The downside of fear

Creative Commons "No fear!" by milena mihaylova is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Creative Commons “No fear!” by milena mihaylova is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

You might be asking, “Is there an upside to fear?” Sure there is. Fear is the emotion that tells us to run when there is danger. It’s a survival instinct. Fear cannot be our persistent state, however, because anxiety blocks learning. The part of the brain that deals in fear – the amygdala – focuses all the brain’s resources on self-preservation, making it impossible to take in new information and strategize movement beyond the moment.

Logic, then, is not the ticket out of this loop. Luckily, we have other options. We can take deep breaths, drawing our focus to another part of the body. We can break down the fear-inducing situation and find the lowest-hanging fruit to pick. We can tap into our imaginations and name the step forward we would take if there were no risks. We can utilize metaphors to look at our problem in a different way.

If your amygdala is in hyperdrive, how will you stop fear from feeding on itself? If your congregation’s amygdala is stuck in an endless loop, what will you do to switch the current so that your people can live into their collective calling?

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