EPISODE 4: “The Biology of Fear”
On today’s episode, I give you a 4-step process on how to break free from fear. We dive deep into the biology of fear; breaking down the brain into 3 parts and examining exactly how the brain works so you can start to control your brain instead of it controlling you. If you have worry, doubt or fear thoughts running through your mind and wish to break free from them, you will want to listen to this episode.
In this episode I discuss:
You can eliminate your fear with moving your attention and disassociation.
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You're listening to episode number four of the Transform Your Life From the Inside Out podcast. This episode is about the Biology of Fear. Listen to the entire episode because you're going to learn where your fears come from, how your brain keeps you in fear, how your fears keep you trapped and how to break free from them in a matter of a couple of seconds with the process I'm going to show you. Keep listening. Hi, I'm Jim Fortin and you're about to start transforming your life from the inside out with this podcast. I'm widely considered a leader in subconscious transformation and I've coached super achievers all around the world for over 25 years. Here you're going to find no rah-rah motivation and no hype. Because this podcast is a combination of brain science, transformational psychology and ancient wisdom all rolled into one to take your life to levels you have never thought possible. If you're wanting a lot more in life- feel better, to heal, to have peace of mind, to feel powerful and alive and to bring more abundance and prosperity into your life. Then this podcast is for you. Because you're going to start learning how to master your mind and evolve your consciousness. And when you do that, anything you want then becomes possible for you. I'm glad you're here.
Fear Isn't Conscious, It Comes From The Brain
Let me ask you this. What scares you? Think about that for a moment and it's for most of you it's probably pretty easy. What scares you? Is it looking at your bank account? Is it picking up the phone because you don't know who it is? Is it talking to your mother? I mean there could be a bazillion and I know there's a bazillion things. But I want you to think for a second about what scares you? And if you're like most people whether you think you do or you don't, and hopefully you'll come to realize this and see this in this podcast, is that you spend a significant portion of your life in fear.
So as I said, think back earlier to today. To give you an example of that what I want you to do is I want you to look back at the last several hours of your day. How much fear did you get into? I started the podcast Was it about checking your bank account? Was it about going to a luncheon and you didn't know anybody? Was it actually putting out maybe your own podcast or putting out a video or something? And people are going to judge you. What I want you to look at is that you've gotten into fear multiple times today and just look about just look at your day earlier today to prove that to you. The two biggest fears that most people get into and we learn these very early in life, the two biggest fears are Abandonment and Inadequacy. And that is people are going to reject me. They're going to judge me and reject me. And you know what I'm not good enough. Look at your own life. How often do you get into those fears of if I say something people are going to shut me down, they're going to judge me, they're going to negate me and they're going to abandon me. Or you know what, i am not good enough. I'm not worthy. So as I said these are the two biggest fears that most people get into. And what I want you to understand is that your fears come from one of two places. They either come from your brain which we'll talk about in the reptilian part of the brain, the oldest part of the brain. Or they come from your past unconscious programming.
Let's talk about your brain first. And I'm going to break down the brain metaphorically speaking into the parts. And we have three parts, predominant parts of the brain. We have the Prefrontal cortex which is the Thinking part of the brain, the executive part of the brain. We have the Limbic system which is called the Mammalian brain which is the Emotional brain. And I mean I'm speaking in big categories here. And then we have what's called the reptilian part of the brain. Some people call it the crock brain or the monkey brain. We have the Reptilian part of the brain which is the oldest part of the brain. That part of the brain, its job is our Survival. It controls the autonomic nervous system but its job is to keep us alive. And that part of the brain actually works from the Flight or Fight or reverse at fight or flight principle. Now also we have which is actually associated with the reptilian part of the brain. And this is some deep brain science I'm not going to get into it but I want to give you guys some scholastic background on this. A part of the brain called the amygdala. I want to read something here to you very quickly is that the body's alarm circuit for fear lies in the almond shaped mass of nuclei deep in the brain's temporal lobe- the amygdala, from the Greek word for almond controls autonomic responses associated with fear, arousal and emotional response. And this was from the Dana Foundation. This is a foundation that does brain research. And I'll explain more about this in just a moment.
