- Mental Health
How To Deal With Fear
What Causes Fear?
Fear, as it is, is not cause by anything in particular, it is part of our human psyche. To ask why we have fear is the same as asking why do we find things funny, why do we get angry, why do we breathe. This is how we are "wired". When a snake attacks you, it is only normal to get into what we call the fight or flight mode. Evolution have made us such to help us avoid any harm or danger to ourselves.
Unlike breathing and blinking, however, the role of fear is more obvious in our lives. Our fear can even affect how we breath and make us stop blinking. Fear plays a very big part of our day to day lives and denying it would only make it like the elephant sitting in the room that grows bigger and bigger. We should deal with it before we run out of space to even breathe.
Role of Fear in Our Lives
It is normal to have fear if someone is trying to mug you or attack you. In such situations our fear is our ally, it is like the airbag in our cars that prevents any harm or injury to us when we are in a car accident. Like anything else in this world fear, to a great extent, definitely has its benefits. A baby can innocently try and grab a lit candle and harm him/herself because he/she has no idea what fire can do to him/her, and does not fear anything (yet).
Fear, however, becomes a very dangerous weapon when you don't try to acknowledge it and if you only continue to repress it. It can overpower you without any warning and can lead to anxiety and depression. That is why fear is one of the most researched and discussed emotions on psychology today. It is a very powerful emotion.Sometimes over powering.
Fear becomes a liability to you when it gets in the way of your progress and when you need to take certain action in order to have a better future. Alot of times, when we need to take action, we find ourselves getting over powered by the fear of a bad outcome. It could be the fear of approaching our boss to ask for a raise, or getting on stage to sing in front of so many people, etc. The fear of something that has not happened yet is very debilitating for all of us.
We all have our different fears, and it has a huge influence on our lives. Someone with a great voice ends up choosing a 9 to 5 job instead of pursuing a singing career because he/she is afraid of performing. It can really limit our potential, and keep us from achieving our dreams.
While we all have fear instilled in our psyche, WHAT we fear differ from people to people, this is what makes everyone unique-the WHAT. What you fear can depend on a lot of outside factors. Just as the baby who played with fire eventually learns to fear it, just like that you can also be influenced by experience or by another person to be afraid.
When I was small my mom made me join swimming lessons, but the coach was very forceful and it made me very scared to the extent that I used to get nightmares at night. When my mom saw this she immediately stopped the swimming lessons. I never got over that fear, and didn't learn to swim until my late teens, after which I never had any fear of swimming.
How To Deal With Fear
The best way to deal with fear is to look it in the eye and say....I am very scared of you. Yes that is right. A study has shown that describing how we felt during the frightening experience helps us to deal with our fear in a better way, and the fear itself dissipates faster. To have an "Oprah moment" rather than trying to "be a man" is actually more helpful. to approach a snake while saying that "I am scared of this ugly animal and the way it moves" helps you to look into your fear more objectively than trying to deny and have everyone believe how manly you are by saying "I am not afraid of this snake", while your hands are sweaty and trembling.
The only way to deal with your fears is to feel it and do it anyway. The only way to let it not overpower you is to be objective about it and try to describe what you are feeling, this helps to clear your mind and be calm in the face of apparent danger, and will make you see whether your fears are rational or not.
Many times you will notice that when you share your fears with your loved ones they will sometimes find out how irrational it is, because they do not have the fear and so they can see your fear with an objective point of view. So sharing with someone who you trust really helps as they can help you make sense out of the whole thing.
What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are here to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.— J Krishnamurti
Fear is one of the most powerful emotions you will ever feel as a human being on this planet. It is what shapes our characteristics and it plays a great part in making us who we are and different from other people.
Fear can be our greatest ally as we go through life, it is what makes us able to swerve our steering wheel all of a sudden out of reflex and get out of harms way. It is what tells our body to run when someone is trying to attack us. To get out when the building is burning down.
The only way for fear to always be one of our greatest ally is by managing it. Never deny it or repress it. If you have fear towards anything or anyone, try your best to be objective and reason with it. If your fear is overpowering it helps to share your fear with someone you are close to and can trust. It definitely helps to talk to them as there is a good chance they can shine an objective light towards it. There are even support groups with a trained speaker who can help you deal with your fears especially when they are over powering that it starts affecting your personal life.
Fear is nothing to fear about as long as you manage it. Good luck.
There is Nothing to Fear but Fear itself.— Franklin D. Roosevelt