The origin of fears
Fear is an emotion that produces intense unpleasant sensations caused by the perception of past, present and / or future risks and dangers. It is the trigger of primary emotions derived from the natural aversion to risk or threats to your physical integrity, which end up leading to outbreaks of anxiety and stress.
Fear can be real, but if the dimension of the threat is not “real”, according to Sigmund Freud, this feeling is called neurotic fear: when the dimension of the danger is a perception of the person and not a critical situation to face by the individual. There are two fundamental psychological theories about fear: the behavioural theory or deep psychology one. Behavioral theory is based on learned fear. That bad experience of the past that makes you generate fears, sometimes difficult to explain, that can generate blockages and even moments of panic. However, the other theory defines fear as an unconscious basic incident that has not been resolved.
The fact is that according to experts in the subject fear is physiologically located in the limbic system of the brain (brain amygdala), which is responsible for modulating emotions, as well as avoiding pain, fighting against the source that generates this state to avoid paralysis and partial or total blockage. When something scares us, we only think, in a natural way, to preserve our integrity and we will do everything in our power to avoid it. Not in vain, our body increases cellular metabolism, as well as blood pressure, blood glucose levels and coagulation, obviating the increase in heart rate that we feel so much when we enter the state of fear in the mountains.
The feedback of fear does not allow to weigh and regulate it, since it acts as a confirmation of the subject that really is in danger, without being able to pay attention to something else and magnify the danger, suffering not only a bad time in the slopes, but also the misunderstanding of skiing partners.
If the companion is a close person, family member or partner, the levels of incomprehension increase and may generate an episode of intense fear despite being surrounded by people close to us who we trust. Some readers will remember the expressionist artwork of Edvard Munch known as “The Scream”. Probably a situation that is repeated season after season on the ski slopes, with cries of people afraid of their companions who, perhaps without proper training, venture to teach skiing to colleagues, friends or family on the slopes of a domain skiing.
Facing the fears of Alpine skiing
As we have seen, fear is an inherent characteristic of the human being but there are multiple solutions to combat it and make the Alpine skiing experience an unforgettable memory that will keep the practitioner faithful forever. From iloveski, we recommend you to learn skiing from the hand of a snow professional. Descending the first slopes, adapting to the environment and overcoming the fears will be much easier with a snow teacher who has the techniques, exercises, experience, resources and material to make the first descents of a beginner (or an injured) a success. A recommended technique in which it is not necessary to have a professional beside is to try to put yourself mentally in a situation of fear in the mountains.
Imagining yourself in a critical situation, where we consider that we will enter into a situation of fear or even panic. The first thing is to consider fear as a defense mechanism, but then we must consider it as an incentive, a resource that makes us stronger. If we feel that our heart beats faster and stronger, it is a good sign. Our body is prepared to face the situation successfully and we must consider the physiological reaction of the body as an aid, not as a limitation.
There is a trend within the teaching group of Alpine skiing, from the very beginning facing the most basic fears: falling in the snow. This current is based on falling voluntarily in the snow again and again. The person will live in a real way that snow is not that hard and that the pain generated by the fall is not relevant. There is nothing like experiencing the situation we want to avoid at all costs, in a controlled environment, friendly, accompanied by a professional who will tell us what is the best technique to fall and how to get back up efficiently, without getting too tired.
Breathing is the Achilles heel of fear. Physiologically, the respiratory and cardiovascular system are directly related. Tell me how quickly your heart beats and I’ll tell you how fast you breathe. In other terms, the respiratory rate is directly linked to the heart rate. Therefore, it will be as simple as breathing deeply and slowly. Ideally, you will perform intense and quick inspirations, which will be accompanied by slow, long and progressive expirations. Our body will send the signal to the brain that “everything is going well” and we will suppress those levels of fear and anxiety that so torment us in the snow.
There are NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) techniques that allow us to link feelings of trust with a physical gesture: raise the shoulders, contract the biceps tightly, squeeze the poles strongly… Anything that transmits us security: it may be an insignificant gesture that transmits the individual control, confidence, tranquility and courage to meet the challenge. “I am able”, it is a message that must be in your thoughts in those moments of stress and/or fear. You have to fill your mind with positive things: “I’m strong, I’m capable, I’m brave, I’m fit, this is nothing, trying to avoid the word fear. Thinking “I am not afraid” will not be helpful, since we can quickly think that we are denying a reality.
It’s better to think of positive things and remember those times that you have managed to overcome challenges in the past, and then analyze it coldly later, to realize it was not that bad. Distracting is also a good technique to avoid or modulate fear while skiing. Going down singing is satisfactory in most cases, since our brain is engaged in something nice and pleasant, limiting the feeling of fear in situations of apparent risk but not real.