What frightens you? The dark? Snakes? Spiders? The unknown? Scary things trigger familiar feelings. Our first response is usually to keep absolutely still. Then we run away, as fast as we can.
Both of these reactions helped our ancestors stay safe. Dangerous animals see movement more clearly than they see shapes. Ancient people survived attacks by keeping perfectly still and then seeing their chance, made a mad dash to safety.
Buried deep within your skull, on each side of our head, are the amygdalae. Each amygdala senses threat before you are even aware of it. By the time you are aware of danger, you may already be running! How fascinating is that?!
Your body is then flooded with hormones to prepare you for action. There are six amazing things that happen. I will mention only two.
Your pupils get bigger and you lose vision around the edges. This helps you spot threats in dim light. It also helps you concentrate on the danger staring you in the face. Crazy awesome!
The other thing is your amazing spleen. I know, right? Yes, your spleen, a deeply ignored important little organ (sorry spleen). In a state of fear, the spleen makes extra red blood cells. These cause blood to clot, stopping bleeding in case you are injured. What???
We are so amazingly made.
Fear is often described with an acronym; False Evidence Appearing Real. I agree. Most often, fear is simply that, worry about what might be.
However, occasionally fear is this acronym; Freakin’ Events Are Real. I’m all about positivity. I have been called a pollyanna. But I am also a realist. There ARE things to fear. And when those real fears appear, remember how amazingly made you are and trust your strong body and mind.
Plato said “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
Another acronym for fear is Failure Expected And Received. Ah…now we are getting to real fear.
May we fear truly frightening things and not fear ideas and worries. Let us continue moving away from the dark. Step toward the light and embrace it fully.
Happy Halloween! Better yet, Lux et Veritas!