Today’s post is a follow up of a blog post I wrote about “Turning Anxiety Into a Super Power”. I mentioned that change in my self-perception was one of the changes I made in my life to overcome the worst of my mental health issues.
If you want to read the post I just mentioned click on the link below:
What is Perception?
Perception is how we view ourselves and how we view others.
Your perception of something is the way you think about it or how you feel about it. For example how you perceive the world and everything around you has a direct effect on your thoughts, actions and behavior.
Also, your thoughts, actions and behavior are directly affected by how you perceive yourself.
What Is Self-Perception?
Self-Perception gives you an idea of who you are or who you think you are.
When you perceive yourself in a healthy way when you’re able to assess your strengths, weakness, talents and potential. Also, you have the ability to be honest with yourself, be true to who you are and take responsibility for your choices and action.
However, when you perceive yourself in an unhealthy way you may think you know yourself; you’re unsure of yourself and you tend to lie to yourself that everything is fine.
What Problems Occur Due To Unhealthy Self-Perception?
Numerous problems occur due to unhealthy self-perception including:
Distorted Self-Esteem: Self esteem refers to self-worth or self-respect. When you perceive yourself in an unhealthy way you can have low self esteem that causes you to feel defeated and depressed, along with failing to live up to your full potential.
Anxiety: Unhealthy self perception leads to an anxious mindset that warps the way you view the world and reality. Symptoms of anxiety include feeling nervous and always have feelings of impending doom. Anxiety is an alarm for triggering your fight-or-flight response.
Guilt: When you perceive yourself in an unhealthy way you feel an unhealthy amount of guilt. This includes anything are beyond your control, such as feeling guilty about someone’s low opinion of you.
Negative Self-Talk: Negative self-talk is any inner self talk and it’s best known as your inner critic. It can cause you to have limiting beliefs about your abilities and it reduces your ability to make positive changes in your life or your confidence in yourself to do so.
How Do You Improve Your Self-Perception?
It’s important look at why you perceive yourself in an unhealthy way. Factors such as stressful life events such as divorce or illness, past trauma or abuse, half baked goals or mental health problems play a role in our self-perception.
It is possible to face these problems and transform how you perceive yourself.
Tips For Improving Self-Perception
Here are Tips for Improving your self-perception:
Identify Your Perceptions: You can identify your perceptions by asking yourself certain questions. You’ll notice certain thoughts come to the surface that feel familiar or true to you. For example you can ask yourself a question such as “What do I always say about myself ?” thoughts pertaining to your self perception comes to the surface such as “I’m an a@#h&le”. Then it’s important to examine that perception you’ve identified and ask why it’s justified and why you think that way about yourself.
Listen To Your Inner Critic: It gets worse if you ignore or suppress your inner critic. Instead you should listen to your inner critic and take note of what it’s trying to tell you. At that point you have the opportunity to judge what your inner critic is trying to tell you, maybe it’s telling you to take the action you need to take.
Stop Ruminating: Rumination means to go over a negative thought or problem over and over. It’s important to keep your mind occupied if you start ruminating, along with learning about your triggers and question your thoughts.
Boost Your Self Esteem: There are a lot of ways to boost your self esteem. These include learning a new skill, challenging your limiting beliefs and stand at the edge of your comfort zone.
Get Outside Your Comfort Zone: Getting outside your comfort zone creates enough good stress to ramp up your focus, creativity and drive. It helps you to respond to life’s stresses when unexpected things happen.
Have You Ever Felt Like Your Self-Perception Affects YourLife?
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Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness characterized by mood episodes that alternate between mania/hypomania and depression.
If you’re feeling manic/hypomanic you may have symptoms such as an inability to sleep, anxiety, talking rapidly or taking too much work or responsibility.
When you’re feeling depressed it can manifest itself as sadness and lack of pleasure. However it can manifest itself as irritability, which is an often overlooked symptom of bipolar disorder.
What is Irritability?
Irritability or feeling irritable is a state of nervous excitement brought on by life’s stress. It’s a normal reaction if you’re feeling tired or sick, or if you’re feeling anxious.
However, it’s an indication of a bigger problem if you’re feeling extreme irritability or if you’re irritable for an extended period of time.
When you’re irritable for a prolonged period of time it can make you angry.
Irritability is slightly different than anger, it’s when you feel easily frustrated or impatient. Anger happens when you’re lashing out at others for feeling irritable for a long period of time.
