Sometimes, fears are as part of our psyche that we feel, there is something embedded in our basics, present at the core of our existence. In dark nights, we all are almost frightened of darkness and feelings of coming across any venomous or harming animal as a snake. Some people are more fearful than others; they are even horrified by the whispering of air in pin drop silence. In the same way, we experience different fears in different phases of our lives, whether it’s financial concerns or the fear of what could happen, or the fear of the worst case possibility. Fears also vary from person to person, then man wonders if fear is present in his genes.
What is fear?
Fear is one of the most important systems in the body that alarms us about threats and misshapes, and prepares us to respond in ugly situations by triggering physiological processes in the body as an increase in heartbeat. It is considered a necessary evil for the very existence of the individuals. It works like a defensive mechanism in the body. When we say, we all are fearful of darkness, it seems our early forefathers were at their greatest risk during darkness and everything with the passage of time got imprinted in our DNA and now we own it. To understand how fear gets imprinted in our DNA, let’s explore the Biological components of fear because we can’t feel fear without the biology. The bowels of fear tell us what happens in our body.
How the sensation of fear starts in our brain and then the brain spreads the message to all other parts of the body.
we see something frightening such as a spider, or while watching a horror movie. We experienced that increase in that heart rate in the breathing and the passing of the cold wave across our body or the dilation of the brain; pupils with a flight or freezing response. It’s all conditioned within us. A frightening experience generates a chain of processes within a body. Either we feel the potential of harm to our parent five senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, or taste, or perhaps through that intuition, that sixth sense that we all know actually exists. When such a message reaches the brain, then the limbic system in our brain is responsible for the sensation and the response to the fear. So think of it this way. Think of it as an army, or battle systems to deal with the threat.
The hypothalamus and the amygdala are your intelligence agencies, your defense intelligence in your central intelligence agencies. They’re the processing centers generating the feelings of fear, they make them routinely. ;listens for messages from other parts of our brain, they listen for those messages. The communications are coming into it through the stimuli, because it’s our brain that controls every type of information that we receive. Now, this is done through chemicals called neurotransmitters and they’re just like more or less the foot soldiers, They’re released at the end of our nerve fibers and when stimuli exists, they’re received through nerve fibers in the form of impulses. So they’re like those feel soldiers in the field, communicating to the magnet that all is good or be careful for threat. During a fear, those field radio operators send alerts to the central command or radio operators in the amygdala called the receptors. The amygdala then processes the alerts and sends out chemical messages to the other parts of the brain, kind of further preparing for that impending situation if it were to happen.
So one message then goes to the periaqueductal, which prompts us to freeze while we’re assessing the situation. So you think about it this way. Think about man’s earlier existence when we were primarily prey. That message to freeze might save us from the detection of a predator and we’ve all seen a rabbit or perhaps a bird in a field and we’ve seen how when you approach it, it may stay perfectly still trying to avoid detection; and it won’t move until it feels it has to. That message also goes to the hypothalamus. This activates the endocrine system. And remember, we don’t know what the situation is yet. We’re just preparing for what could be. And this happens instantaneously within us. But we’re also automatically preparing ourselves for a series of answers to those situations. What should we do if a B or C were to arrive? The hypothalamus produces a hormone called ACTH, which acts as an adrenal glands to start production of the two hormones both of which creates conditions of stress bite in flight. Now remember, in order to prepare for a threat, our bodies must prepare itself for our response.
So in other words, if we’re going to prepare for a threat, a body has to
- first heart rate has to pump.
- Our adrenaline has to soar in order for us to be able to react appropriately. Do we run or do we fight?
- Now, while all of this is gone, we’re also producing a series of other chemicals because that stressful situation or potential peril, in threat has side effects, creating fear. So it’s not just a matter of preparing us for the fight or flight, but also the side effects. Something that we don’t necessarily want is the actual fear that is created as a result.
- As that result, there are four chemicals that are produced within us, serotonin, glutamate, cortisol, and that for napping, the serotonin and the glutamate. They are again those foot soldiers those neural transmitters that are made in the afternoon gotta. But the cortisol, that’s our body’s real alarm system; it’s a system telling our body that a threat is present. And as preparing for the response while the effort and effort is kicking in. So we’ve all heard it mentioned that thousands and thousands of times again on Grey’s Anatomy that it prompts us to increase the heart rate, crease, the muscle strength, it’s preparing for the battle, increase the blood pressure, while the endocrine hormones, they produce something else that we’ve all heard on in his Grey’s Anatomy shows called adrenaline. It’s in the body, and it’s another prepare to respond to that perceived threat.
So think of it this way. It’s kind of like a battleship where, where you hear the alarms going off and you hear the call to action in the captain again, these are all those involuntary responses experienced by every mammal, from our smallest mammals to ourselves, and even to the most special of military forces. The Special Forces however, routinely exists within heightened state of excitement, which means they’ve all learned how to understand and how to regulate those chemicals in that production and their response to those chemicals.
This is also the key to understanding once instinctive advantages and disadvantages and understanding the chemical reactions response that are taking place in your body. It requires conscious thought and effort.
So, how does this fear get embedded into your DNA?
You see scientists, they’re not exactly sure about this. They say that all humans are naturally again inclined to be afraid of spiders and snakes. And one way or another, that’s just something that we have, and is perhaps because particular animals, these types are stealthy, they’re small, they’re silent, they move in, you don’t see them coming. And it’s always a situation where something can come up into your bedding, and then you’re going at night, so the fear always exists there. It was an ever present threat for our forefathers and it was retained through the generations. sense of our bloodlines. And that’s why many of us who’ve never even seen a snake before in our lives are afraid of snakes. But here’s the question.
If fear is learned only through our experiences, then then why is it an instinctive response shared by all peoples?
The reason, because it’s part of our common experience like eye color, or height, or weight, these are all present within our genes. These are all part of our traits are human traits; Fear, however, is different. You don’t actually find a gene fear, because fears of sensation and its combined effect of many different proteins, reactions, enzymes and other molecules. So how is it actually present within your DNA? Well, instead of looking for the fear gene, we have to look across all the proteins involved in the fear sensation because they come from our DNA sequence and from ourselves and hence, fears evolve with time. But the next question is can impact full experiences be inherited? In a podcast about Romania Often I refer to a study by the BBC where they studied basically inherited experiences and experiences such as Rwanda or The Killing Fields of Cambodia. They represented prolonged exposures to stress into trauma, and the victims were conditioned by fear. But what about our own personal experiences in the truly impact full events of our lives, not just the negative again? What about those repetitive experiences that make us who we are today? Is it possible that they can also be inherited, or at least our tendencies? One group of scientists were wondering that exact same thing. So they conducted an experiment by introducing the smell cherries, while at the same time shocking mice in through a period of time they went through this experiment, and then they allowed those mice to have offspring, and it checked the test to see whether in fact, the smell cherries elicited the same response. Fear. And that’s actually what happened. the offspring of the mice experienced the same amount of fear to the smell of cherries, even though they had never been exposed to electrical shock. Now to explain this, the scientifically that changes must have occurred in the DNA, that that’s in order for it to have been experienced by the baby mice, it must have been some type of a change in the DNA, where it happens and how it’s, still a mystery.
People who consciously leverage their senses to absorb the information around them are the ones who can understand when they’re prompted by fear to act in a detrimental way can find new senses through which they can capitalize on their curious self, and begin to better understand which one of their tendencies drive what’s positive and negative in their lives.
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