Fear Vs. Anger – Tranquil Thursday #13

A black and white photo of a solitary boat on a lake

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Are you ready for a little time travel trip back to science class? Do you remember learning about the fight-or-flight response? In lay terms it is considered a means of survival. When the amygdala senses a threat, signals are relayed through the hypothalamus which kicks in the sympathetic nerve system to send nerve signals through the autonomic nerve system to the adrenal glands. This produces adrenaline and emotional responses follow. Pretty amazing I must say.

The problem is that with evolution, we have conditioned our fight-or-flight response to activate in less than life-threatening events. Living in this heightened state for long periods of time could be unhealthy because during this complex physiological response, the body also does something else. It shuts down any bodily functions not necessary to fight or flee the threat.

For example. I excelled at public speaking. I always classified it as an out of body experience which in a way it was. My palms got sweaty, my heart raced, and it felt like my brain shut down. I couldn’t feel my body and I hardly saw the audience. I was almost unaware of everything until the speaking concluded – the threat was over. Pretty cool.

Nervous bladder, sweaty palms, increased blood pressure, tensed muscles, and reacting without thinking can all be part of the response.

Now back to fear and anger. It is believed that fear and anxiety are flight responses and anger is a fight response. Is it any wonder politicians use this knowledge to amp people up? It is a powerful response. Think back to the divisions we experienced during Covid. The fear and anger were real.

Today the question is simple.

How have fear, anxiety and anger played a role in your life and how have you managed those responses?

I do recognize and feel anxiety and fear, especially in the constant onslaught of news around us. So many mental health professionals tell us to turn off the news and control what gets in to our protected circle.

I have experienced bad relationships when I experienced fear. Thankfully they are gone from my life now.

Once my brain is loaded, I replay it over and over which creates anxiety. Learning how to shut my brain off has been challenging. A few nights ago, my brain was on fire preventing me from falling asleep. I decided to slowly count backward from 100. This would require intentional thinking which I hoped would block the other thoughts. At the same time I practiced intentional breathing. The last number I remembered was 85 then I fell fast asleep.

Health concerns can trigger fear and anxiety. Worrying about my children or grandchildren can also. I worry about the danger of guns in their lives but never want them to live in that heightened state of constant fear. I try to counter these thoughts by flooding myself with good news and heartfelt videos of people and pets reflecting the happiness and good in this world.

The anger I feel is for the hatred and the violence that seems to be the norm in America. Our most powerful tool against this is our vote and our voice. Our extended voting periods allow ineffective lawmakers to remain in power and effect a lot of damage in the interim. This means we must fight even harder for change.


16 thoughts on “Fear Vs. Anger – Tranquil Thursday #13”

  1. Yes Maggie, your words sum up my feelings very well. I’m trying to be very focused on what I choose to hear or read in the news and most of what appears gets tossed out without a glance. It’s all just too much sometimes, but that doesn’t mean being choosy means being uninformed either. I stay informed because I don’t want to be a part of that reactive anger. I want my fierce responses to the negative to come from my own understanding, not what I am being fed or told to believe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The obvious answer for me is that I’ve experienced all three. Fear has been a huge part of my life since early childhood. I dealt with it by keeping my emotions bottled up. As I grew older , and to this day I cry at the drop of the hat.
    My management has been ti avoid conversations with anyone I don’t feel safe with.
    I am getting better about not replaying traumas over and over again. I am getting better at compartmentalizing things I have no control over. I am getting better at avoiding triggers. I am in more peace now than I’ve ever been in.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I was an EMT, I had to go into some very dangerous situations. They ranged from approaching a madman holding a machete, attending to wounded people during ongoing riots, helping people in serious fires, and going into areas where terrorist bombs had just exploded in London without knowing if there were secondary devices.
    We were taught to always fear such situations, as that makes you concentrate your mind and act carefully. Foolish bravado can get you killed.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with you…I cannot watch news programs or overly-anxiety inducing “entertainment”. I get too revved up and can’t unwind, find myself carrying vicarious emotions.
    I’m glad you zonked out at 85 — that’s pretty good. 😉


  5. Interesting seeing how you explain how you react to public speaking. I definitely want to flee when it comes to that! I have an out of body experience too, but it’s me wishing it to be over. Ha, ha, I’ fine with small groups, but larger ones, I have to prep and be ready for it. Interesting post Maggie.


  6. “How have fear, anxiety and anger played a role in your life and how have you managed those responses?” – by focusing on gratitude and all the good that is in our world. The more positive information my brain cells are provided the happier, and healthier I am!!!


  7. At the moment it appears that a majority of Americans are caught in a fight response. I can’t believe the impatience at stop lights, the running of stop signs, the aggressions when cut off in driving, etc. It is enough to send the rest of us into the turtle shell of flight! So yes to turning off the news and yes to laughing whenever we have a chance with whoever will join us.


  8. How have fear, anxiety and anger played a role in your life and how have you managed those responses? When any of those things happen I’ve learned to detach from the situation in front of me and start remembering positive mantras. And to breathe. I am very conscious of not letting negativity overcome me, whether it’s the news or the bad vibes of the people around me.


I appreciate those who read and I enjoy your thoughtful comments.

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