What is Bipolar Irritability?
A consequence of extreme or prolonged irritability is a form of anger called bipolar rage.
Bipolar rage is anger that’s impulsive, intense, erratic and explosive. An example would be if you’re asked a simple question and responding with irrational anger.
This means that you’re lashing out for no logical reason, on those you love and care for you. This can damage relationships and also lead to job loss and other forms of self-sabotage.
How To Manage Bipolar Irritability?
It’s important to take a healthy approach when you’re experiencing irritability or anger. You’ll find that your relationships with others and your overall quality of life improves when you learn how to cope and manage your bipolar mood episodes.
Coping Strategies Include:
Sticking To a Treatment Plan: Irritability and anger can be effectively managed when you stick with a treatment plan. This includes talking to a therapist and taking medication.
Identify Your Triggers: It’s important to learn what your triggers are. These can be events, people or requests that can upset you. These include arguments with loved ones, stressful events such as losing a job or death in the family and good things can be triggers as well, such as getting a promotion or getting married.
Harness Your Negative Energy: If you feel like lashing out, but you want to avoid negative social interactions it helps to harness that negative energy. It can be done by taking deep relaxing breaths and feeling the weight being lifted off your shoulders, or if that’s not your thing start walking, jogging or even hiking to lift your spirits.
If you’re interested in learning about relaxation techniques please click on the button below and read a previous post about mindfulness:
Connect With Your Support Group: A support group can be family and friends that understand that you have bad days. Also, when you stay connected to your support network it can minimize the severity of depressive episodes.
How Do You Handle Irritability and Anger?
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Limiting beliefs was the topic of my previous blog post. They’re assumptions or perceptions about ourselves and the world around us that constrain us in some way. They shape our lives and they cause problems for our mental health, but we can overcome limiting beliefs.
How Are Limiting Beliefs Shaped?
Family Belief Systems
Relationships With Friends or Significant Others
It was past trauma caused by bullying and betrayal while growing up. However, I took steps to overcome that limiting belief.
Identifying The Limiting Belief
The first step I took was to identify a limiting belief that wasn’t serving me, “I can’t be my real self or I’ll be judged”. When I was growing up it was a struggled to fit in when I was in school.
The long-term effects of bullying include experiencing a wide range of emotions. These include feeling angry, bitterness, vulnerable, helplessness, frustrated, lonely and being isolated from your peers. The longer you’re bullied the odds of being depressed and anxious increases. Also, you develop self-esteem issues and can lead to social anxiety.
I wrote a post about how to overcome social anxiety. If you like to view it please click on the button below. This post describes social anxiety in more detail and on a deeper level.
Challenge The Limited Belief
The next step was to challenge my limiting belief. I started to become aware that it was not factual, I just believed it was factual. For example I believed that a friendship would fall apart just like when I was in school.
I examined the so-called facts and found that I blew them out of proportion and shaped them to form a false narrative.
When this happened I started to overcome social anxiety by questioning that false narrative.
Replace The Limiting Belief
The next step is to replace your old limiting belief with a new one. I’m using my own experience as an example. I identified and challenged my belief, “I can’t be my self or I’ll be judged”, and replaced it with, “It isn’t my job to please other people”. By doing this you’ll feel like a different person, however it’s important to strengthen your new belief.
How To Strengthen Your New Empowering Belief?
Our beliefs shape our identities and our behaviors. Also, our habits as well.
When you’re transitioning into your new belief you may feel fear and resistance. This may trigger an automatic urge to do an old habit. For example, if the transition is difficult you may find yourself engaging in negative self-talk such as “This is impossible” or “What’s the point” and then give up.
It’s interesting to note that giving up is not a habit. However, you may not be aware that you’re giving up because of habits such as fear of failure, underestimating yourself or others, procrastination or laziness.
When you become aware of these habits it’s important to identify them, challenge them and replace them. For example if you’re underestimating yourself it’s best to look into why you see yourself in that way. Then take action toward changing this habit by assessing your strengths, weaknesses and talents that make you more aware of your abilities or skill up your abilities.
It’s important to identify, challenge and replace a limiting belief. Also, change the bad habits that get in the way of your new empowering belief.
