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One of the biggest challenges we all face is how to master fear, I see this a lot in the clients I work with.

We can work with fear at different levels.

Level 1

Were all afraid of something; spiders, heights, hospitals, the list is endless. We were only born with two distinct fears; fear of falling and of loud noises. You’ll see these innate responses in small babies. The rest we come to learn from our parents- about 60% of phobias are learnt by observing parents- and others we pick up as we go along. Whatever is learnt can be unlearnt. In cognitive hypnotherapy we train the mind to not respond to the thing that triggers the fear,

Level 2

There are other types of fear

  • Protective fear that stops you – I won’t go for that job interview or do that presentation because I won’t get it or people will laugh at me or realise I’m no good and that makes me feel unsafe. When the brain goes into protection, it generates a strong fight, flight or freeze response to stop you taking the risk.
  • Fear that spurs you on – I’m frightened of being poor so I’ll work harder and harder. I’ll make sure everyone likes me because my parents didn’t.

When we understand this kind of fear has a positive intention we can retrain the mind to meet these needs in a more balanced way by exploring and reframing underpinning beliefs we hold about the world or ourselves.

Level 3

Fear comes and goes and it’s a very natural response whenever we step out of our comfort zone. When we begin to recognise that fear comes from the inside. It is an emotional response to something like the effect of a scary film that’s not real. Fear has an energy to be harnessed that can bring excitement and satisfaction at doing something new or challenging. Experiencing fear in this way creates space for our innate curiosity and wisdom that allows us to explore and try new things in a spirit of learning and growth rather than fear and protection.

Challenge yourself in 2016 to find new ways to understand and harness your fear. I’m planning to do the Great North Run even though I can barely run around the block. It frightens and excites me at one and the same time. I want to get fitter and try something I never thought I would do.

Jill Tonks

Jill Tonks