The film shows us that fear is the fundamental catalyst for Bruce's lifelong mission to rid the community of criminals. Controlling fear, transforming fear, and embodying fear are manifestations of Bruce's obsession. But, as the film warns, fear can also be tampered with, manipulated, and weaponized. Scarecrow's terrorism is based in fear--his toxic inventions allow him to access primal anxieties in his victims to the point of hysteria and self-destruction. Ra's al Ghul prophesizes that if Bruce purges his identity (including his personal doubts and fears), he can transcend his own mortality. And Bruce himself becomes so wrapped in an idea, in a symbol, that he creates terror within the ones who love him.
What does Batman Begins teach us about our relationship with fear? Fear can lead to an overwhelmed sense. When we feel threatened, we go into survival mode. We feel as though our brain is hijacked, and we have lost control. What can we do when we are stifled by fear, worry, or panic? First, we can name the feeling or emotion. Observing our emotional state and being descriptive about our fear can create a little bit of healthy distance and allow us to feel more grounded, to gain focus, and to mobilize ourselves. Next, we can find a sense of calm by using breathing exercises. One easy way to attend to our breath is to inhale for a count of 3 seconds and exhale for a count of 6 seconds. Movement is also helpful -- we can stretch, go for a walk, or run in place to discharge some of the stress in our bodies.
Finally, we can use affirmations or self-reflective statements to acknowledge our survival in the moment. You can tell yourself you are safe, that you are able to cope, and that you have a way forward. Listen to the show for more suggestions like these about how to manage and maintain emotional well-being.
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