If you’re suffering from anxiety please click on the button below and download my free anxiety expert guide:
In my previous post the topic was about improving your unhealthy self-perception. However, I’d like to discuss something that’s a reflection of how you see yourself. I’m referring to limiting beliefs.
When you perceive or see yourself in a healthy way you’re more aware of who you are as a person. For example you’re more aware of your strengths, weaknesses, talents and potential and you take responsibilities for your thoughts and actions.
However, when you see yourself in an unhealthy way you’re more likely to be unsure of yourself and your abilities. This can manifest itself as a toxic belief system that inhibits your growth as a person.
If you want to refer back to my last post, please click on the button below:
What Are Limiting Beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are assumptions or perceptions about ourselves and the world around us that constrain us in some way.
We’re unaware that we end up impoverishing our lives when we follow these beliefs and this is due to a number of negative effects. They can keep us from making good decisions, taking advantage of new opportunities or reaching our full potential.
Limiting beliefs leave you stuck in a negative state of mind. They prevent you from living the life you want. However, have you wondered where limiting beliefs come from?
Where Do Limiting Beliefs Come From?
Different things that happen in our lives shape our limiting beliefs.
Things that shape limiting beliefs include the following:
Past Trauma: Something traumatic that happens to you as a child can remain stuck in your psyche. When this happens it’s like a record that skips and stops you in the same place over and over.
Your Family’s Belief System: The belief system of your family plays a role in how you view and interact with the world. For example if you’re from a family that values playing it safe in life you might be convinced that you’re not good enough to any other path.
Expectations From Family: You’re raised with certain expectations. For example you’re expected to go to college and get a 9 to 5 after graduation because it’s a safe option. However, you’re more interested in starting your own business, but underlying guilt about meeting expectations and fear of judgement from family can leave you feeling stuck.
Relationships With Friends and Significant Others: Limiting beliefs can impact how you view the world. For example if you were bullied as a child in school, betrayed by a friend or were cheated on by a significant other it causes you to see all people as untrustworthy.
Types Of Limiting Beliefs
According to Inc.com there are 3 types of limiting beliefs.
Unhealthy Beliefs About Yourself:
When you conclude that you’re a failure that won’t amount to anything in life, this belief will prevent you from being your best self.
Unhealthy Beliefs About Others:
There are limiting beliefs about everyone being out to get you, everyone is untrustworthy or manipulative it can be impossible to develop relationships.
Unhealthy Beliefs About The World:
If you believe that you can’t succeed, because the world is unfair and scary, then it will take a toll on you and make you feel stuck.
In my next post I’ll be offering tips for changing your limiting beliefs and this will include the story of my personal transformation after changing mine.
Have You Ever Had Limiting Beliefs?
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This post is the first part of a two part series on overcoming self-doubt.
What is Self-Doubt?
Self-Doubt is the lack of confidence in oneself and one’s abilities.
We have all been at that point in our lives where we’re questioning ourselves. Are we good enough? Are we capable of facing all of life’s uncertainties?
A certain amount of self-doubt is good. For example if you have self-doubt about how strong you are in a particular job skill can motivate you to always keep learning and growing in order to become the best you.
However, persistent fear and self-doubt can affect your life in a negative way.
What Causes Self-Doubt?
There are many causes of self-doubt including:
Past Experiences: Experiences from our past can shake and rattle our beliefs. If we keep referring back to bad experiences whether they were bad breakups or job losses we’ll doubt ourselves and our abilities when faced with similar situations in the future.
Childhood Trauma: Our habits and personalities are shaped by our upbringing. If you’re constantly being told that you’re not good enough or you’re bullied by your peers while in school you’ll always question yourself and your abilities as an adult.
Comparing Yourself To Others: Self-doubt kicks in when we start comparing ourselves to others. This is not always a bad thing, because sometimes comparing yourself to others causes you to look into what you lack in your life and find ways to improve yourself.
Fear Of Failure: Sometimes due to circumstances in our lives that are beyond our control such as illness or a bad economy we might experience setbacks and feel ashamed. It might cause us to fear failure and not take chances out of shame.
New Uncertain Challenges: If you’re experiencing a new challenge you’ve never faced it’s natural to have some self-doubt due to lack of experience.
My Experience With Self-Doubt?
