Fear can be the cause of an immediate and necessary response to an imminent dangerous threat. In that instance, your “fight or flight” response serves a purpose to react to the imminent threat to reduce the danger. This response causes an increase in your stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
The problem is that your body responds to chronic stress in a similar manner. This lead to a chronic stimulation of your “fight or flight” system. This in turn leads to all kinds of negative physical, as well as mental, effects.
The physical effects include anxiety, gastrointestinal complaints, heart attacks, insomnia, weight gain, weight loss, breathing problems, headaches, rashes, exacerbation of chronic diseases, and premature death. The mental effects can be devastating and include paranoia, depression, hallucinations, catatonic episodes and psychosis.
All of this sounds like fun, doesn’t it? The bigger question is: how can you adapt to dealing with fear without having too much fun from the above-mentioned chronic effects induced by fear?
There are some medications that can be useful in severe cases. Anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants can provide some relief, but most carry some significant side effects and generally only work while taking them.
I think the better approaches are to try to eliminate the stimulus if possible and to modify your response to the stimulus. The problem is the stimulus is most always external while your reaction is internal.
Limiting external stimuli may require, if possible, limiting contact with toxic people, avoiding propaganda, potentially changing jobs and avoiding the triggers you know are contributing to your fear.
When dealing with your internal response to fear, there are lifestyle changes that can prove to be beneficial. The obvious things are exercise, sunlight, laughing, spending time with people who support you as well as certain supplements you can take to help your response. The following ingredients have shown benefits and many supplements contain several of these in different combinations:
- Oat Straw (Avena sativa)
- Bacopa (Brahmi)
- Passion Flower
- Griffonia Seed Ext 5-HTP
Treatment does not usually show immediate response. It normally requires long-term treatment. Since the lifestyle changes, supplements and medications previously mentioned may not fully treat the negative effects, I think most should consider what I deem to be the most effective weapon against fear.
In my opinion, I believe that a strong faith in God and studying His word helps limit all of the negative effects of fear. God states 360 times in the Bible to “not be afraid” or “do not fear.” That must mean it is a pretty important state to avoid. God does not want us to be fearful. He does not give us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). I know that Satan’s control is in large part achieved by using fear; fear to control us. Fear can effectively steer people to do things they normally would not do. This manipulation of our behavior is exactly what God will help prevent. As you become stronger in your faith, you will trust in God more and more. This helps your soul and your body reduce the effects of fear.
I know that it is counter-intuitive to see all the bad things going on now and experiencing less fear. It is happening in my life as I grow closer to God. When you trust God by studying His word, being supported in your church, and focusing on eternity, then the adverse effects of fear lessen.
This, I think, occurs because you have to realize that the here and now of the world we are in currently does not mean anything other than we have the chance to do what is right and honor God while we are here. When people give up eternity (which occurs when you don’t follow God), they are only stimulated by the world and Satan. Satan’s mission is to separate us from God to show that he is more powerful than God. I’m sorry but it does not work that way.
God describes our life as the blink of an eye. At the end of our life, we are going to spend eternity somewhere because I believe our soul is immortal. If you are a non-believer, then you probably believe that when you die, everything goes dark and that is that. Bur for the sake of argument, if believing helps reduce your symptoms of chronic fear, what do you have to lose if there isn’t a God? If you believe in good and evil or heaven and hell, if one exists, so must the other. The last time I checked, the “blink of an eye” is a lot shorter than eternity.
I don’t recommend trading anything in this life for an eternity in heaven. If you do and don’t turn to God before it is too late, my fear is that you will spend an eternity in hell. I do not wish that for my enemies and certainly do not wish it for my friends, family or patients.
- God can help quell the negative effects of fear.
- Turning to God and growing stronger in faith will lead to an eternity in heaven.
- Other lifestyle changes, including supplements and medications, can help you deal with your fear.
– Dr. David Jayne, M.D.