Fear - Graham Carter: Performance Coach and Adventure Specialist, From Here To There

This week I had a couple of fillings replaced.  I wasn't especially looking forward to the visit.  It was a little sore when the needle went in and during was a little uncomfortable with 2 hands rooting around in my mouth.  And of course the fun and games of trying to eat and drink with a numb face is always entertaining.  My sons found it hilarious when I tried to whistle and my wife refused to kiss me as my lips would not work in the way a kiss should be delivered.  But joking aside, I did not have any worries or fears at all about the whole procedure.  At no point did I think I could not go through with the filling replacement.  For some though, fear of a dentist prevents even a simple check-up; and there are people living with horribly decaying teeth and probably a lot of pain and discomfort, not to mention the social embarrassment of having teeth in a poor state of repair and health.  But what is it that creates such emotional turmoil that stops a person, in this case from visiting the dentist?  The same can be said for getting in a lift – I am about to start working with someone who has a fear of lifts, so I will write a separate post and let you know how she gets on; and not just lifts, but flying, spiders, heights and so on.  Well the simple answer is that the thing that creates these powerful emotional states is……drum roll……. wait for it…….you! Yes, the person who is experiencing the state of fear has created it themselves.  So guess what, yep that is right, to over-come this state of fear is in reality very straightforward (well, a little help from someone like me will be of great benefit).  When we are faced with (or think about) a situation we create an internal emotional state which causes changes to our physiology.  When I think about going out for a walk in the woods, my mind immediately recalls past experiences of being in the woods and I begin to recreate what I saw, hear and felt (and perhaps smelt and tasted depending on the situation).  For me, walking in the woods is a favourite past time so when I think about going, I naturally create a positive and helpful state – and I am then keen to get out there.  But let’s imagine that when I was younger I got lost in the woods, it was cold and getting dark, I fell in a bog, perhaps hurt myself, was scared by the fading light, the noises of the animals etc.  I would therefore have a very different recall of that experience and when someone asks me if I want to go to the woods, I may decide to pass because of my previous experiences.  My son, interestingly loved the woods but a few years ago when quite young was shown on another pupils phone in school a really unpleasant video and this was enough to make him scared of a place that he had previously loved.  Harry is now fine and has his love of the woods back.  But returning to these emotional states WE CREATE!  Yes I put in in capital letters because we create it.  No one else, just us.  And if we can create a state of fear, we can also change that and make it in to whatever we want it to be.  We can neutralise it, we can make it funny or we can distance ourselves from it so that when faced with a situation that previously caused fear, it now causes, well probably not a lot.  And this means we can get on that plane, we can sit in the dentist chair or we can get in that lift.  Now that is very exciting.  So don’t spend the rest of your life living with something that is holding you back.  You are in control; you may need a little guidance on how to control it but, you are still the master of your mind.  Let me know how you get on, or get in touch if you want a chat and to find out more.