You might be wondering what on earth I am talking about so I will explain.
Your brain has 2 systems; the conscious human part and the unconscious chimp/reptilian part. The human part is responsible for our cognitive thought processes and the unconscious part helps us breathe and keeps us safe. The subconscious part of the brain is responsible for fight or flight and responds to threatening situations. For example, if you were approached by a bear or saw a snake in your pathway you would immediately get out of the way. Your physiology would change as your anxiety would rise, your cortisol levels would increase, your heart rate would go up. This would be highly appropriate as your body gets ready to flee away from a dangerous situation. This is a normal response. How-ever when someone has a phobia their physical symptoms are the same but there is no danger. How is this possible?
Part of the unconscious mind cannot tell the difference between something you imagine and something you actually do. Phobias can be created by situations that have happened in the past and have been magnified or events that are created to think that the event COULD POTENTIALLY HAPPEN and be threatening.
For example, after 9/11 in New York, many people around the world became fearful of flying. Some of these people had never flown before so it wasn’t the experience that was frightening them but the thought and the big picture of what could happen, ‘what if this happens to me scenario’ which can fool the brain into thinking something bad will happen. A bird may have landed on your pram when you were a baby and you then develop a fear of birds as you go into adulthood.
If something from the past did happen to make you feel anxious and resulted in a phobic response then this could mean the brain is holding it differently to normal memory in order for you not to do it again. The brain is tricking you into thinking that it will happen again so giving you the physical feelings of fear but nothing bad is actually happening. Does this sound familiar to you?
The good news is that Phobias are learned behaviour so they can be unlearned through using processes such as hypnosis, Havening and NLP. The only fears we are born with is the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Want to understand more?
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