How to Rewire Your Brain to Overcome Fear
Overcome your Fear
Has fear robbed your life of its fullness and beauty? Are you sick of hearing this statement ‘the only way to overcome fear is to face it’? Well, I am not going to say anything much different, and yet what you will understand from this article may be different in some ways and may save you some heartache and pain. The brain takes the easy approach to any problem, fleeing is learned a response which is easier than facing confrontation and the pressure of overcoming a challenge. Yet, it is possible to rewire your brain to respond differently to the same situations. It takes some dedication and pain, but it is possible. Whatever the method that your mind has adopted as responses to a situation, be it fear, worry, anxiety or panic, it can be unlearned. Take heart, your brain can be rewired to function with courage, face the fears and challenges, stop worrying and be at peace or remain calm in the face of the most threatening events. Yes, you can do it. Stay with me awhile and you could learn a few things to help you along in life.
What Does Rewiring the Brain Mean?
Strong emotions like fear, sadness etc., beliefs and habits etc., create neural pathways in the brain (or wire the brain in a particular way) forming habits and fixed responses. From childhood the brain learns to connect certain responses to certain stimuli. Your DNA also predisposes you to be on the alertand to constantlyavoid danger – the need for survival. Your amygdala, or fear centre is wired to pick up danger signals, its releases certain chemicals that fills you with that spurt of courage to stand up and fight or take flight. This does not mean that your brain is hardwired and nothing can be done about it. You could learn to block these neural paths, obstruct the programmed behaviour and teach your brain to respond in ways that are different from its learned patterns of behaviour.
Rewire your brain to free yourself from stress
How to Rewire Your Brain?
Strong emotions like fear, sadness etc., beliefs and habits create neural pathways in the brain (or wire the brain in a particular way). From childhood the brain learns to connect certain responses to certain stimuli. Your DNA also predisposes you to on the alert be constantly to avoid danger, the need for survival. Your amygdala or fear centre is wired to pick up danger signals, its releases certain chemicals that fills you with that spurt of courage to stand up and fight or take flight.This does not mean that your brain is hardwired and nothing can be done about it. You could learn to block these neural paths, obstruct the programmed behavior and teach your brain to respond in ways that are different from its learned patterns of behavior.
Is it Easy to Rewire your Brain?
I would love to say, “yes”, but it is not. It takes two to three months to rewire your brain to learn new ways of responding to any stimuli. It takes determination and consistent effort to do this, but it is possible. Practice and constant repetitions help you make the required neural connections. However rewiring your brain is easier if your experiences are rewarding or encouraging. They help release neuromodulators, like dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine which enable the new behaviors to be rewired to your brain.
How to rewire your mind to overcome your fears
Our mind is naturally programmed to focus on the negative, our early childhood experiences, negative life experiences etc reinforce these negative neural pathways in our brain. You need to unlearn these old ways and learn new tricks. Are you wondering if you can learn new tricks? Well yes, your age is never a part of the equation, you can if you have the will to overcome your fear. Here are some simple, doable tips to rewire your brain.
You could spend a pot of money on a 'tapping summit' or lighten your purse on some online program to get these tips, however, the basics are the same. The only advantage that you could have when you take help from a trainer or go to a summit is that your beliefs are reinforced by hundreds of others doing the same things as you or that your trainer is your point of contact for your faith in the system. If you have faith in yourself and believe that you have the persistence and commitment to change your life, you can work on your own.
Recent Research on the Amygdala the center of Fear
- The amygdala is a key brain region that helps regulate fear and anxiety, while the prefrontal cortex is critically involved in the control of fear.
- The major conclusion from studies of fear conditioning is that the amygdala plays critical role in linking external stimuli to defense responses.
- Damage to the amygdala (Bechara et al., 1995) or areas of temporal lobe including the amygdala (LaBar et al., 1995) produces deﬁcits in fear conditioning in humans
Step by Step Instructions to Rewire Your Brain and Overcome Fear and Anxiety
Although this may sound too simple don't be fooled by it, it is effective.
- Get yourself a journal and list your fears. Carefully read through your list and decide which one is to you, the mother of all fears.
- Now circle this on your list.
- Naming your greatest fear would be the first step to cognitively accept your problem and focusing your energies on handling your problem.
- Writing down your fears clearly, also helps you understand yourself. You could spend a little more time writing about how these fears drain your life of all the happiness, fun and excitement you could possibly have. This could fuel your motivation to overcome the fear that has been destroying your life.
- Find a quiet cozy place to do this without any disturbance.
- Create for yourself a delete button. You need to bring your visualization skills into play here. This button sould preferably be visualized in your palm or in your wrist. Now connect this spot visually to your amygdala or the center of your head. Studies have proved that your brain does not know the difference between a well visualized thought and reality, this will still work.
- Bring to mind those situation that cause you to freeze in fear. As your body reacts to those thoughts, you could choose to tap or press the button in your palm/wrist to delete or nullify those fears and reactions that your body is going through at the moment. Now, remember this isn’t magic. You need to keep repeating this process until all those cancelled reactions are unlearned by the brain. Once you have achieved this you are your own free person.. to do as you wish.
- I usually add one more step to this process. My clients tell me it works very well for them too. This step is based on the information that when you experience a feeling that is rewarding or encouraging, neuromodulators like dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine are released which enable the new behaviors to be rewired to your brain.
- Now visualize being free from fear, see yourself achieving what you want and feel the pleasure it brings you. Dwell on this feeling, let those positive emotions wash over your being. Enjoy it for as long as you can without distraction.
- Be aware of your thoughts, you need to press the delete button each time you are filled with fear or you start feeling those familiar sensations of fear in your body. Being aware of your fear and anxiety-ridden thoughts and being able to delete them instantly helps speed up the process of rewiring of the brain.
- Persist with this day after day until your mind starts to forget the fear and gets rewired to the pleasure of being free to do what you want.
The time taken for rewiring the brain differs from individual to individual, it takes anywherefrom 6 weeks to 12 weeks to achieve the desired results. You really need to keeping working on these steps to see the benefits. This method could be used to effectively overcome anxiety, mild depression and negative feelings as well.
Take care of your body. Your mind and body need rest, exercise and a healthy diet. Imbalance in one area affects your emotional and mental balance.
Learn to enjoy every moment of your life. Take pleasure in the little but beautiful things of life. Stop to smell the roses. Don’t let life pass you by.
This is not meant to replace therapy or psychiatric treatment. This is a self-help article meant to help those struggling with fears. Please do let me know how effective this has been, it could help and encourage others to overcome their fears.