Due to a childhood of stressful life experiences I ended up suffering from self-doubt made worse by Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Self-Doubt is not technically categorized as a mental illness, however it can spark anxiety and depression that can affect your life. It can lead to a negative thought pattern that can make you feel incapable of doing things that you need to do, making a mountain out of a mole hill when faced with the unknown and being unable to make clear decisions.
I overcame a lot of problems with self-doubt over the years with therapy and lifestyle changes. I wanted to share my experience with others who feel stuck and anxious about themselves, so I wrote a 5 Step Guide For Overcoming Negative Thinking.
In Part.2 I’ll be discussing how I overcame self-doubt.
By clicking on the button below you can download and purchase a copy of my new ebook:
It’s interesting to see the human response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve already discussed how being on lockdown is leading to more active sex lives, how some people cope with their anxiety through being creative and how some people are helping others in this crisis.
In part.4 I’ll be discussing how people respond to the pandemic through social media.
What is Social Media?
Social media is a term that used to describe websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram and Zoom.
Social Media! A Curse or a Blessing?
The consumption of social media has increased since the beginning of the pandemic. The role of social media has been paradoxical since this crisis started. It’s been a curse and a blessing at the same time.
It’s been a curse due to the large amount of misinformation about the pandemic that’s feeding into our anxiety. Also, before this crisis it was well documented that overuse of social media has been linked to low self-esteem, anxiety and depression.
However social media has been a blessing for many reasons as well.
Why is Social Media A Blessing?
Reasons Social Media is a Blessing Include:
Crowdsourcing: This involves seeking knowledge, goods or services from a large body of people through social media. Crowdsourcing is being used by organizations and individuals to raise funds to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
A Marketing Platform: Despite some companies preying on the COVID-19 mass hysteria, there are others providing powerful and empathetic responses to this crisis. The main responsibility of brands right now is to provide for the safety and wellbeing for not only their employees, but their customers as well.
A Source of Information: We never had more real time information available in the face of a worldwide event until now. Social media provides information that can provide us with a better understanding of what’s occurring and how it might impact us.
Virtual Medicine: Virtual medicine is helping to make access to healthcare more convenient and help those who are most vulnerable. People can see and talk to a doctor through their smartphone, tablet or computer instead of visiting the doctor’s office.
Keep In Touch With Family And Friends: Platforms such as Zoom make it easier to connect with family and friends remotely. Due to lockdown and social distancing many people can’t see their loved ones face-to-face, so they’re connecting via social media.
Working-At-Home: Social media is being used to keep remote workers connected with their employers while on lockdown.
Do You Use Social Media More While Under Lockdown?
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Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you. It is the strength you need to face pain or grief and the strength in the face of a tornado, an earthquake or the global coronavirus pandemic.
The word courage originated from the Old French word “corage”, from the Latin word “cor”, which means ”heart”.
Why is Courage Important?
Courage is important if you want to begin something that you want to do or when you have to face a crisis. It allows you to act despite being fearful.
Courage is important for putting aside your fear of failure; especially if you have to venture off into the unknown or if you want to go for what you want. It’s important for overcoming anxiety characterized by the fear of rejection or self doubt caused by negative self talk.
Courage is more important than confidence. Confidence is very important; it comes from believing you can do something, but courage on the other hand is doing something despite being fearful.
Courage and Confidence are like yin and yang, because they depend on one another. Without courage we never develop confidence and a confident person can be brought down when facing a crisis if it weren’t for courage.
Examples of Courage?
Courage can come in all shapes and forms. It could come from you standing up for someone who’s being bullied, asking your crush on a date, racing into a burning building to save someone’s life or being courageous in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
We’ve been seeing 24/7 news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. There’s been more of an emphasis on the negative things that many people have been doing in reaction to this crisis including attacking other people for their toilet paper or bottled water or the spreading of misinformation.
How about the awesome people who’ve been courageous since this crisis started?
There hasn’t been enough said about the moral courage from the doctors, nurses and other medical staff in the face of the intense challenges they’ve been facing and the one’s they’re facing right now.
Dr Helen Chu?
It was reported that in Seattle, Washington of epidemiologist Dr. Helen Chu demonstrated great moral courage by reporting critical data to health officials despite being told by federal authorities not to. There was a group of study participants she wanted to test for coronavirus to determine if it had arrived in Washington state, however she was denied authorization.
Despite being denied Dr. Chu still had an ethical obligation and went ahead with the testing anyway and found a teenager had tested positive for the virus despite not traveling abroad or contact history, demonstrating community spread. This information was sent to a public health official just before this teen was sent back to school. Even after all that the federal government served her with a cease and desist order.