But the takeaway there is that your fear is not conscious. Your fear comes from your brain. And later in this podcast I'm going to show you how to actually short circuit that process to get through fear very, very easily. So, i also want you to know as I mentioned earlier that fear is both brain based. Which we just talked about and I want to read you something else here in a moment. And it's also from your unconscious paradigms. Meaning things that you have learned in the past psychologically through your analytical prefrontal cortex thinking. Things that make you afraid. So we'll dig into both of these but predominantly I want to dig in to the brain based here and show you how to eliminate it in just a few minutes. Here's another quote by Dr. Joseph lado, PhD in NYU. Is he says my research suggested that the amygdala contributes to non conscious aspects of fear. By which I meant the detection of threats and the control of body responses that help cope with the threat. Whew, mouthful I know. Let me keep on going now. Conscious fear I argued in my books The Emotional Brain and Synaptic Self and most recently an anxious as a product of cognitive systems in the neocortex that operate in parallel with the amygdala circuit. Again, a lot of big scientific words there and psychological and Brain based words. The only reason that I actually read this to you and what I just did a couple of minutes ago, is I want you to fully understand that brain is... that fear is not a conscious response.
It comes from the unconscious mind and it comes from the reptilian part of the brain and the amygdala. I want to touch briefly here also when we're talking about fears. There are two kind of fears that I want to address. And one fear is the fight or flight fear. Meaning we perceive that something is a threat to us or something is dangerous. Something is going to threaten our survival. The other fear which a lot of people get into which is no longer necessary or relevant anymore, is social fears. Are people going to judge me? Are they going to abandon me? Am I good enough? When we get in the fears most people actually... let's back up here even further. Is that we do not so much live in a fighter flight world anymore. Many years ago as we were evolving as a species and I don't even know how to address that but let's just say many years ago as we were evolving, fight or flight was necessary. Because we had to know whether or not if I leave this cave and I go hunt for food am I going to be eaten by a saber tooth tiger. So that would create obviously fear and engage the fight or flight response. But we don't live in that world so much anymore. And I think I obviously there's no research on this. I think our brains have not caught up and evolved enough for the actual world that we live in. So the world that we live in actually is not served by the older part of the brain that gets in the fight or flight. So as I said the fight or flight part of the brain that's when we see things that threaten our survival like a snake. Or for me in particular for example I don't like snakes. Something that we you know sends us into fear of survival. And then the other is being judged. Which is obviously social.
What I want you to get here is, and then I'm gonna give you a short process, is that there is nothing conscious about fear. I want to say that again, there's nothing conscious about fear. No one ever says you know what, it is 3:37 P.M. on Thursday. And heck, you know I've got 10 minutes to kill. I think I'm going to get into a little bit of fear right now. No, it doesn't happen that way because it comes from the brain and it comes unconsciously. So I'm going to say for a third time, there is nothing conscious about the fear that you get into. It is just your brain, it is your brain actually trying to protect you. So then what happens is this happens very quickly in the brain, is the reptilian part of the brain responds trying to protect us. And then the neocortex which is the thinking part of the brain rationalizes the fear. OK. So I know we've talked about a whole lot of stuff and that can leave some of you going whoa this is kind of mind boggling. I want to break it down really simple for you guys. And I want to give you a simple process to make it easy for you to move through your fears once they come up. Because again they come up completely unconsciously and brain based. And I want to show you a way to disassociate from the fear and move through this and it's super simple.
You may want to write this down as we're going through it. And also actually now that I think about that, I think there is a PDF download that you can download with each and every episode. So you may want to download that and actually master this process. In this process what you want to do is you want to consciously, which is the prefrontal cortex thinking part of the brain, you want to consciously interact with your older part of the brain- the primal part of the brain, the reptilian part of the brain- to eliminate your fear. So here is your PROCESS. What I want you to do is I want you to think about something that puts you into fear. Something social that puts you into fear. In this context I do not want you to think about Oh I'm I'm holding a rattlesnake. Well that's obviously fear and for good reason. But I want you to think about for example maybe being judged, somebody actually abandoned you, somebody telling you NO, somebody's not taking your call or your sales call whatever. Putting yourself out there and shooting a video because people are going to judge you. Saying Hi to a new crowd of people when you don't know anyone. I want you to actually think to a situation that causes you fear. Take a second to get that. Now, what most of you do is when you go into that state, that emotional state that's caused by the brain, what most of you do is you actually retreat, Fight or Flight. And then what you do is you avoid the situation that causes you fear. But really in the grand scheme of life the fear really is of no threat to you. It's not a big deal.
