Traimeister.com - Full Article
August 29 2018
One year ago (August 26th, 2017 to be exact) I discovered gravity in Central Oregon. I was riding in the Three Sisters Wilderness and feeling terribly comfortable and confident. One minute I was busy taking pictures of an outstandingly beautiful area. The next I was in a Bend, OR Emergency Room with some pretty grim news. The assortment of bones in my shoulder were newly arranged and had numerous additional pieces floating around. It wasn’t pleasant.
Fast forward a few months and past the worst of narcotics to when I first tried to get back on my mule Ruger. After awkwardly clambering aboard with an oddly wonky arm I realized that was nothing between me and ground but the same animal that I had been on during my accident. The comfortable and confident feelings were long gone. The next moment I was nearly unable to move. This was my first experience of being walloped by so severe a fear reaction. The anxiety lingered even after I got back on the ground.
Fear is a neurophysiological response to a threat, real or perceived. It activates our fight-or-flight response by stimulating the hypothalamus, which in turn directs the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system preparing our bodies for danger. This can happen suddenly or we can experience a slow drip of anxiety that creeps up on us as dread. We inherited this “survival circuitry” from our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Those who developed it were better able to survive having to wrestle a bear or run from a pack of wolves. During an encounter with fear, blood is shunted from our limbs so it’s more available to our hearts. Our breathing and heart rates increase; we sweat or shiver; our stomach “drops” and our vision narrows as our bodies prepare to flee or freeze. As much as we might like to eradicate this disabling feeling from our lives, fear is a central part of us. We might as well accept it. But how?...
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