When our bodies become stressed, it elevates our bodies cortisol levels. Cortisol is released in response to fear or stressful situations by the adrenal glands as part of the fight-flight-freeze mechanism. Elevated levels are known to interfere with our memory, learning, immune function and also has the ability to increase weight, bloody pressure, cholesterol and heart disease. High cortisol levels increase the risk for depression and mental health illness. Fear increases cortisol levels in our bodies, which can be dangerous and damaging to our health. Participating in regular physical activity decreases fear by increasing self-confidence and resilience, therefore reducing cortisol levels in the body.
Fear is a strong emotion that has the ability to hold us back in life and from reaching our goals and full potential. The emotion becomes a barrier that hinders our progression and prevents us from learning and growing as an individual. Fear can come in many forms; fear of loss, fear of moving on, fear of moving forward, fear of change, fear of failure and a fear of being alone. Over the years I have had many conversations with victims and survivors of abusive relationships. One of the questions I ask during our conversation is why do you stay? Their response is not, because I am happy, I am in a loving respectful relationship, my partner brings out the best in me. No, the answer comes down to a fear of being alone. Why are we sacrificing our own happiness? Why are we allowing fear to control our lives and moving forward?
Bad experiences or being in a similar situation or familiar environment can be a trigger for the fear response and can often cause instant panic and a fear induced adrenalin dump in preparation to fight, flight or freeze response. To fight fear, we need to face it, acknowledge the emotion, explore why we feel fear so that we are better able to respond to it. Often writing down our emotions can help identify why we feel what we feel. Some people find it difficult, uncomfortable or confronting to talk about their emotions, so writing them down is a less intrusive way to explore your emotions.