Categories
Anxiety Fear Stress

The Fear Bubble

“The Fear Bubble” is a concept & technique developed by former British Special Forces, Ant Middleton, which he explains fully in his excellent book, aptly named¬† “The Fear Bubble”.

This simple technique can be used to harness fear, by training ourselves to postpone fear to the moment we actually need it.

Fear is simply our mind and body switching on it’s sympathetic nervous system (fight of flight), and releasing stress hormones to prepare the body to fight or run away from danger.

If there is future event which is causing feelings of fear, then, the technique would involve visualising a “fear bubble” in that future space and time just at the moment where the stressor will occur, and ending immediately after.

From the moment the future fear bubble is imagined, there is an acceptance that no fear is needed until stepping into the actual fear bubble at the future event. 

Life and Death Combat Example

A life and death example might be pre-deployment to a war zone. A solider would visualise a space and time in the future where they would need or allow the fear to exist. E.g. actual combat. Then they would give themselves permission to not experience fear until that exact moment they step into the fear bubble.

Where possible, fear bubbles should be as short as possible. Breaking a threatening situation down into multiple fear bubbles, and visualising each one “popping” or “bursting” as they are completed can help harness the fear for longer.

So, for example, in a longer combat situation, a fear bubble might be every time a door or home is entered, or every 100m of battle field advanced, and so forth.   

Non Battle Applications

This technique isn’t limited to combat situations, it can be used for any future fear in everyday life. E.g. Exams, interviews, dates, media experiences, opening a business, starting a job, mountain climbing, learning to drive, professional competitions such as MMA or Boxing. The list is endless.

Exam Application

An exam example in the book would be:

  1. Visualise the fear bubbles starting at the exam, and a bubble for each question.
  2. Agree to feel no fear until you enter the first bubble.
  3. Enter the 1st fear bubble (question 1), when it’s done, imagine that bubble bursting and pause for a few moments
  4. Enter the next fear bubble (question 2), and continue like this until completion.

MMA / BOXING Match Application

This might involve 

  1. Visualise the fear bubbles starting the second round 1 begins, and a bubble for each round.
  2. Agree to feel no fear until you enter a the first bubble.
  3. Enter the 1st fear bubble (round 1), when it’s done, imagine that bubble bursting and rest remain outside of any fear bubble
  4. Enter the next fear bubble (round 2), and continue all the way through.

Re-Framing Fear as “Let’s go”

Another component of “the fear bubble” is redefining the feeling of fear as the body saying “let’s go”. As each fear bubble is entered saying to ourselves “let’s go” will help to positively reframe the fear, and trigger the action required.

Re-Entering The Fear Bubble

Sometimes after entering a fear bubble, there might be too much fear to handle, and action isn’t forthcoming. Simple step back outside, re-prepare, and re-enter. It might take a few attempts, but can help control and harness the fear to achieve the objective.

Summary

  1. Visualise the Fear Bubble(s) in the Future (feel no fear until then)
  2. -> Enter the Fear Bubble saying to self “Let’s Go”
  3. -> Take Action
  4. -> Step Out and “Burst” the Fear Bubble.
Categories
Anxiety Fear habits Stress

The Wailing Dog and the 5 Minute Rule

There is a story about a wailing dog.

One day, a man was walking past a house with an old couple sitting out front on their porch and a dog lying just in front of them.

The man noticed that the dog was constantly wailing and whimpering in a lowish tone.

For several days the man walked past the house, and every day noticed the same thing. The couple were sitting out front and the dog was lying on the porch in front of them whimpering and wailing.

Curiosity eventually got the better of the man, and so he decided to go an ask the couple what was wrong with their dog.

They replied, “oh he is just lying on a sharp nail”.  Perplexed, the man asked why the dog simply didn’t move off the nail. “That’s because it hurts enough to groan about it, but not enough to move”.

This story illustrates how many people experience problems in their life. They moan and complain about them, but do very little of nothing at all to actually fix the issue.

In fact, some people, actually get a kind of pleasure from their complaints, it’s almost like a source of comfort, or something to talk about.
 
I’m sure we can all think of people we know who are like this. They aren’t really looking for a solution or change, they just want to enjoy a little bit of complaining.

A little complaining here and there is perfectly normal, but it’s important that those little complaints don’t grow and expand over time and become part of our identity

The 5 Minute Rule

The 5 minute rule is a useful strategy where all complaints, moaning or negativity are limited to 5 minutes – not a second more!

Then simply STOP, and move on to some other conversation or activity – preferably neutral or positivist.

This can be challenging at first, but many people doing this consistently over time find they feel more calm, centred, and peaceful.