Definition of Fear
Fear is a vital response to any physical and emotional danger which has strong roots throughout human evolution.
If we didn’t feel fear – we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats, which in our ancestral world existed frequently as life-or-death situations.
Unfortunately, in our modern world, often times we find ourselves in many fearful situations where the stakes are much lower, but our body and brain are still treating the threats as dangerous ones.
Furthermore, these situations might trigger extreme and oftentimes unnecessary anxiety and stress-freeze situations.
However, the original purpose of fear was to help keep us alive, but not to stop us from living.
The Side Effects
When you feel frightened or seriously anxious, your mind and body work very quickly. You may have:
- Fast heart beats (irregular)
- Fast breathing
- Weakness in muscles
- A lot of sweating
- Loose bowels
- Lack of concentration
- Feeling frozen to the spot
- Loss of appetite
- Having a hot and cold sweats
- Having a dry mouth
- Having tense muscles
You may also experience:
- High blood flow to the muscles
- Increased blood sugar
- Mental ability to focus on the thing that your body perceives as a threat
- Become more irritable
- Have trouble sleeping
- Develop headaches
- Have trouble getting on with work and planning for the future
- Sex problems
- Loss of self-confidence
3 Types of Fear
While healthy fear is still effectively alerting us to danger, there are two other types of fear that have evolved over time: real fear and illogical fear.
All three types of fear can help us grow, but more often they may become obstacles to experience the joy of living.
So, let’s take a look and see how each one affects our life, and how to work with them efficiently.
This type of emotion helps us make distinction between safe situations and dangerous ones.
It is a type of fear that we need for our survival and protection, and it is characterized by a physical response:
- a rush of adrenaline
- an elevated heart rate
- a burst of energy
Yes, it keeps us safe, and we should respect that instinct – but we don’t have to always listen to it.
How to handle it?
Listen to your intuition.
If your intuition is telling you something is off, then it is really off. Always listen to what your instincts are trying to tell you, and take steps to ensure your safety.
For example, if you have got a feeling to avoid a certain road – honor your intuition.
A real fear is probably the fear of losing the people we love most, or, not to achieve our dreams and aspirations, before we die.
This feeling exists because (as you know) life by itself is a terminal condition.
Unfortunately, we all have an expiration date.
These feelings may be existential, but they are associated with real events like death, change, and pain.
Still, we shouldn’t allow this emotion to consume us to the point that we stop fully living our lives.
How to handle it?
Real fears can be very empowering.
For example, if you fear losing people you love, unconsciously you put all your energy to the thought.
Or, process of aging causes anxiety emotions, but instead of wasting energy on all these subjects, try to make your golden years better.
Don’t get blocked by these emotions.
The good thing about real fear is that it can be used as a powerful motivation for using our thoughts and spending our time wisely.
Illogical fear resides on the opposite end of the spectrum from healthy fear.
It feels the same, but it is typically triggered as a result of something hypothetical or altogether nonexistent.
Whether big or small, this fear manifests for all of us in different ways, most often in forms of:
- Public speaking
- Claustrophobia etc.
Just imagine for a moment what your life would be like, if this type of irrational emotions were eliminated?
How to handle it?
1.Face the fears
If you always avoid situations that scare you, you might stop doing things you want /or need to do.
You won’t be able to test out whether the situation is always as bad as you expect, so you miss the chance to work out how to manage your fears and reduce your anxiety.
Anxiety problems tend to increase if you get into this pattern. Exposing yourself to your fears can be an effective way of overcoming this anxiety.
2.Know yourself more
- Learn more about your fear or anxiety
- Find the root causes
- Keep an anxiety diary/ or thought record to note down when it happens and what happens
- Set yourself small and achievable goals for facing your fears
- Carry with you a list of things that help at times when you are likely to be become frightened or anxious
These methods can be an effective way of addressing the underlying beliefs that are behind your anxiety.
Learning relaxation techniques can help you with the mental and physical feelings of fear. It can help just to drop your shoulders and breathe deeply.
Or, imagine yourself in a relaxing place.
Try to eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and try to avoid too much sugar.
Highs and lows in your blood sugar can give you more anxious feelings.
5.Avoid alcohol or consume in moderation
It’s very common for people to drink when they feel nervous.
Unfortunately, the after-effects of alcohol can make you feel even more afraid or anxious then before.
6. Complementary Therapies
Some people find that complementary therapies or exercises (relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, or t’ai chi), help them to deal with their anxiety.
7.Have more faith or develop more spirituality
If you are religious or spiritual, this can give you a way of feeling connected to something bigger than yourself.
Faith can provide a way of coping with everyday stress, and attending church and other faith groups can connect you with a valuable support network.
How To Get Help
Talking therapies (counselling or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), are very effective for people with anxiety problems, including Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which takes you through a series of self-help exercises on screen.
If you want to find out more, visit your GP.
Drug treatments are used to provide short-term help, rather than looking at the root of the anxiety problems.
They may be most useful when they are combined with other treatments or support.
Don’t rely only to them.
You can learn a lot about managing anxiety from asking other people who have experienced it.
Local support groups or self-help groups bring together people with similar experiences so that they can hear each other’s stories, share tips and encourage each other to try out new ways to manage themselves.
Fear can be overcome!
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