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Journey to Wholeness

Fron Fear to Gratitude

By Jude LaClaire, Ph.D.



Why are people attracted to being scared? There is a great public following of race car driving, ‘scary rides’ at amusement parks, and movies designed to put you on the edge of your seat and frighten you. The list of scary things could get very long. The human body-mind reacts instantly to something that appears to be a threat. We are wired to flee, fight, or freeze in response to assumed danger. When we lived in caves, the desert, or plains, this mechanism served us well. It protected individuals and the community from harm. In today’s more sedentary world, this response does not serve us as well. We need to be alert and protect ourselves and others, but it is done now by more conscious, rational decisions and actions.


The neurobiological response to fear gives us a big ‘buzz.’  It almost feels good to be scared. All systems are ‘go’ and we are ready to act. The initial response is exciting and, for some, fun. The long-term effect is depression. Systems are drained and shut down to recharge. The stimulus-response loop of fear can be addictive. It is also linked to depression, emotional instability, anxiety, and other addictions.

The wonderful part is this: Our body-minds are a marvelous and complex communication system. We know that feelings of joy, sadness, peace, gratitude, nurturing, and safety, to name a few, are all activated in this same mind-body-cell-gene loop of communication. This natural response mechanism can be the key to healthy, constructive living. When a fearful idea or image is stimulated externally or arises from internal memory, we can recognize it, look at it, and transform it into a helpful, life-giving idea or image.

Candice Pert explains this process in her book, Molecules of Emotion-Why You Feel The Way You Feel. Deepak Chopra in his forward to this book says, “She shows that our biochemical messengers act with intelligence by communicating information, orchestrating a vast complex of conscious and unconscious activities at any one moment…This bodywide information network is ever-changing and dynamic, infinitely flexible. It is one gigantic loop, directing and admitting information simultaneously, intelligently guiding what we call life.”

Take a moment and imagine a recent fearful thought or image.

  • State the image or idea in positive words.

I feel anxious and frightened about possible impending danger.

  • Make a statement telling what you can accomplish now.

I am in charge of my feelings and my responses to what thoughts or images present themselves externally or internally. I can choose what I look at or listen to.

  • State what you can do now and, in the future, to be ‘proactive’, creating a thought or image of hope, peace, gratitude, etc.

I can become aware of how I feel; breathe, relax, and take time.

                  I can imagine some times when I felt safe, in charge, and nurtured.

                  I can remember what I have now; I think thoughts of appreciation and gratitude.

                  I can create specific, concrete images and thoughts that are helpful and


                  I can take concrete, positive action to help myself and others.


Our thoughts, words, and images create physical, mental, and emotional realities. In the book “The Messages from Water”, Masaru Emoto, a creative Japanese researcher, scientifically and factually shows how vibrational energy: thoughts, words, ideas, and music, affect the molecular structure of water. Water, the source of life on this planet, easily adapts to whatever environment is present. Our bodies are seventy percent water. Water covers the same amount of our planet. Mr. Emoto visually documents the molecular changes in water produced by vibrational energy. Different thoughts and images produce dramatically different results. You can find these images on the website: This is only one of many research studies that have been done demonstrating the powerful effect of thought, image, sound, and other vibrational energy on matter. We can change our inner and outer environment; the mind-body self and our external environment by what we think and imagine!

In the month of November, often thought of as Thanksgiving month, make a list each day of people and things for which you are grateful. Make helpful, positive statements of gratitude and appreciation for yourself and others each day. As you find the appreciation habit growing, your physical and mental health will be greatly enhanced. Those around you will benefit greatly, as well. Remember, “The Attitude is Gratitude.” Transform fear into appreciation and gratitude.

Jude LaClaire, Ph. D., LCPC is a counselor and educator at the Heartland Holistic Health Center. She is the author of the “Life Weaving Education Curriculum” that teaches creative, effective, holistic problem solving. For counseling appointments, seminars, in-service training or speaker’s bureau, call 816-509-9277 or;

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