For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the philosophy of the Far East. My bookshelf is filled with volumes about Buddhism, Taoism, and mindfulness. As such, it should come as little surprise that I chose to highlight a Japanese proverb this week.
Unlike most of the quotes I discuss here, this week’s—“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows”—is of unknown date and authorship. The fact that we cannot trace these words to any one individual or time is refreshing. It allows us to focus solely on the message rather than the messenger. And what a message it is.
If fear lies inside of your mind, then you have control over it—assuming you can control your brain. But how do you do that? First, pay attention to your thoughts when you become afraid. No more auto-pilot thinking. At the same time, become aware of the physical sensations caused by these thoughts.
Next, whenever you have fearful ideas, concentrate on something more positive. For example, instead of thinking about how the plane you’re on might crash, consider how incredible it is that humans have developed a machine that’s capable of traveling around the globe in a matter of hours. Soon, you’ll be able to easily pivot from intense fear to intense pleasure—with your body following suit.
Modern neuroscience supports this. At a biological level, fear is a chemical response—either learned or instinctive—to outside stimuli deemed dangerous. These chemicals cause synapses to transfer information via neural pathways to various parts of the brain. Through a conscious effort to avoid certain reactions, you can weaken their corresponding pathways, making it harder for said reactions to occur in the future. In essence, you can tell your brain to stop being afraid and it will listen!
When we travel, we often come across things that trigger our fear response. While this can make us uncomfortable, it also provides an incredible opportunity for us to practice mindfulness and take control of our emotions. Next time you’re afraid when on the road, remember that it’s all in your mind—you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with that knowledge.
I publish a new travel quote ever week, right here. Do you have a particular one you'd like us to feature in the future? What do you think about this quotation? Let us know in the comments below!