What is Fear?

What is Fear?

Throughout the existence of the human race, fear is an emotion that has been interspersed with other more common emotions like happiness and sadness in the minds of a human. Fear, by definition, is a very unpleasant or disturbing feeling caused by the presence or imminence of danger. There’s no one who has been spared. Everyone has a fear of something or the other. The only disparity is that in some, it is more pronounced while in others, it is less. It can be described in two different ways. In uncountable form, its caused by actual or perceived danger. In the countable form, it’s induced by something or someone.

The fears are varied and incalculable. There’s the fear in an uncountable form that includes fear of heights, darkness, public speaking, death, ghosts, flying, water, God, fear of open spaces and confined spaces and many others. Fear in countable form is the fear of ants, spiders, and other animals. It also covers the fear of terrorist attacks, war or criminal, being alone, exams and a lot more.

On 8th July 2014 a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, found staggering data.

Percent of things feared that will never take place: 60%

  • Percent of things feared that happened in the past and can’t be changed: 30%
  • Number of Americans who have a diagnosed phobia: 6.3 Million
  • Percent of things feared that are considered to be insignificant issues: 90%
  • Percent of things feared in relation to health that will not happen: 88%

Types of Fear:

They even researched the top fears faced by the U.S. population.
Here’s what they came up with the Fear of:

Public speaking – Glossophobia: 74%

Death – Necrophobia: 68%

Spiders – Arachnophobia: 30.5%

Darkness – Achluophobia, Scotophobia or Myctophobia: 11%

Heights – Acrophobia: 10%

People or Social Situations – Sociophobia: 7.9%

Flying – Aerophobia: 6.5%

Confined spaces – Claustrophobia: 2.5%

Open spaces  – Agoraphobia: 2.2%

Thunder and Lightning – Brontophobia: 2%

The Hollywood stars who are capable to jump off from the top of a building, race cars, swim on a high tide in a sea actually have real fears that are Johnny Depp, Daniel Radcliffe, and Sean “Diddy” Combs are frightened of clowns. “Something about the painted face, the fake smile,” Depp said in 1999 when he was promoting the film “Sleepy Hollow.” “There always seemed to be a darkness lurking just under the surface, a potential for real evil.” Uma Thurman is claustrophobic and fears confined spaces. “There was no acting required. Real screams available,” she told reporters about the scene in “Kill Bill: Vol. 2” where she is buried alive in a coffin. “It was horrific. Nobody wants to live that experience.”

Alia Bhatt who has won the hearts of critics and fans alike has a fear of darkness and cannot sleep without a dim light in her room. Actor Arjun Kapoor has a weird fear of ceiling fans. That is precisely the reason why he doesn’t have a single ceiling fan in his house. Everyone is encompassed in fear. No one’s free.

Fear is always accompanied by a host of symptoms physical, behavioral and emotional which can get quite disturbing. Almost everyone would have faced these symptoms before a job interview, or before the first day in a college, or before visiting a doctor. There’s tightness in chest and throat, breathlessness, dry mouth, weakness in muscles, hollow stomach and lack of energy. These physical symptoms can be dealt with easily. The behavioral symptoms include sleep disturbances, appetite disturbances, social withdrawal, dreams of deceased, searching/calling out, crying and clinging to reminders. It is the emotional symptoms that really pegs a person back and is the greatest hassle. Anxiety, guilt, helplessness, yearning, self-reproach, and numbness surround a person and they make sure that the person is kept down. It can lead to phobias if the fear isn’t addressed or confronted.

Ways to Overcome

The purpose of fear is to protect us from dangerous situations. If there’s a lion in front of you, the most natural thing that would come to your mind is to run away to save your life. There are a few proven ways to fight it. There are a few ways to overcome fear. Some of the prominent methods are:

  • Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway. Take positive action against it. Face it and overcome it through courage and a positive outlook. If the fear of failure stops you from taking up that course, go ahead and enroll yourself in that course.
  • Educate Yourself: Learn more and more about the object you’re afraid of. You’re afraid of giving up your job and pursuing your dream to be a writer. Learn how you can be a better writer. Read and write more. Chuck your job. Start with writing a blog and then write your novel that could turn out to be a bestseller.
  • Affirmations: Use self-affirmations to lend a positive spin to whatever you’re afraid of. Write these self-affirmations on sticky notes and paste them where you can see them a number of times.
  • Visualization: Positive visualization is an amazing and extremely powerful technique of fighting your fears. Project yourself overcoming your fears. If you’re afraid of public speaking, imagine yourself delivering a flawless and powerful speech to the audience. Keep the image in your mind firmly.
  • What’s the worst-case scenario? Ask this question repeatedly to yourself. What’s the worst that can happen, anyway? If you ask this question, you’ll realize how silly the fear is. If you’re afraid of asking your crush out, what’s the worst that could happen? Her saying ‘No?’ That isn’t that bad, right?

Henry Ford said, “One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” It’s okay to be fearful. Everyone is. However, if it starts acting as a hindrance and stops you from doing what you want, then it is a problem. Stop falling into its trap. Take a stand and fight them and always do what you are afraid to do.