Volunteers Rescuing Pets?
Here is a more lighthearted example of courage. There was a news story from Spain that I saw about pets that were left behind due to their owners getting sick with the coronavirus. A group of volunteers from the kindness of their hearts looked after these abandoned pets. If and when their owners recover and are released from the hospital they will be reunited with their pets.
How To Become More Courageous?
The examples written above show why courage is a universally admired quality that’s very important to have.
Ways To Become More Courageous Include:
Face The Fear of the Unknown: Becoming more courageous can be as simple as finding the cause of your fear, questioning what the cause of it is, accepting it, riding the wave of fear and learning to embrace change.
Use Relaxation Techniques: Fear can be paradoxal; a little bit of fear can amp you up and transform you into your best self and at the same time too much fear can shut you down and leave you stuck. It’s important to keep your physiological responses in check and this can be achieved by using relaxation techniques such as tactical breathing and mindful meditation.
Learn New Skills: There are many scenarios that involve risk and danger, it pays to develop a wide range of skills such as self-defense and first aid, to automotive repair and the ability to speak a foreign language. The more knowledge of what to do when trouble arises the braver a person you will be.
Think of Yourself Less: The more egocentric you are, the more scared you’re going to get about taking action. Egocentrism can lead to someone becoming more self-conscious about what other people think of them when and if they make a decision. This way of thinking leads to fear and anxiety that leads to decision paralysis and inaction.
Form Closer Relationships: Being from a culture that’s individualized and atomized (fragmented) we’re taught that drawing strength from being part of a group is something that’s negative. In reality it can be the opposite, because having close friends and family can cause you to act in a more positive and courageous way when a crisis occurs.
Do Something New Once a Week: At least once a week engage in something that will make a little nervous or scared in order to keep you outside your comfort zone. This can include something simple as eating out at a restaurant that is unfamiliar, hiking on an unfamiliar trail, traveling to an unfamiliar place or studying something that is challenging.
Lean Into Your Role: An effective way to become less self-conscious is to start thinking about the actions you need to take to transition into your more courageous self. Overtime when you lean into the role that you need to be to help others it’s no longer just about you.
How Courageous Are You?
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What is Decision Making? It’s the process of deciding something based on a logical choice from available options.
When we’re trying to make a decision we take a look at the positives and negatives of the options available, along with considering the possible alternatives.
After looking at the available options we also must be able to forecast the outcome of the final decision.
An important factor that’s overlooked that affects decision making is being aware or mindful of our own thoughts and emotions.
Why is Good Decision Making Important?
The cornerstone of good leadership skills is the ability to make a decision and stick to it.
Decision making is an ongoing process in every business regardless of size and also in our personal lives as well.
Having critical thinking skills allows us to approach a problem and decide on a solution that is beneficial to not only yourself, but to other members of your organization or those close to you in your personal life.
What Influences Our Decisions?
There are a lot of factors that we’re not aware of that can influence the decisions we’re making.
These factors include:
Our Thoughts and Emotions:Our own thoughts and emotions can affect our decisions, not only the nature of those decisions, but also the speed in which they’re made. If your judgement is off due to negative thoughts that lead to anger and make you impatient and cause you to make rash decisions.
Being Hungry: It’s interesting that feelings or states of being can spill over from one area to another. This occurs a lot with our physical desires, for example when we feel hungry or thirsty it can affect the decision areas of our brains. We can feel more desire for big rewards and this can motivate us to make higher risk choices and keep wanting more.
Quality of Ventilation: This is important, because the physical environment can have an effect on our physical and mental health along with our cognitive health. For example when the level of CO2 in your workplace is increased it can cause a decrease in cognitive and mental abilities and lead to poor decision making. It’s a good idea that your work environment has adequate ventilation and plants to decrease CO2 levels.
Number of Choices: Sometimes our ability to make decisions can be affected by the number of choices we have in front of us. When we’re presented with two or more choices it’s easy to look at the pros and cons of each choice. However, if we’re bombarded with endless choices whether we’re car shopping, using dating apps or entertainment apps it leads to a paradox of choice than makes decision making more difficult.
Past Experiences: This is an interesting one. Past experiences can impact present and future decision making. These include events that happened when you’re younger that shape the way you think, act and interact with people close to you.
