What is Fear and How to Overcome It

What is Fear and How to Overcome It

We’ve all been afraid of someone or something before. For example, most people think clowns are scary, and when I was little, I used to be afraid of vacuums. Some people have claustrophobia, making them uncomfortable to be in confined spaces. Acrophobia is the fear of heights, agoraphobia is the fear of being alone in a scenario where escaping is impossible, so on and so forth. But have you ever wondered why we have those irrational fears? According to VeryWellMind, fear is a primitive (an early aspect in one’s species) emotion that helps alert us to the presence of danger, be it physical or psychological. It can come from actual threats or be an exaggerated, fanciful danger. It can also be a symptom of mental disorders like PTSD or social anxiety disorder. Fear can be derived from trauma or having no control or understanding over the situation. Some fears are evolutionary influenced while others are completely random. Lisa Fritscher, the individual who wrote this article, states that fear is composed of two primary reactions to some type of perceived threat: biochemical and emotional.

Biochemical Reaction

This type of fear is a survival mechanism. An example would be the “flight-or-fight response”. When we approach a considered threat, our bodies naturally react a certain way. These reactions usually arise from early childhood or can be an evolutionary development.

Curtsy of Google Images

Emotional Response

These reactions are more personalized. Fear is connected to several of the same chemical reactions in our brains that positive emotions like happiness and excitement do, giving us a sense of adrenaline. This is why some people are adrenaline seekers, who thrive on being in extreme situations. The reaction can induce a negative response as well depending on the person and the situation, but the physical reaction is typically the same.


Curtsy of Google Images

Undeniably, we know when we or others get scared or extremely uncomfortable by how we physically and emotionally feel due to a perceived threat because of the symptoms we have. Everyone has a different reaction to fear but some of the common signs include nausea, rapid heartbeat, sweating, dry mouth, goosebumps, ant trembling. People may also feel that they have no sense of control over the world around them or a sense of impending doom. In some occasions, it could just be anxiety, so you may consider talking to your doctor if you are feeling excessive apprehension.

Conquering Your Fears

Now, here comes the hard part. How are you supposed to face something that you’re afraid of? Something that your mind may overdramatize or something that was a part of a horrible memory that you want to forget about; how is one supposed to overcome that? According to NHS Inform and Real Life Counseling, here are a few ways to fight and overcome your fears.

Curtsy of Google Images

1. Take Time out

When you’re overwhelmed with emotion, the first step is to take a deep breath and take a step back from the situation. It’s impossible to think clearly when you’re anxious. Distract yourself for 15 minutes from whatever is going around you by having a bath, taking a walk, or making yourself a cup of tea.

2. Breathe Through The Panic

Maybe you’ll feel your heartbeat speeding up and everything around you seems like a blur. As ironic as it is, it’s best to not move around too much and feel the panic in order to get more in touch with the sensations in your body to calm you down.

3. Practice Mindfulness

Curtsy of Google Images

Mindfulness is a passive thinking activity that allows you to become more aware of your fear, and awareness allows you to be open to your surroundings and conquer your fears and anxieties. Practicing mindfulness can help you a lot, especially as you get older and encounter different obstacles during your lifetime. Mindfulness makes you more aware of how you are feeling, and you can immediately detect uncomforting feelings when they arise, and as time goes on, it’ll be a great asset in overcoming your worries and disciplining yourself.

4. Look At The Evidence 

Using facts against the fictional scenarios your mind comes up with can allow you to compose yourself. Is it common for the scenario in your head to happen? Does the environment around you seem likely for the idea in your head to spring to life? Asking yourself these questions can make your fears seem miniscule and not likely to happen.

5. Visualize Your Happy Place

Curtsy of Google Images

Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a place of safety and calm. It could be a picture of you walking on a beautiful beach, or snuggled up in bed with the cat next to you, or a happy memory from childhood. Let the positive feelings soothe you until you feel more relaxed.

Of course, overcoming something you’re afraid of permanently is not something that will happen overnight. You’ll have to work for it since your brain needs to change it’s neuropathway when it sees the thing you’re afraid of. The most important thing is that you have a tranquil mind and stay composed. Good luck!



6 Strategies to Overcome Fear and Anxiety