Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Fighting Fear #1

Fear of Spiders?

hy do some little boys steroid themselves into big boys with massive fists and a tsunami-like attitude? Would it have to do something with fear?

And might that fear have had its origins in a violent home?

I can weight-lift, do hundreds of push ups, rock the house with my kicks…and when I do that, I’m getting farther and farther away from what happened.  When I punched that guy in the face just now, and split his lip, I proved that I’m no longer a little kid who’s going to take the old man’s abuse. I’m in control now.

Fear can literally shape your life. It can dominate your posture, your voice, your very thinking…even when you’re in a safe place. Abused women know this all too well. An ex can be off in another city with an injunction slapped against him, and the woman will still live her life as if in a war zone.

Fear disgusts me. I experienced too much of it as a kid in school harassed by bullies – until I fought back. That’s why I work so much with children, building them up with techniques learned through the martial arts.

Because we can’t always lash out against people – and things – that instill fear in us, we can turn to the mind techniques of martial arts – and learn to drive fear out of our very core.
Here’s a very basic training program for overcoming fear. If you stick to it, you should be able to release that “frozen by fear” feeling within seconds.

Train at the same time and in the same place every day, even if it’s just,for instance, the corner of your dorm at college. Become familiar with every square inch of your space. Whether it’s only two feet by two feet, it’s your Dojo after all, your training hall.

Practise with a photo like this.
Source: www.livescience

Drill #1

1.  Sit or stand. Close your eyes. Identify the source of the fear.  If it’s personal or work-related, identify the person or the situation you often find yourself in.

2. Recall a face or faces, what was said, what was done.  If it’s a fear of heights, water, flying, etc. put yourself mentally in that situation.

3.  Use pictures to help you – of someone who looks like the person you fear.  Or it could be a photo of a snake, a spider. Whatever you fear most.

4.  Close your eyes.  Inhale slowly through the nose.  Exhale very, very slowly through the mouth.  Relax your arms and shoulders.  Sit comfortably.

5.  Bring the face, words, situation - whatever the source of the fear - up in your mind.  In other words, visualize the source.

6.  Tense the body as though you were going to panic.  Keep the eyes closed.

7.  Exhale very slowly.  Release the tension.  Let the muscles of your  face “drop” instantly.

8.  Tense again; release again - and so on.  Your mind and body are unlearning a fearful response and learning instead an instantaneous response of release and relaxation. 

Drill #2

1.  After two or three weeks of constant training while sitting down, move the drill beyond your home training area.  Start to conjure up the source of your fear at any time of the day. You don’t have to be sitting. You can stand or walk.

2. Concentrate on the source of the fear.

3.  Inhale/exhale as before - but don’t tense.  Simply “drop” your face and relax.  Your eyes remain open.

Drill #3

1.  This is a timed drill.  Stand or walk working on the source of the fear.  Release the fear for 10 seconds.

2. Increase by a second each time.  Small goals are easily achievable.

3.  Once you hit 5 - 10 minutes, your mind has started on the path of eradicating the fear.

Drill #4

1.  Place yourself close to the source if you can.  Practise hard around the source.

2. Now try the source itself.

3. How do you treat a set back - as a positive learning experience?  Boxers learn by sparring; race car drivers learn from spinning out. You will have set backs. But each time you do, you’ll find it easier to rebound.

After all, what would an “old school” martial arts teacher say to you if s(he) saw you shut down by a brief relapse? – “Train harder!”

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