6 Things you didn’t know about Fear
Fear is not abnormal, we need it. Being fearless is not eliminating fear, but more like taking control. It can be uncomfortable and crippling, but if you turned it off, your life is going to be dangerous.
1. Fear is Healthy
Many think of fear as a negative feeling, but it is hardwired into our brain, and for good reason: Neuroscientists have identified a distinct network that runs front the Limbic systems all the way to the prefrontal cortex and back. When these networks are chemically and electrically stimulated, this is what produces fear, even in the absence of a fearful stimulus. Feeling fear is neither a sign of weakness nor is it abnormal, in fact a lack of fear can lead to severe brain damage. The capacity of being scared is a part of our normal brain functions.
2. Fear is not as automatic as you think.
Fear is part instinctive, part learned, part taught. Some fears are instinctive like pain, for example, the cause of fear instinctively because of the implications of survival. Other fears are learned, throughout life, we encounter many challenges. We learn to be afraid of certain people, things, situations, or objects. We associated these experiences negatively. For example, at a young age you fell into a river and almost drowned, logically you would be afraid of bodies of water and have a fear of drowning. The third and final type of fear is taught, either from cultural norms or just being influenced by the community around you dictate what you should and should not fear. For example how certain social groups are feared because we socially have made it very clear that they are dangerous.
3. Fear can range from Mild to Paralyzing
Fear is inherently an unpleasant feeling, it ranges from the anticipation of a medical check-up result, to hearing about a terrorist attack near you. Traumatic events can scar you with a permanent mark forever, some can go as far as leaving a mark on your brain circuitry, which at that point, you need medical attention. Chronic stress is another form of fear. A constant exposure can result in serious harm to all areas of your health. I can lead to feeling hostile, or anxious. This type of fear can be expressed as free-floating anxiety, daily insecurity, and constantly worrying.
4. The intensity of the Threat determines your Actions
We react differently to real threats and imaginary ones. Though they can both be harming, imaginary threats can leave patients paralyzed. The things that might or might not happen in the future make people worry a lot about taking little actions, these are all from someone that is worrying about the bad things. At this point, you are stuck in a constant state of fear, being overwhelmed but having no clue how to escape. Real threats on the other hand make you alert. These are more imminent and identifiable, making it easy for you to take action without a flinch. In comparison, both can lead to unthinkable results but when the threats are real, people tend to be more heroic and take action.
5. The Level of Fear is caused by you.
Potentiation is the process that makes your fear response heightened if you are already in a state of fear. When you are fearing something, it makes harmless events seem scary. For people that have a fear of airplanes, the slightest turbulence can make you panic and increase your blood pressure. People that are naturally scared of heights would never want to work in a high skyscraper. The more your anticipate fear the more you tend to fear.
6. Fear takes Control of your Actions
Fear can push you into four types of action — Freeze, Fright, Fight or Flight. Freeze. This is when your body stops and your body takes this time to figure out what exactly your body needs to do next. Fright: You don’t fight, you don’t flee, basically you do nothing. Being in this constant can leave someone in hopelessness and depression. Now, Fight, like what it sounds like, you go attack the threat directly, this is where you take action, while the flight is the opposite. Flight is where you leave it behind and run from the threat, you find a workaround. Letting fear constantly controlling your actions can lead to unpredictable results, that is why you need to learn to control your fears.