By Lydia Wilson
For the Bali times
KEROBOKAN ~ Some fears are logical and most are highly illogical. Illogical fears – such as fear of flying in an airplane, fear of public speaking, fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), fear of spiders and fears of open spaces (agoraphobia) and so on – can cause a lot of problems in our lives. Some may also prevent us from achieving our goals.
As one of our subconscious mind’s functions is to protect us, when a situation arises and reminds our subconscious that it’s dangerous, it warns us by creating the feelings of anxiety or fear or leads to a panic attack. All it’s trying to tell us is to get ourselves out of the situation or not let ourselves be in it.
The most confusing part of it is when we consciously do not know why we have this illogical fear, as it doesn’t make any sense at all to us, and to make it worse, a lot of people who do not feel the same way don’t understand us. Sometimes they laugh at us and tease us about it.
I know someone who faints as soon as she sees a mouse. It’s confusing for her, because logically she knows that a mouse cannot harm her, that it runs away when it sees her.
Most of our illogical fears were created in our childhood. As they happened a long time ago, our conscious mind has forgotten about them, but our subconscious never forgets.
Although as an adult we know that logically there is nothing to be fearful about, but as the imprint within our subconscious has accepted that it’s dangerous for us, and as our subconscious is so much more powerful that our logical mind, it’s hard to overcome the feeling, and sometimes it’s even downright impossible to fight it with willpower alone.
I had a 47-year-old client who came to see me for her illogical fear of birds. She told me she was particularly fearful of birds that flap their wings. The day before she came to see me, she had a panic attack when she saw a sparrow trapped on the landing of the stairways where she lived. As the bird was scared of her, it started to frantically fly around, trying to get out.
Although logically she knew that the sparrow could not harm her, but as her fear of it was so great, she felt the panic and she was paralyzed with fear. She couldn’t run. All she could do was squat in a corner, covering her head and face with her hands, and she couldn’t stop herself from screaming. Luckily her maid was with her and got the bird off the landing.
Upon regression, we found out that her imprint of “bird is dangerous” was created when she was five years old. She used to stay at her grandmother’s house at weekends. Her grandmother had a stuffed owl standing on a shelf in her living room. As a child, she felt scared of it because it looked mean and scary. She felt the owl’s big glass eyes were staring and following her wherever she went.
Her grandmother also used to have birds in cages and whenever my client passed them, the birds inside that were scared of her would fly around with their wings flapping frantically and bang their bodies against the sides of the small cages in their effort to try to get out. But in her young mind, she thought that the birds were trying to get out to attack her. It was then that the imprint was created. Remembering it again and releasing the fear from the five-year-old self, she straight away overcame her fear.
You probably have heard this saying before: “The biggest fear in this world is fear itself.” Fear is mostly acted out in our mind. And we don’t need to be in the situation that we feared to be able to release it. We can simply do an exercise in our mind; it’s much easier, and safer, too.
There are a number of effective methods you can use to overcome your fears. It can be done by seeing a hypnotherapist, who can help you through regression to find out when the imprints were created and letting it go from there.
Or you can do it yourself by self-hypnosis, to desensitize the feeling through visualization work.
Here is one of the most effective methods I use with clients to assist them in immediately overcoming their fears.
Think of the fear that you wish to overcome. Make a list of at least eight situations in order of least fearful to most fearful and to the feeling of safety again.
For example: To overcome the fear of flying in an airplane, you could write down these 12 situations on your list:
1. Driving to the airport to take a flight; 2. Checking in at the flight desk; 3. Walking into the boarding lounge; 4. Boarding the plane; 5. Sitting down on the seat inside the airplane; 6. The door of the airplane is closing; 6. The plane is taking off; 7. The plane is flying; 8. The turbulence warning light is on; 9. Feeling the plane moving up and down during turbulence; 10. Feeling the plane is really bumpy from the very strong turbulence; 11. The plane is landing; 12. The door opens and safely getting off the plane.
Create a safe place in your mind – in a quiet place, sit down and close your eyes. Focus your attention on your breathing; do this until you feel relaxed and peaceful. Imagine yourself in a place where you feel most comfortable, relaxed and safe. It could be a place that makes you feel good and safe that you have had in the past, or you can invent one. Imagine yourself as if you are there now and feel the feeling of how relaxed, comfortable and safe you are.
Identify this feeling – see with your mind’s eye where this feeling is in your body. If it’s a good feeling, you will usually feel it in your chest area. Notice its shape, such as square or oval or round, etc. Notice its color – whether it’s bright or dark. Good feelings are usually bright. Is it moving and light or is it solid and heavy? Good feelings are usually moving and light. Notice also the temperature of it, and the emotion it brings. Does it make you feel good and safe when you are feeling it? If it does, this is your safe place.
Proceed by taking a deep breath and make this feeling 10 times bigger and brighter within your body. Another deep breath and make it 20 times bigger and brighter. Spread it all over and fill up your whole body with it and feel the vibration of this feeling getting stronger in your body.
Keep this safe feeling in you and start to imagine yourself being in situation number one on your list. Notice your feelings as you are imagining this situation. If you feel even the slightest fear or anxiety, go back to your safe place and imagine you are there again, feeling it again. Increase this feeling by taking deep breaths and bringing the safe feeling to situation number one again and repeat the process backwards and forwards until you completely feel safe, secure and comfortable in this situation.
Go back to your safe place and increase the feeling and bring it to situation number two on your list. Repeat backwards and forwards until you feel completely safe. Continue the exercise until you have finished all the situations on your list.
Notes: Only proceed to the next situation on your list after you have felt completely comfortable and safe to be in that situation. Always start at the safe place before you go on the next situation on your list.
I hope you will find this self-hypnosis method useful for you to achieve freedom from fears. If you have questions, please feel free to email me.
Till next week, love and light.
Lydia Wilson is a transpersonal hypnotherapist and trainer based in Kerobokan, Bali. If you have a question you would like answered in this column, write to Lydia at email@example.com. For more go to www.bluelight7.com.