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Redirecting With Fear

Updated: Jul 29, 2023


A big part of retraining the brain and calming the limbic system is redirecting our focus and thoughts. When our limbic system is overactive and stuck in a protective pattern, our thoughts and focus tend to be on the negative. The brain naturally wants to focus on symptoms, challenges and pretty much anything that isn’t going well. That’s all part of the brain impairment and the limbic system doing it’s best to keep us safe. The problem is that this does not send a message of safety to the brain and nervous system. Constantly focusing on what doesn’t feel good or isn’t going well, tells the brain-things aren’t good, I’m not ok.


We can send a message of safety to the brain by gently shifting our attention to what is going well, feels good, is enjoyable, etc. Notice I said gently? I would also add to that, calmly. One of the common mistakes I hear clients make all the time is redirecting their attention from symptoms or negative thoughts with fear. There is an underlying approach of “oh no, I shouldn’t be paying attention to this.” Followed by a quick and fearful redirect to something else. This is often done from a place of wanting to get it “right” and not allow the brain to notice these challenges.


Redirecting in this manner feeds the old, unhealthy pathways in the brain and does not help to calm the limbic system or nervous system. It keeps us in a hypervigilant state and often feeds into the paradigm that noticing symptoms is bad or having negative thoughts is going to harm us or slow our healing. “Oh no,” followed by swift action to fix or correct what the brain is doing still lights up the fear pathways in the brain, even though we are redirecting in an attempt to not feed those pathways.


It’s natural for our brain to notice what doesn’t feel good and it’s also normal to have negative thoughts. It is what we do with this and how we respond that matters. Instead of having a perfectionistic or fear-based approach that feeds into trying to fix or stop this, we can step into a paradigm of knowing we are safe even with symptoms. We can allow our brain to notice the sensation (notice the language change to a less charged word?), for a few moments or even a few minutes before we gently and calmly shift our focus. The underlying approach here is that we are safe in our body, even with challenging sensations, and we are shifting our attention because those sensations are not a tiger. This approach also gradually builds our capacity to have a challenging sensation arise and not have our nervous system go into fight/flight/freeze because of it.


We can also take a similar approach with our thoughts. Instead of "oh no, I shouldn't be thinking this", we can step into "isn't that interesting that my brain is focusing on that?". This replaces the fear with curiosity and an underlying energy of it not being a big deal. It's not something that has to be immediately stopped or fixed it. We can instead gently and calmly shift our attention because there are other more interesting things to place our attention on.


There is of course, more that goes into this and I could write several pages about the nuances of how to embrace this approach. But this is a good start to get you thinking about and noticing how you are redirecting and the energy or approach that is driving your redirecting.


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492 views9 comments

9 Comments


Guest
Nov 09, 2023

Connie:

Grateful for this blog...this is so helpful.

Thank you.

Linda 🤗

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Guest
Nov 05, 2023

Connie:

This is so helpful...actually what I needed to read...I have read this several times and I can relate to every word on how Fear controls my life. Looking forward to more information on this topic.

Thank you.

Linda Stacey

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Guest
Jun 15, 2023

Awesome article. Thanks so much. I feel the instructions from the brain retraining programs are so stressful. This article explains one of the reasons why. Your tips are very helpful!

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Replying to

Thanks! I'm so glad you found it helpful. 😊

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Guest
Apr 27, 2023

Such a good reminder of the importance of gentleness and calmness when dealing with the brain Rather than a harsh, fearful rebuke. Thanks Connie ❤️

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Replying to

Absolutely, gentle and kind is often what the brain and nervous need. ❤️

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Guest
Apr 27, 2023

I'd love to read the several pages of nuances of how to do this as this is where I'm struggling. I think this also touches on refraining from body checking. Will we discuss further in the coaching group starting in May?

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