What is it that you are frightened of? Those who live in fear are enslaved indefinitely. They’re terrified of nearly everything; the dread of failure, the fear of satanic manipulations, and the fear of other people. But why should I be afraid when I have the universe’s ruler on my side? Who can be against me if God is for me [Romans 8:31]?
What Fear Is All About
Everyone on the planet experiences fear, which is one of the universal emotions. When there is an emotional, physical, or psychological threat to one’s life, fear occurs. Fear is a primal, powerful, and natural human emotion. It is characterized by a uniform physiological response as well as a strong emotional response. Fear serves as a warning system for us when we are in danger, whether it be psychological or physical.
Fear can be triggered by real hazards, but it can also be triggered by imagined or perceived dangers. Fear can be a sign of a variety of mental health issues, including panic attacks, phobias, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Fear is made up of two fundamental responses to perceived threats: a biochemical reaction and an emotional reaction.
What exactly do we mean when we say “fear”? What exactly does it mean to be terrified? Fear is a natural feeling that serves to protect us. Fear, that awful sense that emerges when we believe we are in danger, is undeniable. The threat could be genuine or imagined.
The term “fear,” is derived from the old English root “fer or fere” which means “danger” or “surprise.” It’s intriguing that the root of the word implies that there is a threat to which we are unprepared. We may not feel terrified if we are prepared.
Fear is an abstraction in and of itself. The sensation is the result of a bodily reaction to something we see, hear, feel, touch, taste, or smell. These images, sounds, and sensations can come from the real world or our imagination. Fear is not something we have, but something we do, regardless of its source.
Fear is a negative feeling. It can range from slight uneasiness to a gut-wrenching, heart-pumping jolt that surges like a fiery volcanic eruption before congealing like cooled lava in the pit of the stomach. When we hear a noise in the night or see an open window that we didn’t leave open, it immediately rises. It has the ability to surprise us and cause us to behave without thinking. You could be contentedly relaxing when you suddenly realize that you left your personal computer files on display at work, before you know it, you’ve risen halfway out of your chair.
Fear can also creep up on you gradually, such as that long-awaited dental appointment approaches, or as that public speaking engagement you agreed to in a fit of craziness creeps up the calendar toward you like a snake. The sharper, more uncomfortable, and intense the fear gets, the more imminent the apparent danger. We take action right away. We act.
The highly unpleasant sensations of dread and foreboding are shared by both fear and anxiety, but when the source of dread is a threat that can be defined, the experience is called Fear. A sensation of uneasiness, worry, dread, or even horror generated by the existence or proximity of a risk or threat is known as fear.
Types of Fear
There are two types of fear, which are: Authentic and Unreal fear.
Authentic fear is triggered in the present moment by a perceived threat. It motivates us to take action in order to escape danger. It’s a crucial natural reaction whose goal is to keep us safe. Authentic fear can be beneficial.
Our imaginations of what might happen trigger Unreal fear. Usually, it’s about something that we don’t want to happen in the future. It has the same noble goal in mind, which is to keep us secure.
It is only beneficial in the sense that it can encourage us to take action to avoid or reduce the likelihood of a future occurrence, because we aren’t fully aware of the situation we’re imagining, unreal terror can be more of a hazy worry or generalized uneasiness.
We will always have some thoughts and imaginings about a circumstance that provokes genuine anxiety, but they will come later. Authentic fear is more powerful, sharper, and cuts deeper than Unreal fear.
Authentic fear is a natural response to a current threat. Our imagination creates unreal fear. Both sorts of dread are intended to be beneficial. In other words, they’re attempting to achieve something worthwhile. Authentic fear is a powerful reaction that has developed over time. Its main function is to keep us safe. The sensation is uncomfortable, which serves as a potent motivator to take action. Our minds and bodies prepare to fight or flee in the event of a threat.
Unreal fear is also attempting to achieve a goal, it is usually attempting to protect us, make us pay attention, alert us to a problem, or force us to study the circumstance. However, it is not doing so in an efficient manner.
We construct the threat through our mind, and then we respond with unreal fear. While this part is about fear as an enemy, we must also consider the fear beneficial goal.
There are many more effective strategies to be safe, assess the situation, and stay attentive than instilling unfounded fear.
