Psychology Of Fear and How To Deal With It

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Many of us fear different things in life. Some are minor and fade away with time while a few of them are deep-rooted and accompany us for the rest of our lives. Human beings are an amalgamation of emotions and fear comes with the entire package. No two people will have the same kind of phobia, and no one can say for sure if they learn to battle it out and overcome it or choose to live with it for as long as they live. Fear is real, and everybody experiences it at some point in their life. With that, let’s get to know what fear is and what does it do to people.


Defining Fear And The Psychology Behind It


“Fear is normal, but strong human emotion. It cautions us about the danger that we perceive can harm us.” It’s basically ‘fight or flight syndrome.’ In simple words, when you’re scared, your body reacts as if you’re in a middle of massive physical trauma or threat. You experience increased heart rate, profuse sweating, irregular bowel movements and higher adrenaline levels. Your body is telling you to either deal with the situation and ‘fight’ or if things are getting out of hand then choose ‘flight’ and get yourself out of that spot to a place you feel safe.

Fear has many forms. It’s an unpleasant feeling that ranges from mild to severe reactions and responses – hearing about a natural catastrophe, awaiting school, college or health results, losing a close friend, parent or a spouse. Sudden incidents and events scar and entangle you in fear that numb you down or make you freeze in your tracks. Other types of alarms or phobias are due to extreme stress. The ones that individuals deal almost every day like constant worry, ruminating thoughts, hypersensitivity, etc. which can severely affect their mental and physical health in due course.


We humans are not born with fears and worries. It’s somewhat instinctive and partly taught to us by the world around us. For instance, you may get scared of taking a vaccine shot in a doctor’s clinic. That’s your fear due to the pain or prick you’ll receive while the needle comes in contact with your skin. Other phobias occur due to external factors. We may fear situations, people, events, and places that might have given us bitter experiences in the past. For example, you may have been involved in a car accident on the highway with a speeding truck. So now you think twice before driving on the same road after a few weeks.


You’ll be surprised to know that some fears are imaginary. The human brain is an absolute masterpiece, and sometimes it can work overtime. People tend to fear specific stimuli that aren’t very scary or roughly that’s not even real. Individuals assume that something terrible ‘may’ happen and that makes them take a step back and get into the whirlwind of ‘what-ifs.’ Fear diminishes their ability to think, and they become victims of anxiety and depression that started with something as small as just a thought.



Ways To Deal With Fear


1} Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway


There’s a famous book that’s written by late author Susan Jeffers, ‘Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway.’ I recommend that you read this book. It has valuable insights about feeling any fear and continuing with one’s task, whatever it may be. It makes you realize a valuable lesson, and, i.e., as long as you continue to grow as a person, you will experience various kinds of fears and apprehensions. And that shouldn’t deter you from accomplishing what you ought to do. The only way to combat fear is to face it head-on. As scary as it may sound, but that’s the truth. Living a caged life along with your fears is not worth it. If you want to explore the nook and crannies of this world, then you’ve got to take appropriate steps, and that begins by facing what scares you.


2} Systematic Desensitization


Many psychologists use this method in their therapy sessions, and it works wonders for many. Systematic desensitization is exposing a person gradually to things, situations or events that seem to trigger fear. If a person is terrified of spiders, then the first session is spent by talking about various spiders and bugs. The next meeting involves watching YouTube videos or a documentary about them. And then a few weeks later, the person tries and holds a live spider. These little steps are useful in making a person realize that the fear that’s harboring inside isn’t that bad after all..


3} Correct Thinking Mistakes


Try and change your perspective about fear. Instead of looking at it as something dreadful and unpleasant, approach it with the intention of learning something out of it. Experience is the best teacher one can find. So dive in and see what life has to offer. It can be anything under the sun. If you’re scared of water, take beginners lessons in swimming with an instructor. In case speaking in public gives you jitters, attend a public speaking program and learn the nuances of facing a crowd. Once you get into the habit of changing the way you think and looking at fears positively, there’s nothing that can scare you from then on.


4} Failure Is Good


In reality, countless people are fearful only because they fear failure. We’re a generation that was brought up with the ideology that failure is catastrophic. But in reality, it’s the best thing that can happen to anybody. Success is sweet, no doubt. But failure teaches you something that success doesn’t and, i.e., perseverance. People tend to get complacent with success, but failure gives you that drive to move on, work hard and achieve your dreams. Quit fearing roadblocks, detours, and disappointments. They direct you to something truly astounding that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.


So next time if a friend or an acquaintance tells you to ‘snap-out’ of your fears, smile and tell him or her that you’re working on them and you will overcome them no matter what.