Mind-Killer-The Psychology of Fear
Less than optimistic philosophers have often noted that the two greatest motivators in history are fear and greed.
Now, while the definition of greed can sometimes border on being a philosophical concept affected by culture and environment, fear is much more tangible and universally defined.
Yet, despite the nature of it, people have generally been apprehensive about studying the psychology behind fear and the effects it may have on a person’s mental health. Modern psychology, some analysts believe, all too often boils down to fear in some form or another.
If this is to be believed, then fear might actually play a bigger role in shaping a person’s psychology than any other intrinsic factors.
Fear, of course, manifests itself in a number of forms. For example, the ancient Spartans were considered fearless because of their fighting abilities but the reality was far different.
Raised in an environment where acceptance and embrace of the norm was paramount, the primary fear and anxiety that a Spartan felt was directed towards the idea of being ostracized.
A man with a chronic inability to stay in a committed relationship might fear being loved, probably as a side effect of growing up unloved himself. 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 prevalent in our daily lives than anyone would care to admit.
In fact, people have a subconscious tendency to deny even the feeling of fear. Most people would prefer to shift their emotions to things like anger or depression, rather than accept their fears.
This can be due to a number of factors, including environment, upbringing, and previous experiences. Most experts believe that the key to overcoming this problem is to recognize the fear as fear, rather than defining it as something that it appears similar to.
People who have this problem often develop the fears they have during childhood, but rather than outgrow those fears, they have allowed them to remain rooted in their psyche. This may not necessarily damage mental health, but it can have some unwanted effects on how a a person interacts socially.
Of course, not everything about fear should be seen as a negative. It has been said that fear “is what separates heroes from the rest of us.”
Fear also helps ensure the survival of the human race. Fear triggers many survival instincs that prevent us or cause us to avoidtaking too many unnecessary risks.
Fear also triggers the body to enter survival mode 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.
It is only when people fail to acknowledge fear or acknowledge it too much that it becomes a problem. Of course, this is easier said than done.
Despite being a natural and integral part of the human psyche and survival instinct, fear is often derided by modern society as something that is unwanted or should be faced down.
Literature and culture are filled with references to larger-than-life figures that literally feared nothing and took insane risks, which are things that are well outside the grasp of the average Joe.
While there are some fears that are unreasonable and people should make every effort possible to cast them out, it is a good idea to understand that being afraid is not always a negative thing.
Getting to Know Fears and Phobias
A person’s fear can hinder his chances for development and for success. Fear in itself can be debilitating and can limit a person’s ability to go through life in a healthy way. Sometimes, a person’s fear can rule a person’s life and he becomes bereft of reason.
A person who allows his fear to rule his life can be prevented from leading a normal life. The sad fact is that the person who has the fear is not the only one affected, but also his family, friends, and the people around him.
Fear can be healthy because it allows a person to be on his toes and to be watchful of what is happening around him.
A person can actually make his fears work for him instead of against him. Then again, this requires a lot of self-control and positive thinking.
A person’s fear can be caused by an event that happened some time ago, or by a belief that he is not capable of dealing with something or someone. There are fears that have a real basis, but most fears are just the creations of one’s imagination.
Phobia is also a fear of something, but such fear can be considered irrational. A phobia can be ridiculous and exaggerated such as a person’s fear of cats or of water.
Some people who have developed phobias are aware that the fear is not based on rational thinking; but unfortunately, they are not able to get hold of their emotions and rise above their irrational fear.
Some people are quick to equate phobia with insanity; but it is not fair to conclude that just because a person is phobic, it means that there must be something wrong with his sanity.
A person’s phobia can sometimes be embarrassing, especially when he is not able to control such fear. There are people who actually shiver and hide when confronted with their phobias.
Phobias can be simple like the simple fear of being in an enclosed area, or complex like the fear of riding an airplane.
A social fear can be manifested in the fear of public speaking or of being surrounded by a crowd. Most phobias are characterized by panic attacks such as when the person is confronted by his phobia and he is forced to come face-to-face with it.
It is normal to be afraid because fear is rational. However, a fear that becomes irrational and is already without basis, is already called a phobia. It is no longer normal and can disrupt a person’s lifestyle.
