Fear, Stress and You!

I am traveling with family this week. One of my daughters is getting married on Saturday. I will be using my Smart Phone which is smarter than me to post pictures at www.facebook.com/garey.simmons – look for some fun shots.


When I travel, I ruminate. Perspective is very different when you are not in your own comfortable environment.

Nationally, the country seems weak and indecisive, divided and disjointed. The markets shed all gains for 2011 in the space of a week. Fear of the future seems to be the order of the day.

I was preparing a talk for my Toastmasters Club called “What Holds Us Back.” In the realm of public speaking there is a lot of fear. It’s often said that a lot of people would rather die than get up in front of an audience. One lady said, “I would rather sleep with snakes.” Now there’s a fearful image.

So I wanted to break down for my club members exactly what is fear, where does it come from and how it reacts in the body and how it affects health.

My passion, my concern and my business is about health, yours and mine.

Fear of course is physiological and psychological. It is perceived danger and that danger could be physical like “the cougar is about to pounce on you and eat you”, but more often its emotional, anticipated pain that may be anchored into your being by past events that are tied to being hurt in the past.

Fear of course is our friend. It keeps us from doing dangerous, stupid things. Walking on Fire. (Done.) Bungee Jumping. (Done.) Sky Diving (George Bush Sr. did it on his 80th birthday). It provokes the Fight or Flight Response, which releases adrenaline and gives us instant strength and energy to tackle an intruder, run for our life, allows grandmothers to lift cars off of toddlers, heightens all physical responses to near instantaneous reaction. Your fears are to be respected and acknowledged, but not to be completely dominate you. You have choice and you have the majesty of deciding your action. Training in sky diving, scuba diving, first responder rescue teams all learn how to control their natural fears and turn that juice into something more useful.
If you were to break it down, fear is asking the question “What if….” Followed by a negative statement. What if I fail? What if the stock markets crash? What if I forget my speech? What if am not strong enough? What if I can’t make it?

The stress created from fear if not handled can be detrimental to your health. Over stimulation of the adrenals will cause fatigue and physical malfunction. Circuits overload and the overreaction becomes the dominant thread. Fortunately there is an easy way to overcome blatant fears that are unwarranted.

The key, the secret that trained Navy Seals and trained public speakers hold in common is the ability to frame the question differently. It’s really as simple as FLIPPING THE QUESTION: Turning the question on its ear, reframing the question or changing the context.

What if I succeed? What if we win? What if I deliver my message which helps a lot of people? What if I find the strength? What if I learn not to quit? What if I learn to be bold? What if I overcome and take charge?

Fear is an energy release. A slight shift from using the words, “I am afraid” and slightly altering the sensation to “Wow, I am excited.” The difference between fear and excitement is a very thin and fine line.

Here is my action list to abate fear:
• Be bold
• Act quickly
• Be decisive
• Commit to action

In business, I always think of what is the shortest distance between point A and point B. How can I get there quicker? How can I make it easier for my customers?

It’s the same in other parts of life. Be bold, act quickly, decisively and commit to action. We won’t always succeed. But, the only people who never fail are those that never act! I close with Rudyard Kipling’s Poem …(on of my favorites)

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Be well,


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