How Fear Affects the Brain

The Physiological Pathway to "Dumbing Down"

With every passing day it feels more and more like we are living in a dystopian world. For most people it feels like the “end of the world”, literally. What we are seeing everyday is the stuff of conspiracy theories, except we are actually living it now.

Is it really a surprise to anyone that some of us are actually questioning the narrative? As much truth as is right in front of our faces it is bizarre so many people are buying the story without question. Suddenly society has forgotten that humans have lived for millennia without wearing face masks and with very close human contact. Most people forgot that being exposed to pathogens actually strengthens our immune system. People suddenly believe everything they hear on the “news” and are willing to take it as gospel.

Or is it suddenly? The truth is the TV was designed for the very purpose of “programming” the masses into thinking a certain way. We have been programmed to trust certain people on “TV” and in “the news”. Highly sophisticated techniques have been employed to entice certain emotions with language and images on the screen. Fear is a very strong emotion. Anyone who has the ability to create this within anyone else is very powerful.

Why does fear exist?

Fear is necessary especially in fight or flight situations. The emotion of fear is what ultimately triggers our protective mechanism.

But we must think about fear and why it exists. Of course the gamut of our emotions is what makes us human. Fear is necessary especially in fight or flight situations. The emotion of fear is what ultimately triggers our protective mechanism. Problems arise when we are stuck in fight or flight mode longer than necessary. At this point our sympathetic system overrides our parasympathetic system. Why is this a problem and how does it come into play in the current situation?

Our sympathetic system is responsible for providing the hormones and strength necessary when dealing with fight or flight situations. For example, if a bear is chasing you, your body kicks into gear. Your strength, stamina, and adrenaline help you try to outrun the bear. If you are wounded your body increases platelets for their clotting mechanism. These are wonderful and necessary reactions to the emotion of fear.

How too much fear can trigger physiologic imbalance

Fear can drive an imbalance into the sympathetic system thus weakening our immune systems and making us more susceptible to various serious illness.

The parasympathetic system, on the other hand, is tasked with triggering your prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for logical thinking and working out problems. It also controls the functions within the body responsible for inner healing. At rest the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems must be in balance. When they are in balance you are easily able to have an effective fight or flight response should you require it. You are also easily able to trigger your prefrontal cortex to solve complex problems and to self-heal.

If you are too far into one system you are at risk. Of course these days, even pre-covid, most of us have been unbalanced into the sympathetic system. This is one of the reasons for so much illness. Under these circumstances this imbalance causes oxidative stress as well as issues such as heart attacks. Living under constant stress, or fear, can cause depression and inflammation is known to cause depression. Inflammation is a physical fight or flight reaction, which is necessary in certain situations. It also helps us heal. However, if you are not in immediate danger the inflammation can cause serious issues. These include depression, heart attacks, cancer, and a generally weakened immune system.

The effect of fear on the body

So how does this come into play with what we are experiencing? The TV is telling everyone the sky is falling and everyone is going to die from a virus. A virus. Viruses have been around since the beginning of time and humans have learned to live with them symbiotically since then. Did you know some viruses have been found to actually help us? Certain strains of the measles virus have been studied as a viable cancer treatment. Our bodies are designed to fight off harmful pathogens and embrace useful bacteria, which in turn build our immune systems. Let that sink in for a bit. Why do people not remember any of this? Also, why is it so difficult to break through to people with this logical, rational, and hopeful information?

The answer lies within the imbalance of the sympathetic/parasympathetic systems. When you allow yourself to watch the TV and all its doom and gloom you are subconsciously, if not consciously, creating a reaction of fear within your body. This reaction of fear is either gradually or quickly throwing your body into an imbalance into the sympathetic system. You might not “feel” the fight or flight response but it is happening, and it is creating damage on many levels. You are at risk of not only weakening your immune system, thus making you more at risk of “the virus”, you are also at risk of developing a slew of other illnesses. If this isn’t reason enough to turn off your TV I do not know what is.

The effect of fear on the brain

Fear cripples the use of the prefrontal cortex - the area responsible for your highest intellect and rationalization - even to the point of reverting to primal survival.

To make matters much worse, with your body in constant sympathetic mode your prefrontal cortex is essentially dormant. The primitive base of the brain is what drives you during fight or flight. This means you are unable to think rationally and only reactionary. Therefore any information that might be contrary to what the television overlords are shoving down your throat is going to sound completely foreign to you. There is a whole other discussion about the behavioral and psychological reasons for this. But on a physiologic, scientific, level it could be attributed to your inability to access your prefrontal cortex.

