We've all experienced it - the rapid beating of our heart, the sudden perspiration on our brow, the shaking of our body and the weakness in our knees. Fear is the instinctual response our brain has to potential or perceived danger. In its truest form, it’s a healthy emotion. We need it to survive. It’s what keeps us from walking out into traffic, or trying to feed a wild bear.

But there is another side to fear. The side that our brain creates based on nothing more than the nightmares in our head. This is the kind of fear that can paralyze us and rob us of our dreams. It can cripple our spirit and leave us locked in a self made prison. This, of course, is the dark side of fear, and it can feel just as physically and emotionally draining as any real threat you’ve ever experienced. As someone once famously said, “Fear stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.”

For some, this kind of fear is based on a past experience. For instance, someone who almost drowns can develop a fear of the water. Someone who has a bad relationship can fear intimacy with others.

Fear can also take on the mask of other emotions. Imagine a mother who sees her toddler run out into the street and almost get hit by a car. Once she knows her child is ok, what do you think her response would be? Most likely fury, right? She’d probably give that child a spanking he wouldn’t soon forget!

But the anger is simply to cover up her real emotion – the fear of losing her child. Many of our strongest emotional responses - – pride, anger, hate, envy – are normally just fear in disguise.

Even our reflexive fear, the one that keeps us from danger, can cause problems. For instance, an instinctual fear of falling is a good thing to have. But that fear can be limiting when it causes us to fear walking across a perfectly safe bridge, or taking a ski lift up a slope. Our fear can fail to take into account the safety mechanisms around us, or the context of our surroundings.

Regardless of whether our fear is real or imagined, it always triggers one of two instinctual responses: escape or avoidance. This is where our plans can get stalled because we’re too afraid to move forward, to take the next step, to dream the big dream.

Aside from love, fear is the most powerful motivator that humans have, and it has a huge impact on so much of our life. It can twist and manifest itself in many ways, both good and bad, and wreak havoc on our emotional state.

While there is much that can be learned about the exact science of how fear is processed in the brain, the most important point is simply that it’s there – in our thoughts. Fear only exists in our mind.

You can never completely eliminate fear from your life, nor would you want to. Everyone needs a healthy does of fear to survive. But we also need perspective. Fear is a part of us, a part of our emotional make up. Respect your fear, understand the basis for why it exists, but don’t let it control you. Understanding where your fear is coming from, and knowing that you have the power over it, is the first step to breaking its hold over your life.

Author's Bio: 

Dave Seymour is America's leading expert in showing you how to Fireproof your life from FEAR. By helping others getting over that initial fear and finally achieving success as the result of massive action. Dave is changing lives by giving his strategies & life secrets to anyone who is willing to receive it. www.DaveSeymour.com