The Fear and Anxiety Solution

The Fear and Anxiety Solution by PhD Friedemann MD Schaub Read Free Book Online

Book: The Fear and Anxiety Solution by PhD Friedemann MD Schaub Read Free Book Online
Authors: PhD Friedemann MD Schaub
causes great strain on your body that can lead to severe health challenges such as high blood pressure, chronic pain, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and even cancer. These stress-related illnesses are the most common causes of death in our modern society. Even in situationswhere fear may appear completely appropriate, it can paralyze you, leaving you like a deer in headlights: unable to make a decision or even physically move, which is obviously not a very safe position to be in.
    When I was nineteen years old, a friend and I bicycled on our own Tour de France to the south of France. On a warm but rather stormy day, we decided to swim and body surf on the large waves of the Atlantic Ocean. We enjoyed the thrill of being tossed around by the surf so much that we didn’t realize that the current was pulling us farther and farther out to the open sea. We tried to swim back to shore, but soon noticed that despite our greatest efforts, we couldn’t make any progress. I was getting concerned. I didn’t want to alarm my friend, but I couldn’t help asking, “What if we can’t make it back? There’s nobody out here and nobody on the beach to help us.”
    My friend appeared calm, which in turn calmed me down, and I figured there was probably nothing to worry about. But then I looked at him and saw the panic in his eyes. Either my fear was contagious or he’d realized our dire situation on his own. All of a sudden, he started waving his arms wildly and screaming, “Help! Help!”
    That did it for me. My sense of safety was gone because if he was scared, we must be in deep trouble. I felt the heat of fear rising inside, almost taking my breath away, as I joined my buddy in desperate shouts for help. After only a few moments, the panic had completely overtaken me. My heart was pounding. I couldn’t focus my eyes; it was as if a dark curtain had been pulled in front of them. I started frantically paddling with my arms and legs, desperately trying to keep my head above water. Then two gigantic waves rolled over me in short sequence, pushing me with all their force deep underwater. After what had seemed an eternity, I came back to the surface, coughing, gagging, and spitting out saltwater. Gasping for air, I felt completely helpless and paralyzed by fear.
    It’s interesting what strange thoughts pop up in those moments of despair. As I struggled for my life, I contemplated how my obituary in my hometown newspaper would read and wondered how many people would show up to my funeral. Somehow, surrendering to the fact that my obituary was as good as in press, I became very calm. Then a clear message rose from somewhere deep inside: “Remember, panic is just a waste of your energy.”
    Good advice. I stopped shouting and fighting the elements and began instead focusing on working my way toward the shore, inch by inch. Calmer, I could access a mental and physical strength that I’m certain saved my life—andpossibly that of my friend, as well, as he picked up on the shift in my energy. When we both finally crashed onto some sharp rocks, badly cutting our legs and hands, the enormous relief of recognizing that we were back on land made this one of our happiest moments ever.
    This experience taught me the paralyzing limitations of fear and anxiety. While these feelings may be effective in alerting us to potential danger, when their intensity escalates, the consequences can be devastating.
    You are awakened in the middle of the night by a muffled noise, and you just know that somebody has broken into your house. You hear about burglaries every day on the news, so you know it can happen to you. The phone is downstairs, so you can’t call the police. Your heart is pounding, and your mind is racing as you envision the possible horrific outcomes of a robbery. Holding your breath, you slip out of bed and grab a lamp, a fire poker, a baseball bat—whatever is heavy and nearby. You’re

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