When small fears seem so big and it feels like we can’t even move, what’s the danger that causes us to freeze?
FEAR, as defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary means, “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”.
Is an elephant in danger when it sees a mouse?
Are we in danger when we speak in front of a large audience, begin a new job, or are afraid of what others might think, for example?
These are illustrations of some things we may have felt fearful of at one time or another. That dreadful feeling can seem as real as the horror someone experiences if they’re faced by a ferocious lion.
Initially, we may feel a single, monumental sensation of terror, and as we begin to deal with what-ifs, many other fears might start to trickle to the surface. We may feel overwhelmed with so many uncertainties of the unknown and feel unable to decide what to do next.
We’ve shared many values of scheduling “ME” time to reduce stress levels over daily worries and living a healthy lifestyle. The health value “ME” time can provide to support our immune systems can be a key element as we journey through each daily battle against the small things that may seem too big each day.
“When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections.”1
What might be some unpleasant physical signals we’ve experienced when we felt the impact of fear or periods of chronic worry? What comes to mind? Why might this feel important?
When we’re faced with a threat of being harmed in some way our bodies are designed to protect us by releasing the stress hormone cortisol promptly. Over long periods of tension these raised cortisol levels can weaken our immune systems.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “The long-term activation of the stress response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follow can disrupt almost all your body’s processes.”2
If our worries seem like they make us freeze, unable to move, how might focusing on some “ME” time help us care for our immune systems to keep them strong against both emotional and physical distress? What feels important about this?
How might these feelings affect our daily lifestyle?
In November of 1997, Simon and Schuster published Richard Carlson’s book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…And It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things From Taking Over Your Life.
What comes to mind when you hear this title? How might the “small stuff” feel like it takes over our lives?
How might it feel to pause and perceive the small tensions as little speed bumps on our daily journey? What might feel different if we look at fear this way?
The Mayo Clinic provides many suggestions for reducing stress like “eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and getting plenty of sleep” to mention a few.2
As we said earlier, fear is defined as “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”. Our perception of what feels risky can have an impact that might steal away that healthy every day we strive for if we let it.
When it feels uncomfortable to plan time for ourselves, why might it feel scary?
Planning time to care for our emotional and physical well-being is a natural priority and incorporating “ME” time is a key element.
So, don’t let scheduling a “ME” time routine feel fearful and stop you from enjoying a happy, healthy lifestyle.