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The Different Types of Fear and How to Deal with Them

Updated on September 4, 2017
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Cage J Madison is an indie author with a diploma in psychology and experience in confidence, gender issues, and fitness.

The two greatest motivators throughout history have been fear and greed as often noted by less than optimistic philosophers. While greed can border on a philosophical theory affected by culture and the environment, fear is much more noticeable and collectively defined.

Despite the nature of it, people have been nervous about studying the psychology behind fear and the effects it may have on a person’s mental health. In Modern psychology, some analysts believe all too often everything boils down to fear in some form or another. If so, then fear might play a bigger role in shaping a person’s psychology than any other fundamental factors.

Fear plays a bigger role in shaping a person’s psychology than any other fundamental factors.
Fear plays a bigger role in shaping a person’s psychology than any other fundamental factors.

The Three Basic Fear Categories

As much as there are several potential triggers to fear, there are also as many types of fears. However, they can be categorized into three basic fears: external, internal, or subconscious.

Between the three, the subconscious and internal types of fear are most difficult to find treatment for because the person must take it on themselves to recognise the source of fear and take necessary steps to overcome it.

Identifying the category in which each fear you might be suffering from fits into will help you know how to deal with it.

External Fear

Among the types of fear, External Fear is one of the easiest to diagnose and manage. It is similar to phobias wherein an outside source elicits a degree of internal fear or any manageable level of anxiety. For example, fear of spiders or fear of heights are among the most common phobias that several people share.

A feeling of fear, anxiety or discomfort is experienced by the person with that particular fear when the situation confronts them with those triggers. Since the source of fear is easier to identify, then you can quickly look for alternative ways in which to face that trigger and overcome fear.

Internal Fear

Internal Fear is the type of fear closely associated with low levels of self-esteem or confidence. But like with external fear, the triggers are coming from an outside source, and yet it produces a negative emotion. This trigger will then create internal reactions or fears such as self-doubt or questioning your capability to do something.

Most often, when people begin to question their abilities, failure is unavoidable. This type of fear often impacts your ability to interact with the social environment.

Subconscious Fear

Accepting beliefs in your mind produces Subconscious Fear which serves to limit your potentials and worse could end up in self-sabotage. Subconscious Fear is somewhat associated with the internal type of fear wherein you tend to question your capacity to achieve something, which leads you towards self-doubt and negative self-talk.

This one requires you to take active steps towards reversing those beliefs and enable you to maximize your potential.

Identifying the category in which each fear you might be suffering from fits into will help you know how to deal with it

The Domination of Fear

As you can see from the above three different types of fear, all fear can manifest itself in some different ways. Ancient Spartans were considered to be fearless because of the way they fought and stood their ground against massive attacking armies. However, the reality of this was far different than what history has shown us. Raised in an environment where acceptance and embrace of the rule were supreme, the initial fear and worry felt by the Spartans was directed towards the notion of being disliked.

If you suffer from a chronic ability to stay in a committed relationship, you might be housing a fear of being loved, possibly a side effect of not being loved as a child.

Fear can also manifest as more solid mental health issues such as anxiety and phobias. Fear may also lead to someone developing a variety of psychological disorders as potential complications.

The fact is fear is more dominant in our daily lives than anyone would care to admit.

In fact, to deny even the feeling of fear is a subconscious tendency of most people, where, rather than being accepting of their fears, they would prefer to shift their emotions to things like anger or depression. This change can be due to many factors, including environment, upbringing, and previous experiences, and, rather than defining it as something that it appears similar to, most experts believe that the key to overcoming this problem is to recognise the fear as fear.

This issue is often developed by someone during their childhood, and instead of outgrowing their fears, they have allowed them to remain rooted deep inside their subconscious. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean damage to mental health, it can still have some unwanted effects on how that person may interact within society.

Understanding the Fear of Failure

Fear as a Survival Instinct

Fear triggers many survival instincts within us
Fear triggers many survival instincts within us

Now, I want to point out here that not everything about fear should be seen as being negative. In fact, it is well known that fear is what separates the hero from everyone else. It is also a huge factor when it comes to ensuring the survival of the human race because fear triggers many survival instincts within us that prevent or cause us to avoid taking too many unnecessary risks.