Familiarity: Making decisions based on factors that are familiar with is deeply entrenched in our minds without being aware of it. We not only like things we’re familiar with, but we fear and judge anything that is different.
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How Being Mindful Leads To Better Decision Making?
Decision making is not always as simple as saying “yes” or “no” and it’s not always a thoughtful or cognitive exercise, instead it can be an impulsive reaction to satisfy immediate needs.
We make decisions everyday about what we eat, when we leave for work, how often we check our smartphones or what assignment to complete. We also make crucial decisions that affect ourselves and others. Many people are not aware how important day-to-day decisions really are until they make the wrong ones.
Sometimes we fear the unknown so much that we make bad decisions due to fear and anxiety.
Conventional decision making can only take you so far, so it’s important to learn about mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the environment around us.
Mindfulness is one of the most powerful tools for understanding your mind and focusing your attention. It can be applied in many ways including:
Mindful Breathing: Mindfulness involves focusing your attention on your breathing. When you’re focusing on the rise and fall of your chest or the sensation through your nostrils your breath becomes an object of concentration when you start becoming aware of your mind’s tendency to jump from one thought to another.
Finding Your Purpose: Mindfulness makes you more aware of your purpose which leads to a greater sense of direction, a valued sense of self and a more meaningful life. Once you know your purpose you get to decide whether saying “yes” or “no” to a decision will ultimately serve your purpose.
Making Informed Decisions: Mindfulness can make the decision making process a thoughtful and cognitive exercise by making us aware of our impulsivity. For example, it’s important to be informed of the full impact of a decision before it’s made rather than be impulsive and regret your decision.
Finding Balance Between the Heart and the Brain: Overtime we’ve become more reliant on the human brain alone for day to day decisions. It was never meant to be the main source of wisdom and decision making. It has tendencies to push the human body past healthy limits and may result in fear, doubt and insecurities. In my previous post I mentioned that mindfulness puts an emphasis on dropping into your heart space, by doing that the brain and heart balance each other out. The brain receives the information that we make decisions from and the heart incorporates wisdom to help make good decisions.
Love is a set of emotions that stem from feelings of strong or constant affection, protectiveness and respect for another person.
Love can also be used to describe non-human relationships including the love for your pets, love for political freedom or love for whatever higher power you believe in.
Benefits of Love:
Fewer Doctor’s Visits
Natural Pain Control
Lower Blood Pressure
Heal Faster After An Illness
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Falling in Love vs. Loving Someone
When you fall in love, it is a feeling that makes you want to be with someone. The initial spark that causes two people to fall in love is due to numerous factors including physical chemistry, sexual attraction and shared interests that lead to compatibility.
There’s a difference between falling in love and loving someone, but we use the word love to describe both. Falling in love can stem from feelings of infatuation, lust and obsession and after we fall in love feelings develop on the surface after you both start talking, holding hands, hugging and kissing each other.
Symptoms of falling in love include:
Loss of Appetite
Increase in Anxiety
The complex set of feelings that develop when you fall in love may last or they may not. Also, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll love that person forever, but the initial phase is a trigger for taking action.
When you truly love someone it goes beyond those initial feelings of infatuation, lust and obsession that leads to surface feelings. Over time you have a desire to see them grow, you start looking past their flaws and you start to motivate, encourage and inspire one another.
Why Do Some People Fear Falling in Love?
The most interesting thing about love is that it has something in common with fear. Both love and fear are governed by the hormone oxytocin.
What is Oxytocin?
Oxytocin is best known as the love hormone. It is secreted by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain when you’re bonding with someone whether you’re initially falling in love, cuddling, making out or hugging. Overtime it can make you feel like going all the way.
It’s interesting that oxytocin also goes to work when something socially stressful or horrible happens to you. When this happens the oxytocin enhances your memory of the event and sometimes the bad memory might be a past relationship that makes you fearful of falling in love again.
Reason why falling in love can be scary include:
Cynicism About Love: Cynicism or being cynical is a belief that people are motivated purely by self-interest and this leads to a general distrust of others. There’s a lot of cynicism about love; it’s part of a defensive posture we take to protect ourselves from being hurt. This can stem from a previous relationship when one partner cheats on the other and betray their trust and the anger and bitterness can make them fearful and cynical about love.
