Terrorism, Fear & The Subconscious Mind

I read an article by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett this week in The Guardian entitled: "Let's Be Honest About Terrorist Attacks, They Make Us Feel Scared". It was a most interesting read, as were many of the comments that followed it. You can see it here.
The article reminded me (as I've alluded to before both on this blog and with my various clients) how important it is for us to continue to operate from the conscious part of the brain. When we run our lives from here, then we are being rational and intellectual in our thinking and decision making. It is when we are in this 'higher' state of mind that we can see that the chances of us being involved in any terrorist attack (or indeed any other kind of unique catastrophe) are so low as to not matter. The majority of us do not worry about getting in a car, yet far far more people are killed or injured every year (/day!) on the roads then by terrorism. Similarly, I also recently read that we have more chance of being killed by a piece of furniture then we do a terrorist! Such 'funny' little stats relieve us and make us see the folly in our thinking.
But only for a little while...
The press and mainstream media in general have a wonderful way of preying on our fears and keeping negative images at the forefront of our imagination. Terrorism, plane crashes, gun rampages, cancers, Ebola, bad diets etc etc etc - it's a wonder that we ever get out of bed in the morning! However, when we operate from the conscious part of our brain we realise that most of these things really aren't issues that should take up to much of our time. Of course be healthy and be aware, but remember that everything you read and hear is not necessarily as it seems. Looking at the news these days sometimes it's difficult to believe that with the advances in science and security that NOW is in fact the safest time to be alive with people living longer then ever. (This statistic is actually true!)
The problem is that we get too stuck into the subconscious or emotional part of our brain. It is our subconscious (when not kept in check) that determines our behaviors and thought patterns throughout the day. The subconscious is negative (always fearing the worst), it's not innovative and it does not look forward. During times of high stress we lose intellectual control and the subconscious takes over with depression, anger or anxiety; and then we get stuck in a vicious circle - negativity creates more negativity. The negative thought patterns surrounding the events of our lives are converted into anxiety and the subconscious feels it is in some kind of perpetual crisis.
You can learn more about anxiety and the subconscious here.
The subconscious cannot tell the difference between imagination and actuality. When we imagine something to be happening, it is exactly the same as it happening for real . Realistically when we look at all these doomsday scenarios we know that nothing will happen to us, however, we still worry.
It doesn't have to be like this: A good night's sleep is a wonderful way of dealing with negative thinking... As is being social, being healthy, exercising well and being conscious. When we look forward and live well, our brain produces lots of serotonin and this puts in a greater state of mind that leads to POSITIVE THOUGHT AND POSITIVE ACTION. This is a far more constructive circle to be in.
So the next time you see a news report that scares you, just remember to be conscious, to be calm and to carry on. Rationally thinking and statistically speaking, we know that everything will be ok!

Pic by Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Charles Whobrey
Charles Whobrey


Leave a comment