“Ultimately, we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom” -Marilyn Ferguson
Fear often takes control of our minds when we experience difficult situations. It is an emotional response triggered by concerns that we feel we have no control over. Many times, fear is followed by anger. Worry can consume an individual if a trauma triggers constant thoughts about the subject. Many people experience these types of reactions during nightmares, flashbacks, and memory correlation. Fear may also cause the development of maladaptive behaviors. It manifests in stress, which can cause a fight, flight, or freeze response. Being aware of what occurs during these times can help us approach the situation with bravery, mindfulness, and confidence.
Some of the most common fears people experience are; fear of failure, heights, public speaking, abandonment, social situations, conflict, and flying. These emotional responses are often connected to dissonant memories, humiliation, trauma, or embarrassment. Insecurities are the fuel that keeps our anxieties alive. Eventually, holding in these conflicting feelings can cause undesirable developments in our personalities and behaviors. Situational avoidance, anxiety, depression, social isolation, and frustration caused by fear, can lead to conflict in personal relationships. Sometimes, if an individual does not learn to cope with their fears productively, it can also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as alcohol consumption, substance use, isolation, etc.
Gaining a sense of control over emotions can inspire an individual to combat their fears productively. When people anticipate a worst case scenario, it removes them from the present moment and creates a negative experience. By staying in the present moment and having a positive mindset, the entire experience can become more enjoyable. For example, many individuals are afraid to go to a gym to exercise for the first time because one might have the perception that being in a public space is competitive and intimidating. This mindset can deter people from pursuing this form of self-improvement which can potentially be a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, and achieve self-improvement. If you are able to adjust your mindset and not avoid going to the gym, then the benefits of exercise are endless.
Statistics regarding the prevalence of fear and the disproportionate number of people seeking treatment
- Research provided by Forbes reveals that only 23% of individuals with a phobia will seek treatment for their anxieties.
- 45% of people who experience a phobia notice that their fear causes disruptions in their daily routines.
- An estimated 17% of individuals with social phobias develop depression.
- 80% of phobias can effectively be treated with Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Here are some possible barriers that may deter treatment:
- Misinformation about treatment methods and the process of therapy.
- Pride and lack of acknowledgment of the problem.
- Doubt that the individual can effectively be helped.
- Preconceived judgments about mental health and stigma.
Taking the step to face a fear can be difficult. However, 5 hacks can help you to conquer your fears:
How to face your fears
- Revisit the fear from a different perspective and focus on what you can control.
- Sit with your fear for shorter time intervals. Don’t ruminate and feed the fear.
- Write down reminders of positive thoughts to think about during a scary experience.
- Use humor to deflate the experience.
- Acknowledge your courage.
Confidence is the resolution to fear. When we conjure the courage to face what we fear, we build the emotional endurance to overcome what frightens us. The fear’s teeth may not be as big and sharp as we imagine them to be, in fact it may not have teeth at all!!