Fear is primal…it is wired in us to identify threats, survive predators and natural disasters. When we experience fear, our brain reacts with the fight or flight response. This is why we feel that “butterflies in the stomach” feeling because the brain releases adrenaline. When a person has too much fear, they experience excess worry, nervousness and anxiety. The good news is that most fears are learned and can therefore be unlearned.
Fear is also one of the biggest causes of unwanted behaviors. When you “look under the hood” of a person’s bad attitude you usually find that fear is underneath wreaking havoc. Hypnosis and NLP are exceptional tools for discovering and transforming fear. For example, the woman who was very mean to her husband and didn’t know why. She would respond with disgust or repulsion when he said or did certain things. She was confused and wanted help to be nicer and to love her husband again. While working with her, I asked her to be mindful of what emotions she experienced just before and after her husband said something that turned her stomach. We learned it was fear. I also worked with her to shift the way she visualized her husband. She was literally seeing him as a little boy in her mind, instead of a strong man who could protect her. She realized she felt afraid and needed to feel safe. Once she shifted her visual image of her husband to a strong man, many things changed. She remembered all the reasons why she loved her husband and found it easy to be kind and loving again.
Here’s another example. The woman with an irrational fear of driving. She was very limited in her activities and had to Uber everywhere she went. She didn’t always feel safe getting into a stranger’s car and decided to overcome her fear and begin driving on her own again. After working together a little while, she discovered the root of her issue was from a fearful experience riding in the car as a young girl. Once she realized that, she was free of the fear and immediately began to improve. I’m happy to say that she is now driving her car to work and on weekends and has her life back.
How fear manifests in someone’s life varies greatly. I’ve seen men afraid of heights, women who are too scared to travel with their families and still others fearful of birds, masks or getting a terrible illness. One thing is always in common in these scenarios. An over active imagination.
So if you are dealing with an unwanted fear, what do you do? Most people begin their attempt to overcome fear by wrestling with it. But fear is much mightier than that. If you fight it, it will win. What you need to do first is accept and appreciate your fear. It’s been there for a good reason, usually to protect you from harm. Once you know it’s purpose, it’s easy to redirect your energies to giving you protection in a new way. Secondly, you need to begin to direct your thinking on how you want to feel and how you want to respond to this issue instead of the old way. Don’t underestimate this step! Use your mind’s undervalued and super-powered imagination to see and feel it exactly the way you want it to be. Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” I think he knew a thing or two about the human condition, wouldn’t you say? Thirdly, you need an attitude of curiosity. Each trial and challenge is there to teach you something. Be curious. Understand that you don’t know what you don’t know and be open to learning something new about yourself and think of it as fun!
Know that you are not alone in your struggle. Many people have irrational fears. Some have life long fears, other fears can develop later in life. Don’t judge yourself, be honest with yourself about your experiences and reactions and know there really is hope to change it.
Kellie Lupe-Smith is a Certified Consulting Hypnotist and owner of Burbank Hypnosis. Her mission is to help those who suffer from stress, weight issues or breaking bad habits so they can live the life they deserve. Contact: Kellie@BurbankHypnosis.com (818) 850-8099