What’s the antonym of Fear?
Finding the answer to this has been my obsession from the past few months. Shall we dissect this primal emotion and change our lives forever then?
As psychotherapists we generally find most of our clients suffer either from fear (phobia) or anger.
(of course with sadness as their underlying.)
(Now imagine a drum roll!!!)
Fear and Anger are the same!
(I was astounded on discovering this, you can mediate on this statement for a few moments…)
Knowing this was like unraveling the theory of relativity for me, where Einstein deducted the unity of space and time. Below are the priceless words which are much more valuable and gave me greater joy than what I could’ve got from finding a treasure of gold and diamonds.
“A variety of patients in a therapist’s office voice a dominant complain of painful aloneness, depression, sadness, and fear. Underneath these feelings is often the unacknowledged and pervasive anger.”
– Dr. Alice Givens
These words are pure gold isn’t it?
Now going a layer deeper,
Self-Preservation is at the epicentre of all our fears and anger.
Hence I wanted to explore fear in the light of neuroscience which holds “Amygdala” responsible for it.
The standard dictionary definition of Amygdala is as usual, quite confusing,
"The amygdala is one of two almond-shaped clusters of nuclei located deep and medially within the temporal lobes of the brain’s cerebrum in complex vertebrates, including humans. Shown to perform a primary role in the processing of memory, decision making, and emotional responses, the amygdalae are considered part of the limbic system.
Quiet simply its that part of the brain which is scanning for threats at all times
Amygdala is the organ in the limbic system (inner mind) —though a tiny little one is significantly responsible for our emotions which falls in the bracket of implicit memories.
Its study is important for us as
“The amygdala has been implicated in many diseases, such as depression 3), sleep debt and anger 4), as well as other neuropsychiatric diseases."
Though the amygdala and hippocampus comprise the limbic system. Below is a screenshot of the difference between them based on their functionality .
Take a breath now!
Don’t get overwhelmed.
So far we saw that fear and anger are the primary issues clients come to us for and in the light of neuroscience, we experience fear due to the amygdala’s activation.
Patients with abnormal amygdala do not experience emotions or have implicit memories!
Weather we are really in a life threating situation or perceiving one to be (thanks to the projection capability of mind – Adhyasa) our body has already started pumping all the stress related hormones into the blood stream.
For example, when you imagine binging on your favourite dish, the unconscious mind triggers the production of saliva in the mouth.
As the unconscious mind or the inner mind or the subconscious mind or the limbic system doesn’t care about what is “real”. That activity of ascertaining reality has been outsourced to the conscious mind which accomplices it with its accomplice–the five senses.
So the bottom line is that what we imagine is also as real to the subconscious as anything tangible. Like a thought of a snake is as good or sometimes more fearful than the snake itself!
Which is why there is so much of emphasis on positive thinking. Like a thorn can be used to remove another thorn. We can use the power of imagination and assertion to program ourselves to “Trust” ourselves, our capabilities or a higher force to reduce the activation of amygdala.
So this is the secret, take care of not getting your amygdala activated through the day. Train yourself to be in the now, look at situations as they are. Ask yourself this question when you experience fear,
What is it that I can trust now but I am not ?
Share it and also comment below on how you handle stress or fear on a day to day basis!