The 2:1 formula

Part 3 of the »How to handle your fears« series

There are two major forces making take us action, you may call them the big motivators. They direct us toward something as well as away from something – they are all about directions in our life. The first one utilizes our wishes, dreams, desires to make us stand up from our sofas and do something in order to get whatever it is, that we want. Anything we like can be a positive motivator. One notices a poster announcing a football match and instantly feels inspired to buy a ticket, another one sees a cake when window shopping and immediately enters the bakery in order to get one and a third one may be so inspired by listeninng to a gifted musician that he decides to learn to play an instrument himself. All these different things have one in common: they make us move towards them.

Quince fruit

However there are negative motivators, too, that can be as strong or even stronger than their positive counterparts. For example when you are afraid of heights, you will certainly not climb the platform on top of the Kölner Dom, the famous church in Cologne. Or you may refuse eating fish after a serious fish poisoning. Or once you caught a serious cold, you may never again go out without wearing a big pullover in winter. The negative motivators make us avoid things that could cause damage. They make us move away from something.

Both make us do something, the difference between them is the direction: one moves us towards something we desire, the other moves us away from something we fear. Both are strong and reliable. Sometimes when we feel stuck this is the result of the both motivators fighting each other: one desperately longs for the cake – the other one as desperately as the first reminds us of our overweight. Quince and Scleranthus offer a solution from that stuck state.


Motivation in fact is the strongest when they both work together instead of fighting each other. When I fear the place I am and at the same time desire to be elsewhere – let us take the opposites of loneliness and the desire of being loved, you get the strongest motivation to do something that gets you from A to B.

In case only one of both motivators works the results will be not the same. Let us say you are afraid of failing with your exam, this may motivate you to just learn as much as it needs to get through it. However if you really long for that wonderful job you need a better result and put more effort in your studies.

So many patients suffer from the very same problem: they know exactly what they do not want, but can hardly imagine what they really do want. I do not want to be afraid. But what then? What shall fill in that gap the disappeared fear is going to leave? And beyond that: is that really the best solution to wipe out fear from your emotional repertoire? What else will keep you from driving on the wrong side of the highway or doing any other mischievous and risky nonsense? We all know that fear is not a very comfortable emotion, but it works very successfully.


Now let us take a look on what goes on in our brain when we are afraid. In the center of our brain there is the so-called limbic system. We still cannot define its edges exactly, since parts of it belong to different regions in the brain. Anyway the limbic system is supposed to rule and regulate our emotions and by doing so our perception and behaviour, too. People, who have fallen in love, use to see everything in a positive light, and knowing about how the limbic system works, that is obviously not just a metaphor but the simple truth. In fact we do not see with our eyes, but through them. The perceived optical information is transferred to the region of perception in the back of our brain then, and on its way there the information passes through the limbic system, that add some optimistic colour to it. The very same with our movement. The nerves that regulates our muscles run through the limbic system and their impulses are modified by it. That means you can notice if someone is depressed (de – pressed) or joyful. Body language makes sense!

There are two specials parts of the limbic system, that take major influence on our motivation. The first one is called Amygdalla. You can regard it as the center of fear, although that may sound a little like taken from a Hollywood horror movie. Anyway our fear and panic reactions are stored there. We do not have to think „Oh boy, what do I usually do when facing a giant spider?“ - we do it spontaneously and unconsciously. The reaction comes automatically when our perception gives us the information of something very dangerous approaching.

The other part of the limbic system that takes influence on our motivation is called Septum pellucidum. This is the part that provides us with joy and stimulation and adds always a little erotic flavour to what we desire. That explains why advertisers so often use sexually stimulating graphics and photographs even when the product they want to sell may have nothing to do with sexuality. I once saw a naked woman presented tyres...

And now let us finally return to that 2:1 formula, since it explains how both mentioned parts of the brain work best together. The positive force has to be twice as strong as the negative one. The recipe is: take two parts of stimulating and one part of avoiding impulses and the results will be optimal. The wish should be stronger than the fear, however the fear should remain, since it helps to avoid mistakes.

Saint John's Wort
Saint John's Wort

In cases of phobias and panic it also works this way: take two essences, that reach out for the future, and one to clear the past. Of course you can put all the anti-anxiety essences in one combination, but this would not work as well as when you consider what should replace the fear, too. Keep the formula in mind when talking with a client.  Always return to what the client wants and needs and avoid the psychoanalytical fishing in the mud. The client may resist, myself I often worked with people who could not at all imagine any positive solution, any bright future. I had to insist on „What do you really wish from the bottom of your heart?“ and often had to step on my client‘s toes by doing so, but the technique helps them to gain a new perspective and this can be the first step of their healing.

What do I really want? Is it optimism and light-heartedness? Try Johanniskraut (St. John‘s Wort). Is it joyfulness in my everday routine? Take Kirsche (Cherry). Is it lightness in all what I do? Apfel (Apple) may help you. And so on. Try to work this way. Do not ask your client, what he does not want, what she does not like, what he is afraid of – ask her what she has always dreamed of. And then give him or her a combination of 3 or 6 essences, with 2 resp. 4 of the essences, that lead to a better future, and 1 resp. 2 essences, that help to clear the past.

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