Why we reject opposing views

This in itself sounds a bit “doom & gloom”. It is actually a good thing once you understand what is really going on. If you find yourself confused about the current situation you might have to take a step back.  Perhaps you do not understand why some people choose not to wear a face mask. Or maybe you feel angry that some people believe the world should be opened up again. The same is true in the opposite. If you find yourself upset with people who choose to wear a face mask or who are calling for more lock down consider taking a step back. Many people who refuse to wear face masks might be using their rational minds, the prefrontal cortex, to work out the complex problem of risk versus benefit. This might also be why they are willing to join the land of the living despite a purportedly deadly virus. Nobody wants to believe his or her “way” is wrong. Nobody wants to believe his or her trusted television programmers are lying to him or her on a daily basis. But we must consider this if we are to remove ourselves from this "nightmare."

The Prefrontal Cortex is triggered by deep breathing and calmness

Deep, unobstructed breathing can reverse the damage of fear, whereas obstructing access to oxygen via face masks can lead the body deeper and deeper into turmoil

Once we are able to take a step back we might be surprised at the problems we are able to solve. The prefrontal cortex will be triggered during a calm state. This means, turn off the “news”. Not only is the information streaming from those channels specifically crafted to keep you in a state of fear, the frequency range at which the information is streamed is also crafted to keep you in a trance.

Thus the prefrontal cortex will begin to trigger while you are calm. The prefrontal cortex is also triggered from deep breathing. This means get outside and breathe pure oxygen. This also means rethinking the use of the face mask.

Thinking rationally might show us that our own ideas about face masks or “social distancing” begin to relax. The realization that even just recently we were willing to go out to eat at a crowded restaurant with complete strangers might surface. At one time we didn't think twice about  shaking hands. While there might have been a bit of ick factor, we still touched gas pump handles without gloves. Even in the dead of winter when we were well aware of the nastiest bugs going around, we hugged and kissed and spent time with friends. Taking a step back might help us to remember this. I challenge you to consider you might have developed an irrational fear of the world, thanks to the tell-lie-vision and your body's own protection mechanisms.

Those who fear the lockdown and not the virus are also at risk

Being on edge, easily triggered, and reacting in a negative way also comes from being in "fight or flight" mode, much like a wounded animal fights back.

This brings me to my next point. The same type of sympathetic imbalance can happen when focusing too much on the ramifications of the shutdown. I am already aware of many people who have committed suicide from facing the dire situation of being unable to provide for their families. There is clearly fear on both ends of the spectra. There is a clear shaming of people who know it is beyond time to open up the economy; however there are also those who shame others for their fear of the virus. Both reactions are irrational.

As a sort of digression let me say this: we attack out of fear. When we are calm and rational we do not attack. It is the fight or flight in us that goes into attack mode. Think about that the next time you want to argue with someone on social media who disagrees with your stance. I’m guilty of this myself. We all are. We are human, after all. When we feel the need to attack or defend ourselves it is critical, for our own well being and peace of mind, that we recognize it comes from fear. Then we must, 1. Try to identify the source of that fear and, 2. Address the fear as necessary. Thus there is a lot of fighting within families, friends, on social media, etc. simply because people are fearful. What we are largely witnessing on social media is a whole society of people in “fight or flight” mode, with only the primal part of their brains generally functioning. This is especially true if they are never taking a break from the TV or from social media.

Releasing your fear cultivates solutions

Before concluding my discussion on this let me iterate and reiterate that this is all normal behavior and reaction. Our bodies were designed to react in this way and therefore we should go easy on ourselves and understand it is all perfectly normal. The problems come from the imbalance. It is this imbalance we must now work on. As a society it is imperative that we work on releasing the fear. This will not only allow us to exist peacefully among each other but it will also allow us to come closer together with our ideas and views on the situation. The powers-that-be do not like a thinking society. They like a docile, fearful society, which is much easier to control. They are also much more easily extorted and exploited.

Once we release the fear, and breathe deeply with pure oxygen as often as possible, the prefrontal cortexes of the collective will be in hyper drive. We will be able to not only solve the issue of how to effectively deal with the virus on a personal level but also how to ensure economic survival during the aftermath of this situation.

Love & Light



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