PHYSIOLOGICAL & EMOTIONAL EFFECTS OF FEAR, PHOBIA, ANXIETY AND STRESS Can we change it?
Having spent years researching and teaching on fears and phobia’s, I believe it a vital subject for discussion for this time. I just want to briefly share some of devastating side effects these emotions wreak on our physical body/brain.
Don’t you find it interesting how people arbitrarily say things like “you just need to get over your fears, or stop being stressed…” Isn’t that sort of like telling someone to get over their Cancer, MS, or fibromyalgia? And though we do need to “get over them” these very real and emotional issues cause maladaptive behaviors and major health problems. So the question is how do we rid ourselves of our fears, phobia’s, stresses and anxieties? First let’s get an understanding of what they are and then look at how they affect our body/brain. Christian Nordqvist describes a phobia as “an irrational fear, a kind of anxiety disorder in which the individual has a relentless dread of a situation, living creature, place or thing. Individuals with a phobia go to great lengths to avoid a perceived danger which is much greater in their minds than in real life.”
Stress is described as “A mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences and capable of affecting physical health, usually characterized by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression.” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120402162546.htm. Sustained or chronic stress, in particular, leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol, the "stress hormone," and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, which has been linked to depression. When these chemical systems are working normally, they regulate biological processes like sleep, appetite, energy, and sex drive, and permit expression of normal moods and emotions.” And of course, we all know what fear is and how it affects us.
Why is this important and why so at this time? Because we are deluged with physical, mental, and emotional illness all around us, we need to help one another become better educated of how to care for our mind and bodies. Stress, worry, anger, fear and anxiety are just a few emotions which decrease the hormone activity in our brain, causing major physical issues. So, are there ways that we can adhere to our friends’ advice? (i.e., just get over your fears…) Yes, there is; each one of us have been given the ability to control our thoughts and emotions, and even in many cases it surrounds the idea of how we choose to respond to issues. The problem is we’re so used to allowing these emotions to run amok in our brains, most people feel helpless to do anything about it. People are aware of their fears & anxieties, but because they’ve lived with them so long, and in many cases addicted to these emotions, they may not have attempted to control them, therefore they believe it’s just something they have to live with.
The most common and recent fears I’ve witnessed centers around the presidential election. Oh My! In my lifetime, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed so much fear, stress, anxiety, anger, and even hatred, especially expressed by bible believing Christians. These are just a few of the comments I’ve heard and read on Facebook posts:
I’m afraid I’ll lose my medical benefits, or I’ll have to pay exorbitant premiums
Trump is going to deport all the Mexicans – he’s out of his mind
Everything we’ve worked so hard for over the past few years is going down the tubes
He’s appointing racist radicals; America will be overrun with racism
What will happen to America? We’re about to lose this country
All of these comments and many, many more as you all are aware point to evidence of our fears, phobias, stressors, and anxieties. Some seem to have quickly forgotten who actually created the universe and the USA. We need to remember that we shouldn’t be bound in fear and phobias by external situations. We give way too much credit to man and not nearly enough to the one who actually created us.
Eliminating these emotions is to first identify the thought patterns which causes your fear & the external noise assaulting you. Stop reading & listening to all the negative press about what’s going to happen, what could happen, what might happen, and even what should have happened. It didn’t happen the way you wanted it to. We cannot change that! Speak the power of God and what He says about YOU! No matter what happens, all the negative talk, anger, fear, & predictions in America will not change anything. God is not moved by our whining. He is however, moved by our positive prayers. Secondly, teach your mind how to disengage from habitual negative and fearful thoughts. Remember you’re the steward of your body/mind! Protect it, guard it. Prov. 4:23 states, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Notice this passage says “your heart” determines the course of your life; not man, not the president, not society. Pay attention to what causes your blood to boil, heart thump, palms to sweat, increased breathing, etc. Learn to tap into the internal you and dictate your own world, not allowing the world to dictate and determine your life. Remember this: Fear, phobias, anxiety, and stress is not your portion. It’s not in Your Creator’s DNA, therefore it can only be part of your DNA if you allow it. Fear is real; phobias are real; anxiety is real. But the power lies within you to change it. Determine to live the best years of your life! Starting NOW.