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Manage Fear-Based Thinking so Fear doesn't Manage You

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Fear-based thinking activates our brain to fire up in ways that are similar to what happens when a smoke alarm goes off despite there being no smoke. When the alarm goes off, we automatically get scared and start looking around to identify what's wrong. It takes some time to figure out that there's no fire. Instead, it was a false alarm. But by that time, we're all stirred up with worry & panic.

That's the workings of our Inner Worrier in a nutshell. Later this month I have the honor to be speaking at TEDxWilmington about how to take charge of the Inner Worrier.

The field of neuroscience is burgeoning with new discoveries, confirming the fact that we can't simply think our way out of fear. The neurochemical reactions are far too powerful and override the mind's ability to think reasonably and effectively.

At lightning speed, our mind can spin out stories as scary as the fairytales we know so well. When this happens, we're at risk of believing our fear-based stories and of getting besieged by anguish or terror.

While we can't stop our brain from churning out emotionally-based stories, we can learn about how the emotional brain operates to exaggerate how bad things are, predict terrible consequences, and intensify self-doubt and insecurity.

It's helpful to consider what we do these days with our emails. We've learned to develop a skeptical eye & ear for what shows up on our screen, even those things that may appear to be reasonable. With our emails, if we believe everything we see in our inbox, we get scammed and our computer is at risk of a virus. With our emotionally-based stories, we also get scammed & our resilience is at risk.

To protect ourselves, we need to become aware of our negative self-talk. If we don't know what the stories are, we can't do anything about them. It takes practice and patience to slow ourselves down, pause, and question the credibility of automatic fear-based stories. When we tune in and question the authority of our Inner Worrier, we are much more likely to manage fear rather than have fear manage us.

For more on empowering yourself with courage, confidence & resilience
The Resilience Group