What’s your biggest fear?
Change and untrained imaginations create fears.
Besides the fear of change, our most common fear is that we won’t get something we want or that we’ll lose something we already have. Things we fear get our attention first, so those untrained in how to handle fears drive themselves crazy or worry themselves sick.
Since our brains’ chief job is to protect us from harm, and since change involves the unknown, which may be harmful, it makes sense that untrained brains are preoccupied with anything unknown that is possibly harmful. Back in the day, cavemen were preoccupied with staying safe from dinosaurs and the like. More recently, American settlers were concerned with being safe from each other, wild animals and hostile Indians.
Today’s threats aren’t so much from people or dinosaurs, but from the hassles and pressures of everyday living. The biggest fear I had upon being released from Harborview Hospital, before years of speech therapy radically improved how efficiently I communicated.
Even though my paralyzed leg and arm are what prevented me from going back to work and earning a living and doing the things I enjoyed and had come to take for granted, my fear of how other people might react to me dominated my thoughts. I sometimes wish I’d been able to eliminate these fears with a pill. However, back in 1980, when I crashed, pills weren’t prescribed as often as they are now. Today pharmaceutical companies are selling millions of dollars worth of anti depressants and anti anxiety medications that help folks with fears and other negative feelings.
Letting fear run away with our imaginations is a sure way to develop self destructive worry habits. The good news I found in the months and then years following my crash is that there are tools I can use to beat the worry habit. Since worrying begins in our brains, we can use our brains to either eliminate it or make it productive. Unskillful worry destroys the worrier. Learning worry skills changes destructive worry to constructive.
Since my fears and my Attitudes are a result of my perceptions, choosing to learn positive ways to interpret what I perceive, by reading topic specific books or getting healthy Attitude input in ways I explain in my keynotes and other posts, lessens my fears by developing my adaptability.
My Overcoming Depression post explains the tip of the iceberg of how I created a positive Attitude and eliminated destructive self pity and depression.
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