BEFRIEND YOUR FEAR TO EXPERIENCE LIFE’S ENIGMA
I’m born and brought up in Central Kolkata (Calcutta), India. And Park Street, Camac Street, Ripon Street etc, were frequently visited location. As kids, there wasn’t the presence or concept of malls or supermarket. Shopping was defined by our monthly visits to the New Market (Hogg Market), Burrabazar and Gariahat. However, there was a so-called mall-like establishment in Camac Street — called “Vardaan Market”.
And my dad’s office was bang opposite the shopping establishment. So, every Saturday (my dad had half-days on Saturdays) we would get a confirmation call in our landline number from Papa — informing my mom to leave in 15 minutes and that he will wait outside Vardaan Market.
We waited for Saturdays — because it was family day for us. We would walk down to Camac Street — through alleys and narrow lanes — which were my mom’s secret shortcuts — and reach Camac Street. We wouldn’t buy anything, but only do window shopping because “we would get the same stuff for half the price from Gariahat or New Market — so what’s the point in splurging?” my mom always argued.
TOP FLOOR — A NO GO!
Vardaan Market had an escalator and elevator — both scared the crap out of my mother. She had height phobia and the thought of stepping on moving stairs — turned her intestines into knots!
My mom would browse through the ground floor shops, carrying our baby brother in her lap, while me and my sister would scavenge the entire micro-mini mall — with our dad — in gleeful expressions — experiencing the magical stairs and getting a chance to view through some of the best shops.
It’s been 32 years and my mom is still shit scared of escalators — elevators? Not so much. We visit the malls of today but never take the escalators when accompanied by our mother.
FEAR GOT THE BEST OF HER
Till date — my mom doesn’t know what’s up there on the top floor of Vardaan Market and she will never know — you know why? Because Fear got the best of her!
The story is more like an analogy of fear and experience — how the former prevents us to live life everyday — to love, live, to experience, to think, to believe and so on.
Like my mom — you’ll never know what’s in-store up there — if you are scared — if you let fear get the best of you.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. — Nelson Mandela
TRICK YOUR BRAIN TO TRICK THE FEAR
Yesterday, while returning home — my husband was sharing something he read in a Medium post about tricking our brain to do what we yearn to do and not vice-versa.
Amy Cuddy — Harvard Professor, social psychologist, public speaker and author — shared about training our mind and psychologically allowing our brain to express our emotions, thoughts and overcome fear — in one of her recent TED Talk. Check it out here. She talks about body language and how it can positively reinforce power, change the world and life for you.
ALTER THE BRAIN CHEMICALS TO OVERCOME FEAR
Duke University and National Institutes of Health researchers have discovered methods to stabilize fear amongst mice with drugs. The drugs change the chemical components in the brain to help the mice cope with anxiety, stress and fear. The same phenomenon is akin to the human brain.
Our brain is designed with elements to stay safe and survive during emergencies. When something triggers in our body, surrounding or environment — and when our brain is signalled — danger — our mind releases chemicals that trigger fear, stress and anxiety.
SIGNAL YOUR BRAIN THAT YOU’RE STRONG AND CAN HANDLE IT
You’re the master and owner of your body. The control keys are in your hand. So, why let your brain dominate your entire body and cause trouble, when you can tell it — STFU!
The key is to realize, understand and determine the environmental changes that might cause a panic attack and take control of your thoughts. When you’re scared — return the imbalanced chemical concoction to your brain and take over your body.
TRANQUILIZE YOUR MIND
We have the power to control the brain, train it to phase out fear, stress and other negative impacts. Whenever, you’re put forth in front of a situation — or feeling — like being pushed towards a speeding train — think about serene and tranquil thoughts, over and over and over AGAIN. Give a rest to your body and allow the chemical waves in your brain — known to tranquilize the fear inducing components in your brain.
HERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU CAN DO TO OVERCOME FEAR AND CONTROL YOUR MIND
- Do deep breathing
- Listen to your favorite song
- Talk to your favorite person
- Play with your pet
- Go for a walk
- Do yoga
- Laugh loudly
- Think positive
- Be brave
I am trying to tell my mother the same thing over and over again, but it’s yet to work. Let’s hope she can visit the top floor of Vardaan Market — Fingers Crossed!
All I can say now — SEE YOU LATER ESCALATOR!