Authentic fear warns us of impending danger. It’s evolution’s way of saying, “Wait a minute!” It is uncomfortable, yet it serves a beneficial purpose in keeping us safe, secure, and alive. We normally learn to avoid future danger or find skills to cope with existing danger through authentic fear.
Authentic fear can be an issue if it causes you to freeze rather than run or fight, albeit your mind usually doesn’t have time to intervene and you do the proper thing on instinct. When there is no real risk, you may feel genuine terror.
For example, suppose you’re walking down the street and notice a shadow that makes you believe something is falling on you. You are terrified and leap out of the way. In reality, it was nothing more than a shadow cast over the sun. The terror, on the other hand, was genuine since you believed there was a real threat at the time.
This is about how you interpret an event. This would be an unreal fear if you walked along the street afraid that something would fall on you. We don’t want authentic fear to paralyze us like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car. We want to take action and put an end to the threat.
Fear that isn’t based on reality is an issue. Because it is based on imagination rather than reason, it can paralyze us, make us feel less resourceful, and cannot be reasoned with. Imagination is more powerful than logic.
Consider the imagination of biting a juicy lemon. Feel the fruit on your tongue, and visualize the aroma and color in your hand. Why are you salivating when your reason says the lemon isn’t there? Our minds can conjure up a lemon that is genuine enough to make us salivate, as well as fictional scenarios that are real enough to make us fearful.
Often, unreal fear is based on what could happen (future), rather than what has happened (past). Uncertainty is a source of anxiety. We fill the hole with imaginings when we lack facts, and these are the things that scare us. Our fantasies are just as gruesome and terrifying as the worst-case scenario.
Types of Unreal fear
There are various varieties of unreal fear. They can range from the severe sensations of a phobia or panic attack to anxiety and worry. The stresses of life, especially in a fast-paced, achievement-oriented society, can also lead to social fear.
What exactly is a phobia? Phobia is derived from the Greek word “phobos”, which means “fear,” yet a phobia is more than a simple fear. It’s a sudden, unreasonable, and overwhelming fear of something or someone that isn’t immediately dangerous. Snakes, spiders, enclosed spaces, and heights are all common phobias. A person suffering from a phobia cannot reason himself out of it. They feel obliged to avoid the phobia’s source. If they can’t, they’ll be so terrified that they’ll have to flee whatever it is that’s frightening them.
A phobia is a fear of anything that isn’t an actual threat, the scenario or animal that a person is afraid of isn’t dangerous. Someone who has a snake phobia is afraid of snakes not because they are poisonous, but because they are snakes. People who suffer from a severe phobia may find it distressing to think about the scenario, read about it, or watch photos or films about it. Flying, wide-open places, and being in an enclosed place are all phobias for some people. Flying, dentists, and crowds are all popular phobias. All of these things could potentially be deadly, but with a phobia, you simply avoid them and don’t worry about them.
Phobias can be moderate or severe. Many people, for example, are afraid of heights and will not go near the edge if they are on top of a structure. Even looking out the window of a towering building might be challenging for some. People who have a severe fear of heights would not enter a tall building if they had to look down.
It will be unsettling to think about it. If they find themselves high up, they may experience a panic disorder and attempt to descend to ground level.
A person who suffers from a phobia is always aware of their condition. They are aware that there is no genuine risk; however they may try to rationalize their worry afterwards. Phobias are impervious to logic and argument. People may understand the fear, how it works, and even how they got it, yet they are still unable to overcome it.
Phobias can significantly impair a person’s life in extreme situations. Some people, for example, have agoraphobia, or a fear of open spaces. It is difficult for them to leave the house, even to go shopping. They are anxious every time they leave the house. Finally, they stop going out and hire someone to go out and take care of things for them. They will have a limited social life and will build their lives around their phobia.
Mild phobias might progress to anxiety. Anxiety is a fear that has a sharp edge to it and is frequently focused on the future. It could be connected to a specific situation, such as an upcoming public presentation. If you’re terrified of making a fool of yourself, it might also be tied to a pleasurable occurrence.