So here's what we're going to do. Any time that you're experiencing fear. What I want you to do is this is your STEP NUMBER ONE is I want you to acknowledge and you can do that by simply saying this: Right now I am experiencing fear. I am afraid. Now I also want to segway here for a second is that in the Master Thought Formula training which you can download. It's a 90 minute training showing you how to master your thinking over at jimfortin.com I do say in there that you're never afraid. Why? Because being afraid is simply thinking and you are a person that is having fearful thoughts. I want to put that on the back burner for right now and I want to look at the fear right in front of you. Even though you are the thinker of your thoughts that are brain based. Again that's a mouthful. For right now, Let's just deal with what's right in front of you. So, when something comes up that's social, that is not a threat to your well-being and you get in the fear. What I want you to do is I want you step number one to be repetitive is to acknowledge "I am experiencing fear". Is what I want you to say to yourself. Now what we're starting to do with this is we're starting to actually dialogue using the prefrontal part of the brain, the thinking part of the brain with the reptilian part of the brain and we're starting to work you through this.
I want to give you a real and very simple example of a fear that I used to get into. I do know and this is actually more psychological I do believe in my observation. But many years ago when if I got a letter from the IRS, I would go into fear just by looking at the letter. And many of you probably thinking yep I can relate to that. And I laugh at it now because if I got a letter from the IRS I had no idea what was in that letter. But I would go into fear when I would get a letter from the IRS. And I remember one time I got a letter and it took me a week to open it and I opened it and they're like Oh by the way you overpaid X Y Z, here's a refund for that from last year. What I want you to notice here is there was no cognitive analytical thought when I got the letter saying Oh, I got a letter from the IRS. Who is the IRS? What is the IRS? What does this mean? What possibly could be in this letter? I went into none of that. I went into nanosecond fear of Oh my God, this is bad. So what I'm showing you here is when you go into any kind of fear like that you can eliminate it. Because the NEXT STEP is this. Is shifting... Write this down if you're not driving. Shifting your awareness. And this is what you can say. "This is not me" or you can say "This fear is not me. It's my reptilian brain trying to protect me." That's all you need to do.
Because by saying that you are shifting out of your brain, the reptilian part of the brain being on overdrive trying to keep you in fear, trying to protect you. Now you're using the prefrontal thinking part of your brain and you're shifting your awareness and shifting your attention. So when you say Wait, this is not me. So obviously when you go into fear, you're going to acknowledge it and then you're going to work your way through it by saying "This is not me, it's my brain." And when you say It's not me, you are no longer personalizing the fear. You are disassociating when you say This is not me. This is my reptilian brain trying to protect me. In this moment, you have now distanced and disassociated yourself from that automatic brain based fear response. You can also say a version of this and use whatever emotionally works for you. Because I'm saying this and you're hearing this analytically but create or use whatever works for you emotionally. You can also say "Wait, this is not me. It's my past defense mechanisms trying to protect me. And what I'm going to do is I'm going to disassociate my fear from that. Or I am not that.". The main point here is that you are literally like taking a hatchet and cutting through a rope and you're disassociating the fear from you. Because most people as I said personalize the fear. All right. STEP number THREE is this and this is a powerful one. Because you can use this anywhere in your life. I was taught this by my brother in law the shaman. And if somebody said to me Jim what is the number one thing that you were taught? That I wouldn't know what to pick. But this would be very close to it.