A person who wants to get rid of his phobia should not turn to doctors who dig deeper just to discover the root cause of the phobia. Such an activity can be a waste of time because finding the underlying cause of the phobia will not get rid of it.
What is more important is to be determined and strong-willed so that the person’s fears will no longer rule his emotions. If a person can learn how to handle his emotions, then he can get rid of his phobia.
Irrational Fear? Chill Out!
While the whole world was masquerading in scary and outrageous costumes during Halloween, a team of scientists was making progress with the latest study on irrational fear.
Results of this study are expected to expand current knowledge about treatments for major medical problems concerning irrational fear.
“We’re taking all of what we learned from the basic studies of animals and bringing that into the clinical practices that help people.
Things are starting to come together in a very important way,” said Stephen Maren, a psychology professor from the University of Michigan.
The National Institute of Mental Health revealed that about 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Being a basic primal emotion, fear is a key to evolutionary survival which we share in common with animals.
Aside from genetics, traumatic events are closely associated with the development of overwhelming and needless fear.
Ted Abel, a fear researcher at the University of Pennsylvania considers fear to be a funny thing. “ One needs enough of it, but not too much of it,” said Abel.
According to Armi Rowe, a Connecticut freelance writer and mother, she used to be one of those rational types who are usually calm under pressure. She is not afraid to downhill ski the treacherous black diamond trails of snowy mountains.
One day, however, while coping with some serious illnesses in her family, she felt fear closing in on her while she was driving alone.
She thought that the stab of pain on her chest was a heart attack and called 911. Later on, it was learned that what happened was an anxiety attack.
With the help of counseling, self-study coping exercises and introspection, Rowe learned to manage such attacks early on.
David Carbonell, a Chicago psychologist specializing in treating anxiety disorders, said that there’s a trick to panic attack. “You’re experiencing this powerful discomfort but you’re getting tricked into treating it like danger”, said Carbonell.
There is a possibility that by learning how fear runs through the brain and body, scientists can improve on how to dampen fear.
Amygdala, an almond-shaped part of the deep brain, is the fear hot spot. New York University psychology and neural science professor Elizabeth Phelps said that amygdala is not the one responsible for all fear response but acts like a burglar alarm that connects to everything else.
It was found that a certain chemical reaction in the amygdala is vital in the way mice and people learn to overcome fear, according to Emory University psychiatry and psychology professor Michael Davis. Mice never learn to counter their fears when that reaction is deactivated.
D-cycloserine, a drug already used to fight hard-to-treat tuberculosis, was found to strengthen that good chemical reaction in mice.
When combined with therapy, it produces the same effect on people who have a fear of heights, and is now being tested in survivors of the World Trade Center attacks and the Iraq war.
Recent studies have shown that people easily recognize fear in other humans faster than other emotions. Other studies have suggested that bodily functions change just by being very afraid.
One study found that very frightened people can withstand more pain than those not experiencing fear. Another found that experiencing fear or merely perceiving it in others improved people’s attention and brain skills.
According to Carbonell, since the normal response for dealing with a real threat is either to flee or fight, the best way to deal with fear when the threat is unreal is to do just the opposite: “Wait it out and chill.”
3 Simple Keys to Getting Rid of Fear
Fear is your enemy – no other way to describe it. I’m not talking about that natural life preserving action along with a major boost of adrenalin that happens if a wild animal is coming at you. I’m talking about the fears people live with day in and day out.
Fear is your enemy. Someone once described fear as, “Sand in the machinery of life.” Fear doesn’t help you, it hinders you.
Fear doesn’t get you through an open door; it keeps you in the hallway. Fear never helps you put your best foot forward; it just keeps both of your feet in cement.
The psychology of today is, “Learn to live with your fears”, “Embrace your fears”, “It’s normal to have fears – everybody does.”
It’s true; lots of people do have fears. And there are people who are trying to learn how to live with their fears, and embrace them.
But if it’s “normal” to have fears, then why would the Bible talk about being delivered from all your fears?
Think about it – if it’s normal to have fears, and you had no fears, then you would be abnormal, right? Well why would God want you to be abnormal?