The origins of the term “anxiety” are fascinating. The word anxiety comes from the Latin verb “angere”, which means “to choke.” As previously stated in chapter one, this choking sensation is a result of the amygdala’s physiological response to fear. When someone loses at the last minute (typically in sports), we say they “choked,” and this is frequently due to fear over winning (or losing).
People can become apprehensive for no apparent reason, it’s merely a nebulous feeling of worry that isn’t tied to any situation or person.
Worry is derived from the Old English word “wyrgan”, which means “to strangle.” As a result, it embodies the same concept as anxiety. Worry and anxiety both prevent you from breathing freely. Worry is similar to anxiety, however it is usually milder. Worry is anxiety on a treadmill, you keep going around in circles, thinking about the same problem, and you never seem to get anywhere.
Worry frequently revolves around the future, with people speculating on what might happen.
For example: Hypochondriacs are concerned about their health despite frequent doctor visits indicating that nothing is wrong.
The majority of irrational phobias have distinct causes and treatments. Others are more broad and all-encompassing. They are a part of the culture in which we live. They are nourished by the stories we read in the newspapers and watch on television every day. These are referred to as “social fears.”
There are numerous instances to choose from. Because we live in a society that values achievement and performance, many people are concerned about their own performance and whether they will be able to attain their goals. Because there are more individuals competing for fewer possibilities, the cost of failure is significantly higher. Many people become fearful of losing their jobs as a result, and their performance anxiety rises. Many people are terrified of failing, especially with so much support available in the form of therapy and training. This can make them feel even worse, failing despite all available assistance appears unforgivable and ungrateful.
Many people are self-conscious about their appearance, particularly young ladies. Children as young as five years old have expressed dissatisfaction with their physique in surveys.
Another common social fear is the fear of authority. Regardless of our personal experiences with authority officials, the state’s power has grew in most countries of world. People are fearful of being watched as they go about their daily lives because there is considerably more public surveillance.
There is now an enormous amount of information available on every subject, and knowledge appears to have risen at an exponential rate. When you type a question into a search engine, you’ll get millions of results. Many people are concerned by the sheer volume of information available. Is there anything crucial they should be aware of? Is there something they’re missing? There must be some wisdom out there. This can lead to a pervasive sense of uneasiness that pervades daily life, causing people to perform at a lower level than they are capable of. Inferiority complexes can sometimes be caused by social fear.
Unreal fear can originate from three different places, the past, the present, and the future. The stimulation is in the now, but the threat usually stems from thinking what might happen in the future but hasn’t yet. It could also be about the past, such as what happened or could have happened.
Our minds have a wonderful ability to move through time. In the current instant, the only area where we can act and experience, the past, present, and future intertwine. Intellectually, people prefer to concentrate on one over the others. Consider the following scenario:
– Some people consider the past to be the most important. The past shapes who people are today and shapes what they do in the future.
– Some consider the present to be the most significant. They claim that we live in a complicated cause-and-effect system, and that we should try to comprehend what is going on right now in order to know what to do in the future. What is conceivable is determined by the present. The past doesn’t matter.
– Some argue that the future is the most crucial factor. The past provides us with the resources we need to achieve the future we desire. Our current ambitions are influenced by our long-term objectives.
All of these points of view are partially correct, but none are entirely correct. Perhaps St. Augustine’s aphorism, “The present has three dimensions… the present of past things, the present of present things, and the present of future things,” summed it up best.
The present can alter our perceptions of the past and open us a new future we never imagined could happen. It can also close off future prospects. We are always in the present, and by thinking about the past or the future now, we can bring them to life.
Now that we’ve learnt so much about fear, we shall delve deep into the remedies to controlling fear in the next chapter.
On a scale of 0-10, rate your fear in each of the situations. Write down your score and possible action in order to reduce the fear.
– Darkness. – Not having enough Money.
– Making mistakes. – Not achieving what you want.
– Meeting new people. – Deadlines.
– Small animals. – Public performance.
– Elevators. – Nightmares.
– Confined spaces. – Losing Money.
– Open spaces. – Being caught up in a terrorist attack.
– Air travel. – Change.
– Being underground. – Commitment.
– Being on a boat. – Not looking your best.
– Thunderstorms. – Blood.
– Losing a friend or loved one. – Others not mentioned.