Fear of Being Vulnerable: Fear of vulnerability occurs when you’re afraid to open up emotionally partly due to fear of rejection or abandonment. This fear over time turns into a metaphorical wall that you build around yourself to minimize the risk of being hurt again. Also, a new relationship is uncharted territory and we are naturally fearful of the unknown because of the risk involved.
Unrealistic Expectations: Many fear falling in love again is due to a previous relationship falling apart because of unrealistic expectations. These unrealistic expectations can include one partner becoming fixated on making their partner conform to their idea of perfection and overtime this makes their partner resentful overtime. Some say that romantic comedies create a warped sense of how perfect relationships should be; expectations include love at first sight, real love is proven through grand romantic gestures, you’ll find someone who will complete and worst of all the expectation that every problem will magically disappear as soon as you enter a relationship. Also, these unrealistic expectations sometimes cause us to think that we’re not perfect or good enough to love someone.
Fear of Losing Them: The more someone means to us the more afraid we are of losing that person. This is a normal feeling to have, but it becomes a problem when you become preoccupied with loss and abandonment. When you allow this fear to consume you it will make you fearful toward getting close to someone.
Fear of Losing Yourself: Some see falling in love as a loss of our wholeness and our independence.
TheIssues That Plague Modern Relationships
The way a lot of our generation sees relationships is not how our grandparents viewed them. Instead of describing love as something that you need to nurture like a flower and letting it grow, a lot of our generation describes love as a virus that you don’t want to catch.
We have a bad habit of falling in love too quickly, we start fighting too quickly and worst of all we give up on relationships too quickly.
Instead of taking responsibility for the flaws that make us who we are we force others to accept them and at the same time we expect others to change for us.
Biggest Problems Facing Modern Relationships Include:
Lack of Communication Between Partners: Since the main form of communicating between partners is texting other forms of communication have been cast aside such as talking on the phone and also listening.
Commitment Issues: Commitment issues in relationships are nothing new, but in modern relationships some see long-term commitment as a trap.
Influence of Dating Sites and Social Media: Dating sites and social media have led to FOMO (the fear of missing out). There’s something called the paradox of choice that causes decision paralysis when we’re constantly waiting for someone better to come along.
Constantly Chasing After Excitement: A lot of our generation craves newness or novelty. This is true when we’re looking for love and when we frequently meet someone new it excites us.
Manipulation: Relationships are supposed to be a shared emotion. However there are many one-sided relationships in which the person who could possibly care less about it and they know the other person would do anything to save the relationship. Forms of manipulation include guilt trips, passive-aggression, gas lighting, selectively showing affection and lying.
Everyone is Looking For “The One”: Unrealistic expectations about love cause us to fear inperfection and causes us to wait for “the one”. Many people do find the one, but others wait too long and they end up losing their window of opportunity.
Also, many of us are finding ourselves asking questions including:
“What is the point of getting married?”
“Is there someone better out there?”
“What does this text from my significant other or crush mean?”
“Do I want to be financially tied down to my partner”
“When will my partner grow up and stop playing video games?”
Love is something that was already scary and complicated. As the world grows more scary and complex due to changes in society, the economy and technology it may make people more fearful of love because of the potential consequences associated with modern relationships.
What To Do About Your Fear of Love?
Approach Love With Realistic Expectations: I mentioned above that we have unrealistic expectations about love and relationships. We expect instant gratification, but in reality bonding with someone takes time. We expect relationships to be easy, but they’re really hard. We expect a prince/princess, however it’s realistic to accept that people have flaws.
Get Out of Your Head: The phrase “being in your head” is a general metaphor for overthinking or overanalyzing something. Being in our heads too much leads to obsessive negative thinking that causes depression and anxiety. This negative thinking can cause us to doubt ourselves, and cause us to doubt whether the person who loves us loves us back and start questioning whether we’re worthy of love. The first step toward getting out of heads is reframing our negative thinking mentally reciting a mantra and sticking with it, for example if we’re frequently thinking that “We’re not good enough” can be replaced with “I’m an awesome person”. Also, it helps to keep your mind occupied as much as possible with activities that relax the mind such as hands-on hobbies such as woodworking, writing or cooking.