He doesn’t. He truly desires for you to be set free from all your fears.
There are many facets and aspects of fear. One of the big ones is having fear of what others think of you. People do things, say things, and even buy things because of the fear that they have of what others think.
Many times people join clubs or organizations because they are afraid that if they don’t, others might think badly of them.
People say things and talk a certain way because they are afraid that they might not say the right thing in front of the right people.
People purchase items because of fear not measuring up to those around them. And on and on it goes.
You don’t have to live with fear. Here are 3 simple keys to getting rid of fear.
First, start by realizing that God truly loves you and that His love for you is unconditional. The Bible teaches that nothing can separate you from His love. Nothing. His love for you does not change, ever!
Second, ask God to help you to get rid of all your fears. He has promised to deliver you from all your fears. That is His desire for you – a life without fear.
Third, make decisions based on what is best for you, not how it may or may not appear to others. You’ll never, ever be able to please everyone, so stop trying to. You’ll never, ever be right in everybody’s eyes, so stop trying to.
When you make a decision, ask yourself, “Why am I making this decision? Is it based on fear?” Make decisions based on what is right and best for your life, regardless of what others think.
You can live without fear.
Getting Rid Of Fear At Last
Are you afraid of the dark? Does fear bother you more than you think it should? Read the tips below and be amazed on how fear can easily be defeated.
Identify your fear
Experts say that there are many kinds of fear. However, most of the fears that people have are concrete examples of delusions.
These refer to the way things are altered or misrepresented, such as the way people look at their selves and the way they view the environment.
Since they are delusions, most people cannot fully identify them. They just know they fear something but cannot pin down the actual source.
For instance, for an individual who is afraid of the dark, the question lies on why he is afraid of the dark. What is it in the dark that he is afraid of?
To solve this problem, he should identify his fear. Does it have something to do with what happened to him before? Or is it just about the stories that he had seen or heard?
Experts say that it is important that individuals learn to identify their fear. Put them in details and recognize the areas from which the emotion is rooted. In this way, people will have a better way of dealing with situations.
If somebody is afraid of the dark, for instance, he could say he is afraid of the ghost which usually comes out in the dark. With this, he is able to identify the things that associate with ghosts and the dark and find out if such things really exist.
Earn more confidence
Studies show that fear is the biggest enemy of positive thinking. When fear takes place, there is a tendency to stop believing in what is real. Hence, people create delusions or distortion from truth.
For instance, if a person is afraid that he won’t make it to success just because he is afraid of being prejudiced, he will surely never make it. But with confidence and determination, there will be no more room for fear and positive thinking will prevail.
The problem with most people is that they tend to link negative things to positive situations. They distort the truth and create a new world full of fears and skepticisms.
Keep in my mind that life is a theater of war and every character has to fight and win the battle courageously. With all these things, confidence and positive thinking is the only weapon one has to obtain to be successful.
Do not ignore it
As much as you are trying to eliminate fear itself, it is not wise or healthful to, likewise, ignore it. Ignoring things will just make matters worse. If something has to be resolved, you should try to solve it and overcome the fear that bothers you.
The key to fighting fear is to evaluate your fear and understand how unreasonable and ridiculous they could be. Hence, it is important that you identify the reasons why you should not be affected by your fears.
Sometimes, people tend to hold on to things that they are afraid of. Funny isn’t it? But people do this most of the time. Even if they feel uncomfortable about the situation or it often bothers them, they still hang on to the details.
Experts say that if you really want to fight back fear, let go of the feelings that overwhelm you. For instance, if you are afraid of the dark, you can try to overcome it by staying in the dark. Assess the situation if there is really something to be afraid of. Once cleared, let go of the feelings.
Put things into viewpoint
People can overreact – most of the time. The problem is that fear can sometimes be big and distractive but in reality they are not. It actually appears as a flicker in the dark.
So if you put things into perspective, you will be able to see the other side of fear on a clearer point of view. Hence, analyzing what bothers you most will be a lot easier to deal with.
It is all in the mind. Do not let fear take over your mind. You can do things better than that and without fear, you will definitely succeed.
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