STEP number THREE is Moving your Attention. And the reason why is because you are where your attention is. So let's bring this back to the paradigm we're working through. STEP number ONE is that you acknowledge I am experiencing fear. STEP number TWO is you're Shifting your Awareness. This is not me, it's my reptilian brain. STEP number THREE is I move my attention to _____________. Now let me explain what that means by moving your attention. There is a concept called Dual task interference. And what that means is is that you can not simultaneously hold two thoughts at the same time. So to give you an example of that let's say that you're thinking about Oh my gosh, i owe money, I've got bills, I owe money, I'm in debt, I'm never gonna get out of debt which is all a story. And you're driving along and you're almost in a car accident. Boom. Automatically you shift from thinking about your debt to I was almost in a car accident and holy cow. Notice that you're not even thinking about the debt anymore. Because your brain cannot hold your mind either cannot hold two thoughts simultaneously. So when you acknowledge the fear and then you shift the awareness It's not me. And then you move your attention, you are no longer in the fear that you were in the first place. That's the power of learning... which we will talk about in future episodes... That is the power of learning to Move Your Attention. Because you are where your attention is. What most people do, which I used to do back to step number one, is they would get the letter from the IRS and then that would elicit fear which is coming from the brain. And then my attention would be on Oh my God, IRS. Do they want money, do I have the money, do they want money? Do I have the money? Fear, fear, fear, fear, fear day number one, day number two, fear, fear, fear, fear, fear.
Day number two you know two and three people keep their attention on the fear. If you keep your attention on the fear, the fear expands. That's why you want to, step number two, have the awareness the fear is not me, it's my brain. And then step number three, move your attention. Because you are where your attention is. And then the final step where I go is Huh, letting it go. "I can let this go." And when you walk through this four step process which took me probably 10 minutes to take you through. But you can do it literally an under you know 30 seconds to a minute. When you walk, and I'll recap it again, when you walked with this four step process, that moves you out of the fear. Now, here's the great thing. Here's the amazing thing, is when you go into fear and you go through this process what happens is you bring yourself out of the fear. What your reptilian brain learns is I'm going to just give you some reptilian brain self talk, your brain learns this. Whoa, OK. Every time I put him in fear, he pulls himself out of fear. So you know what, I am not going to put him in fear anymore, which means you're reconditioning the brain. I'm not going to put him in fear anymore about X Y Z because every time I do, he pulls himself right out of it. So what is the point of putting him in fear anymore?
That's literally the unspoken dialogue. If there is such a thing as dialogue in the reptilian brain. All right. So let me recap here very quickly and we will wrap up this episode. Step number one and write this down if you're not driving and use it. I promise you the very first time you use this, you will find it to be effective. Step number one- Acknowledge. I am experiencing fear right now. That's number one. Step number two- shift your awareness. This is not me. It's my reptilian brain trying to protect me. I am going to disassociate from the fear. Step number three- let me move my attention. And I even say that, guys, verbally. I move my attention to _____. And I do verbalize that. I move my attention to you know what with the example that I've given you. I move my attention to you know what I have plenty of money in the bank. This letter means nothing to me. And then step number four- huh, I can let this go. And then I move my attention again to somewhere that is empowering and productive for me. All right. That's a very simple process that will get you out of here. And to recapitulate, the more that you use this, the more that you train your brain to no longer go into that fear. As I said already I promise, you start using this, now you're using the thinking part of your brain to quite literally take the reptilian reactive part of the brain- the protective, the fight or flight part of the brain, offline so that it can no longer sabotage you.
OK. So there's not a transformational takeaway this week in terms of questions. However. Your BIG TAKEAWAY from this particular episode is that you can eliminate your fear which is brain based for the most part with moving your attention and disassociation. You move your attention somewhere else and you disassociate and you do not personalize the fear. All right. So hopefully this was extremely extremely helpful to you. Go out and use it right away and stay tuned and keep listening. Because in the next episode you're going to learn Why your Bad Habits are so damn hard to break. If you're like most people, you've tried over and over and over and over to break your bad habits and you wonder why can't I break my bad habits? Well, a quick hand also is that is partly story. But a quick hand is that anytime you say you want to change anything really. I like I want to stop eating sugar. Well, what you're really saying is that you want to actually eliminate the habit of eating sugar. So in the next episode we're going to talk about how to actually why it's so hard and how to break your bad habits. Plain and simple is most people do not understand the mechanisms of habit and how your brain controls them. Because every habit you have comes from your reptilian part of the brain. And when you understand how your brain works and how willpower... which most of you probably try you try to will yourself to do something... how willpower works against you, it becomes super easy to change your habits. So make sure you listen to the next episode.
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