- Mental Health
What You Did Not Know About Fears
Powerful -Primal Emotion of Fear
Fear is a very powerful, primal emotion, which is a reaction to danger. Fear was a critical factor in keeping our ancestors alive as they had to stay alert to so many different types of dangers. It can also keep us safe. Driving a car in a strange, busy city can surely evoke these emotions very quickly. However, fear can be an individual reaction or that of a collective group. Consider the Washington DC sniper attacks, which created such wide-spread fear in a geographical area.
People cope with fear on many levels daily in many different forms. Some of the common fears people experience involve: financial problems, health fears, work or boss problems, relationship problems or maybe dental appointments. The list could go on and on.
Life Begins Each Day
We make a living by what we get,
but we make a life by what we give.
Physical Symptoms of Fear
The most prominent components of fear include:
There are actually two stages of fear. There is a biochemical response and an emotional response. The biochemical response is the “fight or flight” mechanism that is the evolutionary response, which prepares the body by the use of adrenalin. This is a survival response.
Coping with Anxiety
Anxiety and fear have different physical responses.
Anxiety can cause:
- Difficulty swallowing
Physical responses to rational fears are often due to the perception of loss of control include: an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, trembling and the muscles tense up as blood is shunted to the long muscles to prepare the body for a fight or to run. The “fight or flight” stress mechanism kicks in and our focus narrows to the perceived threat.
The emotional response is a highly individual response. Think about Halloween. It is a whole industry based on the fact that many people enjoy fear. They are not looking to be injured, but they like the thrill of being scared. Then, there are some people who are adrenalin junkies, which is a person involved in extreme sports as they thrive on the thrill.
The emotional response to fear is somewhat unique to each individual, based on their life experiences.
Panic, Anxiety and Flight!
When I was about 14 years old and walking home one afternoon from my girlfriend’s house, I waited to cross a street that had a stop sign because a car was stopped. The car did not move for a few minutes, so I looked inside and to my horror there was a male driver watching me who had one hand on the appendage that protruded from his trousers, standing proud and tall. I panicked and fear instantly took over. I’m sure adrenalin was coursing though my veins. I ran away from the car and all the way home in record time, which was probably about a half a mile. I could have easily ran to any house on that street and knocked on the door, but I could only think about the safety of home.
I don’t think the car followed me, but I never looked back. My parents called the police and I gave a description of the man and car, which was probably vague. I certainly had other small fears when I was growing up, but this one topped the chart.
Many people wonder what is expected of them in a personal relationship with so many crazy things happening in the world today. They want to hang onto that dream of having a "soul mate" for a lifelong companion, and the bulk of relationships do not work out this way. They take a lot of work.
Trust is a major issue in a strong relationship, and it is one thing that can instantly destroy a relationship. But, should you be worried your mate is going to be unfaithful, or that you might say the wrong things causing anger? No one can life their life worried about what might happen. It is an awful way to let fear control you. It is impossible to be happy and to have faith in the future is you are always worried about what MIGHT happen. Most of our worries do not happen. Live a day at a time as life is short.
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
How to Manage Stress
Worry and fear can stop you from fully realizing your dreams. If you are afraid you will not do well in college and therefore, do not attend, your dream job will never happen. Many people are afraid to speak up because they think they will look foolish, or be embarrassed, and the end result is depression.
Fear can keep you in a place where you are not even taking on the smallest risk. Certainly many people have legitimate fears regarding their finances, job security or over the way things are rapidly changing in our county. Try to write down some facts about your fears. Write the nature of the fear, the triggers and how the fear began.
Often fear comes from some instance that occurs in childhood. Then, by recognizing the root of this fear it is quite possible you can move forward without this fear being a problem. Write your experiences as it can be helpful. You can look back and see fears you have overcome, or if you start feeling that fear again, you can read exactly what you did the last time it was a problem.
If the fear is controlling you and the prior steps haven’t worked, then, the last step is to desensitize yourself to the fear. Make a plan to overcome the fear by taking baby steps toward your goal. Sometimes direct confrontation of the fear is the way to move forward. Find someone you can trust. Sometimes things seem much more manageable when they are shared. Do not let anyone stand in your way toward meeting your new goals.
Of course, there is always professional counseling if your fears are interfering with the quality of your life on a daily basis. Psychologists, for instance, are safe people to talk to as they can not divulge anything you say to anyone else.
Secrets to Overcoming Fear
If you truly want to change and overcome worry and fear it is time to redefine you. By redefining yourself, you become willing to talk and write about your fears, to try new and different things. You are willing to take a few risks. Every victory makes you a little bit stronger and more willing to break away from the destructive thinking and actions of the past.
© 2013 Pamela Oglesby