Therefore, fix “brain bugs" locally.
Anxiety and fear for no reason is a false signal
When a “false call” is sent from the amygdala, you experience unreasonable anxiety. Until recently, psychologists and psychiatrists have tried to find the causes of this anxiety, but to no avail. The imagination of patients and the variety of methods of digging into causal relationships only dug deeper into the researchers and confused their maps. The answer came from the synthesis of the sciences and was given by John Arden (a neuroscientist with a background in psychology). He put together a mosaic of discoveries in fact medicine and neurophysiology and developed methods for controlling amygdala signals. Thanks to the work of Arden, fears for no reason, worries and anxieties can now be controlled by everyone who they interfere with living, working and communicating.
You don’t need to know what’s under the hood to drive a car. But if you go on a long journey, then do a full check of the systems. And if there is any malfunction, a good mechanic will always tell you how to fix it on the spot if a major overhaul is impossible.
Since the overhaul of the brain is still a procedure from the field of futurism, we offer you a brief description of how the amygdala of a healthy person works. This will make it easier for you to learn and apply methods of controlling and self-reprogramming this area of the brain.
Now you know that anxiety and fear originate in the amygdala. How does it happen?
How the amygdala region in our brain works:
All information that comes to you. passes through the amygdala. Emotions are formed here, on the basis of which attitudes to events, people and other information flows are built.
Anything Can Activate the Amygdala
Your amygdala may be controlled by another person. Even an outsider. Don’t be scared. By and large, anything can control the amygdala of a single individual. We are talking here about fleeting reactions, such as a quick glance from an attractive person or a sharp criticism of a superior person.
It turns on when you feel danger, for example, a few moments before an accident. It takes a fraction of a second for the amygdala to excite electrical impulses with the help of norepinephrine throughout the sympathetic nervous system and cause the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline, which quickly enters the bloodstream and allows you to act at the level of instinct in a difficult situation.
Surely this has happened to you more than once – before you had time to think about something, anxiety had already set in with all the characteristic signs, the biological principle of which we have just described above.
We can give an example here in which you suddenly become nervous when you hear on the news that a hurricane or flood is approaching the place where you are flying in a few hours in a plane, but this does not work for everyone. Think of the rise in popularity of tourist destinations where countries are experiencing political unrest or other dangers.
Russian tourists take tickets to these countries, as they are falling sharply in price. You will probably understand an example in which there is a high probability that one of the close people ended up in a disaster site – on a flooded island, near the explosion site, under siege by wild tribes ….
At this point, listening to the news, you can easily startle at extraneous noise that does not come from the TV or radio. For example, the creak of a door or a fallen branch outside the window. You probably don’t track your reactions at this level, but your amygdala does. What you forgot, she remembers well. Circumstances like this will trigger the "panic button" over and over again. Until you try to "convince" your brain’s amygdala otherwise.
How do you stay calm if you already have a biological recipe at the level of instinct that causes anxiety?
Anxiety and fear are just reactions. It is helpful to keep this in mind the next time you experience unreasonable anxiety.
How to tame anxiety and fear: 5 ways to restore calm
If we could cut out the amygdala, we would. But without the amygdala, a person is doomed to an emotionless life. Therefore, a delete operation or blocking are bad options.
The amygdala must work. Therefore, learn to tame it. In addition, fear is not such a useless emotion. As well as any other negative emotions that we are so diligently trying to replace with “positive thinking” coaches for a happy life. They probably don’t know neurophysiology, so their programs don’t work.
The scientific approach to solving problems is not always perfect, but it relies on knowledge about the structure of the human body and the interaction of all its systems. It is important to keep this in mind when choosing a strategy to improve the quality of life.
Therefore, before removing stress and its consequences, let’s find out the mechanism of its work.
What happens when you experience anxiety and fear for no reason
If you are often exposed to stress, then a large amount of cortisol enters your bloodstream. Even if you don’t understand a word, it’s enough to remember that the release of excessive doses of cortisol leads to memory problems and a chronic feeling that you don’t feel well. Another disadvantage is that fats are formed in the abdomen, which are not very beautiful in appearance and have no practical value.
When you are uncomfortable, the right frontal lobe is more active than the left. What it means: you do nothing. In short, “right” is responsible for passive behavior, while “left” is responsible for actions.
How to deal with "false alarms"
First, understand how much it bothers you. In moderation, it is good to experience anxiety. And yet, how to tame false anxiety and fear?
- Don’t try to keep everything under control. It’s impossible. Just understand, do not seek to look into the future and anticipate events. Everything will be the opposite. With rare exceptions.
- Don’t indulge in procrastination. Procrastination breeds anxiety. As well as a brain not occupied with food for the mind.
- Implement "overcoming the paradox" in your life. Here we want to say that by avoiding even small streams of stress, you will increasingly stumble upon new sources of irritation. Allow a small percentage of stress and let it go to good. For example, it has a positive effect on the quality of the work done.
- Create positive associations when your amygdala takes false calls seriously again. Say to yourself "it’s great to perform in front of the crowd again, I would like to make them laugh."
- Breathe. Breathing is the foundation for conscious communication with all body systems. When you breathe evenly and calmly, worries recede.
Reprogram your brain, but remember that you are not a computer and you have only one amygdala. We support the idea that even an appendix is needed for something. You can read more about working with negative manifestations in the article Negative thoughts: why do you need them and how to manage them.