Fear also triggers the body to enter survival mode (the primitive part of us all) when faced with extreme danger, pumping large amounts of adrenaline into the system to give ordinary humans the near-superhuman physical abilities needed to survive certain situations. Fear prevents people from taking unreasonable risks that could endanger their current status, whether the risk is social, physical, financial, or sexual.

The problem with fear only arises when we fail to acknowledge the fear or even if we accept it too much. And of course, recognising the fear or not recognising it too much is usually easier said than done.

Any unattractive thought you might have or emotion you might feel that causes you great misery can often refer to fear. Any feeling you might get when you are anxious about maybe something terrible might happen can also be associated with fear.

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Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone

The fight or flight response is initiated whenever we experience fear. Any fear begins with the trigger of a particular stimulus, and this may be in the form of water, insects or perhaps any life threatening situation. There will always be something which will trigger that emotional response and fear will always be present in your life.

For one who is always within their comfort zone, fear will often be aggravated. To step into the unknown world of being balanced and begin to grow, you must reach outside the comfort zone every once in a while to achieve this. However, hoping to become fearless in all aspects of your life is entirely unrealistic because fear will rise in numerous aspects of your life. But when this does happen, you need to learn how not to let yourself be bound and gagged by your fears. You can’t just merely learn to adapt to your fears; you must learn to overcome them.

Sheltering fear within will discourage your growth. Yes, feeling fear is a part of who we are, but by allowing fear to keep you imprisoned will, in turn, result in affecting your ability to make the rational decisions you should be making in life, and it can even change your habits and actions.

Age of Fear

Within all of us is a particular, unfounded fear lying in wait
Within all of us is a particular, unfounded fear lying in wait

Within all of us is a particular, unfounded fear lying in wait. This fear causes the ruin of your confidence which results in the direct influence on your personal growth to becoming balanced. If you are always living a life in fear, then it’s safe to say that you often misinterpret particular situations in life that then triggers a development of fear which may either be real or fabricated.

If you continue to live with this type of sensation, you will often feel insecure about who you are which results in us creating a fake persona. And then this results in you always being overly anxious and not knowing how you can look at life with a positive point of view. All capability of logical and clear thinking simply goes out the window, and because of this, your living in fear often limits your ability to progress regarding your interpersonal and intrapersonal life.

However, as I stated earlier, not all fear should be viewed as being entirely negative. There are also some advantages to fear, like ensuring you don’t end up doing something stupid that may result in you losing your life. But, by allowing fear to take on your life to a greater extent such as influencing your ability of logical and clear thinking, the disadvantages are always much higher than the advantages.

So always keep this in mind, because being extremely fearful of something has some massive effects on your body. It can cause painful headaches which can become very annoying if you’re a person who is constantly on the go and often preoccupied with work. It can also cause severe diarrhea.

Other physiological effects include:

  • shortness of breath
  • rapid heartbeat and
  • excessive breathing

A few other things fear can also deter you from are:

  • reaching your goals
  • forming lasting relationships
  • achieving success in life which you’ve always dreamed of

And perhaps the biggest one of all

  • the fear of failure

If you fear to fail, then you lose the strength to strive hard and end up being unsuccessful. On the other hand, if you are willing to take the necessary steps to overcome this fear attached with commitment, dedication and hard work, you will find yourself becoming a successful person in your field of choice.

One who overcomes their fear is a rock, a pillar in the wind. They are a mountain of strength which is often quite difficult to find in the world

— Cage J Madison

So, In Conclusion…

Fear is the primary limiter when it comes to someone wanting to change and discover their real potential. When you allow fear to limit your potential, you remove the vital aspects of your improvement and maturity regarding your personality and your career. Do you want this to continue for the rest of your life? No, of course not, so you must act on it right away and begin conquering your fear.

One who overcomes their fear is a rock, a pillar in the wind. They are a mountain of strength which is often quite difficult to find in the world.

Every single one of us lives our lives with a certain kind of fear; these could be the fear of heights, of change, or even the fear of rejection. Regardless of what your fears may be, it is your choice that lies within you to either conquer your fears once and for all or allow them to keep limiting your ability to progress to your maximum potential.


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