Meditate to control the fears – Clarí

Fear is an emotional response which is a basic human being. But be careful: it is not exclusive of the human being. The animal world also activates a sense protective against real threats to the environment that may well be called fear, because physiological correlates are the same as ours: increased sympathetic function of our autonomic nervous system, such as perspiration, temperature and heart rate.

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Therefore and make no mistake about it, the fear is an adaptive function of living beings. But here is where the fork of the roads, in the type of threat that it represents. Because while animals only react to real threats to the environment, the human being can activate the signal of fear to internal events like thinking or emotion. So, imagine that we are giving a class in front of a large auditorium, and people were laughing at us or you can give us a heart attack in the middle of the subway is something only the man does.

The brain that processes fear

The human brain (and especially what we call the limbic brain) not only generates reactions to the external situations, but you can do it with any image or thought to the past or the future. This has been the product of its development throughout the centuries, in such a way that you can redo the past or anticipate the future with an imaginative effort, and to add to that excitement. So, if we steal into the corner of our house we will feel fear, but if a few days after you pass by the same place and we anticipate mentally the possibility of that happening again, we also generate fear. It is a fear anticipatory, protective.

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The bachelor Juan Pablo Kovacevic, of the clinical Anxiety of Ineco, tells us that “some heavy hitters of cognitive therapy, such as Beck, Emery and Greenberg, postulated that the fear is the assessment that there is a danger, an imminent threat, whereas anxiety is the emotional response that accompanies fear, and that is characterized by the inclusion of other cognitive factors such as the aversividad perceived, to the ultimate uncontrollability, uncertainty and vulnerability.” Basically, members of the same family.

Treat the dysfunctional fear

As proposed, the fear has a vital role to protect us from the threat by activating the fight or flight response, but that, as John says Paul, “today tends to be exaggerated, if not inappropriate”. And he continues: “This is so, that this state of activation body and anxious thoughts gives rise to many manifestations which, crossed a certain threshold, it can give rise to psychopathological disorders”. And there start the problems, because we live in an era where the diagnostics associated with the fear (stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, panic and sometimes depression) have grown enormously.

Unfortunately, not all therapies are effective in the treatment of pathological fear. Many people who come to our institute have been wandering by various treatments, which do not use more than the therapeutic dialogue (and not concrete strategies and progressive approach the problem) to overcome it.

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A therapy that constitutes a first-line treatment (i.e., first use) and proven efficacy for the treatment of disorders related to fear and anxiety when they become pathological is cognitive behavioral therapy. To the Degree Kovacevic, “to corroborate together with the patient how what you think influences how you feel and what action, if implemented, will help to develop greater flexibility in the interpretation of various situations and stimuli, which impacts both on their emotions as on their behavior. Behavioral techniques enable you to to turn generate new learning’s that come in frank contradiction with the previously acquired, allowing, through repeated exposures controlled and previously agreed upon with the patient, the same situation occurs every time a less emotional reaction; in this way you learn to give a different valuation to that which before us produced an intense response of fear.

And what about the mindfulness, is it?

What place has the mindfulness training in the approach of the pathological fear? Our continued work in the Department of Psychotherapy of Ineco gives us some important clues about it. One of them is that generally it is desirable that the person, before starting a workout, make an approach to psychotherapy. And while the more severe the symptoms, the more careful we must be in the intervention that we do. For example phobias, panic and some disorders obsessive where it appears certain pathological fear of (the pollution, the loss of control, etc) need to be addressed from a cognitive treatment before coming to mindfulness. Is the program based in meditation is not as specific for the treatment of this symptomatology, but that it points to a vision and perception more “kind and compassionate” of fear and of the effects which it produces in us. The symptoms, “strong”, as the panic (sometimes notably intense to the patient) should be contained with other techniques and, eventually, with the help pharmacological in the most serious cases. Only with time, perhaps we can start these people on the practice of some techniques of mindfulness.

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The fears associated to crisis vital (problems of any kind, work, family, etc) yes can be addressed from the mindfulness, learning to explore them with curiosity, and controlling the aversion that we produce that would normally be associated with the confrontation of new responsibilities or major changes. In these cases, we will expand our gaze from people who are suffering in the face of uncertainty, the failure or the vulnerability of our human condition and that feeds our attitude, resilient.

Suddenly, we’re discovering our greatness, and we venture to penetrate the “darkness” of our being to trascendernos and become full human beings with full capacity to love and to discern what is best for our lives.

*Martin Reynoso is a psychologist and coordinator of Mindfulness in INECO.


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