Fear is being afraid of someone or something as likely to be dangerous which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing from traumatic events.
Fear is one of the most basic human emotions. It is programmed into the nervous system and works like an instinct. From the time we’re infants, we are equipped with the survival instincts necessary to respond with fear when we sense danger or feel unsafe.
If Aids, the Y2K bug or bird flu don’t have you worrying anymore, you can worry about climate change. Or rogue states with nuclear bombs. Or terrorists. Or lack of job security. Or obesity. Or letting your wife drive your car. Will it ever end?
It’s human nature to worry and experience fear. I’ll let you in on a secret: the causes of fear and worry are never going to end. Modern media will ensure you’re always abreast of the fear du jour.
But you can put an end to fear and anxiety, and all it takes is a small shift in focus that anyone can implement.
If you focus on what’s in front of you right now – what you’re working on, or eating, or listening to – there is literally no room in your awareness for concerns about the future. This effectively banishes all worries, anxiety and apprehension from your mind. And it continues for as long as you focus on the present.
This is what the ongoing practice of mindfulness is about. Many think of it as a type of formal mediatation practice, but it’s far more useful when you make it a part of your everyday life.
When you bring moment-to-moment awareness of your experiences – the work you’re doing, the words you’re reading, the things you’re feeling – you become very objective about what’s going on around you. And you become so focused on what is happening, that you’re less affected by what might happen.
There’s a great sense of relief and freedom that flows from this. A small shift of focus, combined with the simple practice of doing everything as mindfully as you can, is all it takes.
This is so simple, and can put an end to all fears.