Seek Out Someone Who Shares the Same Relationship Values: One reason modern relationships are so fragile is confusing love with other feelings such as lust when we first fall in love. Also, modern relationships have lost sight of important factors such as mutual trust, compromise, dedication, patience and sacrifice, along with a factor frequently overlooked shared values. The values I’m referring to are trust, commitment, same lifestyle, same or similar beliefs and a general understanding of the same things.
Change Your Perspective About Your Fear: I mentioned in my previous blog post about fear is a condition about being afraid of something or being worried about a specific outcome. Fear can be a scary thing and hold you back from taking that step you need to take toward something positive. For example, the fear of rejection and the fear of failure can cause someone to become emotionally paralyzed and cause self-doubt. However, fear itself is not necessarily a bad thing it has a positive side. The fear of rejection and the fear of failure can be reframed, so they can teach us how to do better by reconsidering our goals and remind us that we’re human and that we make mistakes.
Fear is an unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, whether it’s real or imagined.
Fear is a powerful emotion that is critical for keeping us alive by alerting us to the presence of danger. It’s a universal emotion experienced by everyone all over the world.
What Causes Fear?
Fear is a complex emotion that can be the result of past experiences or trauma. Sometimes it can be the result of the loss of control over a particular situation where there is a perceived sense of danger.
Common Fear Triggers:
Darkness or Loss of Visibility of Surroundings
Lack of Awareness
Heights of Flying
Social Interactions and/or Rejection
Snakes, Rodents, Spiders and other Animals
Death and Dying
How Fear Affects Your Mind and Body?
The region of the brain called the amygdala is where the fear response starts. The body then goes through changes that prepare us to be more efficient in a situation of perceived danger. For example, the brain becomes hyper alert, pupils dilate, the bronchi dilate and breathing accelerates and heart rate and blood pressure rise.
Fear is an emotion that is divided into two responses:
Biochemical: In a biochemical reaction our bodies respond to a perceived threat in specific ways. These are universal reactions that include physical reactions such as sweating, increased heart rate and high adrenaline levels that make us more alert. This physical response is also known as the “fight or flight” response in which our bodies prepare themselves to either face a perceived danger or run away from it. This is an automatic response that is crucial to our survival.
Emotional: The emotional response of fear tends to be highly personalized. The chemical reactions in our brain that are involved in positive emotions like happiness and excitement are also involved in fear. For example feeling fear under certain circumstances can be seen as fun, such as a ride on a roller coaster.
Ways To Overcome Fear
How do you overcome fear?
Acclimation: Acclimation is the repeated exposure to similar situations that leads to familiarity. This forms the basis for the treatment of phobias by helping to minimize the fear response.
Systematic Desensitization (SD): This is a behavioral technique used to treat fear, along with underlying anxiety and phobias. It’s a slow and gradual process that takes an average of 6 to 8 sessions and the longer the technique the more effective it is.
Flooding: This is an exposure technique that’s based on the premise that your fear is a learned behavior and you need to unlearn it. It involves intense one day sessions of only one day where a patient faces what they fear immediately until their anxiety decreases vs. multiple sessions with Systematic Desensitization. Since only one session is needed flooding costs less than SD, however flooding is also seen as less ethical due to the intense psychological distress during the one day sessions.
If you are struggling with fear and anxiety please download my free anxiety expert list by clicking on the link below:
Shifting Your Perspective About Fear
Along with seeking therapy to help overcome fear it also helps to know what purpose that fear serves.
There are some people that live their lives in fear; this can result in chronic anxiety that leads to a life that tends to be a small and shrunken substitute for what it could’ve been all because they’re afraid their fear will cause them to fail, to be hurt or freeze up when exposed to the unknown.
What if you stop and realize that just like every other force in the universe fear serves a purpose.
The purpose of fear is to motivate action not to cause us to freeze up when an unknown situation comes up. For example an animal that senses that danger is nearby is not going to escape from it by freezing up, instead it puts into action avoidance, preparation and an increase in concentration.
Fear will often arise when you’re trying something new due to great gains and losses being at stake. When this fear occurs some people may stop and think about what the purpose of what they fear and then proceed no further. Others may stop and think about it then proceed with more courage.
What is Courage?
Courage is the ability to do something or confront something that causes you pain, grief or uncertainty. It listens to fear, but at the same time not undermined by it.
The courage to move forward into the unknown has the benefit of increasing our level of consciousness and focus, which leads to more wisdom to overcome fear instead of seeing it as something that has control over your life.