Thursday, February 7, 2008

Freeze The Fear

Why is the first reaction we have to change motivatived by fear? The fight or flight response is a fundamental physiologic response. Discovered by the Harvard physiologist Walter Cannon, this response is hard-wired into our brains and represents a genetic wisdom designed to protect us from bodily harm.

Our body undergoes a series of very dramatic changes. Our respiratory rate increases. Blood leaves our digestive tract and is directed into our muscles and limbs. Our awareness intensifies. Our sight sharpens and our pupils dilate. Our perception of pain diminishes. Our immune system mobilizes with increased activation.

It is almost impossible to keep a positive attitude when we are in "survival" mode. Our heart is not open. Our rational mind is disengaged. Our consciousness is focused on fear, not love. Making clear choices and recognizing the consequences of those choices is unfeasible. We are focused on short-term survival, not the long-term consequences of our beliefs and choices. When we are overwhelmed with excessive stress, our life becomes a series of short-term emergencies. We lose the ability to relax and enjoy the moment.

Yesterday, I saw a story about a couple who were faced with the loss of their primary income. Instead of ignoring the initial sense of fear, the spouse acknowledged the emotion and then chose to dismiss it. They decided to open a bottle of wine and celebrate this opportunity for change and the extra time together while pursuing their options. This attitude attracted a job that was not only better for their family financially, but also showcased her spouse's skills and education.

So, how do we freeze fear? Consider using relaxation.

The easiest is with a simple two-step method as follows:

1. Focus on a word or phrase that has a positive meaning to you. Such words as "love" and "peace" work well.

2. When you find your mind has wandered or you notice any intrusive thoughts entering your mind, simply disregard them and return your focus to the word or phrase you chose.

And remember the health benefits of a glass of red wine per day. Eighty percent of the benefit of the wine is actually the alcohol, and 20 percent is the resveratrol. Resveratrol turns on a system in your body that prevents your cells from aging.