5 Things You Probably Never Knew About Fear

5 Things You Probably Never Knew About Fear

Before we start, if you want an explanation of what fear is, then read this post.

For you to learn how to conquer your fear and turn your fear into courage, you must understand the science of fear, and this is what leads us to the 5 things you probably never knew about fear.

Have you ever wondered why some people avoid fear while horror movie buffs and roller-coaster fans thrive on fear for pleasure?

Here are a few things to keep in your mind about fear.

Fear Is Physical

Well, you’ll already have understood this by now since it was already mentioned earlier that fear can be a biochemical reaction. Triggering a strong physical reaction in your body, fear is as well experienced in your mind.

Once you recognize fear, your body starts reacting — there will be changes in your blood flow, you’ll start breathing faster, your heart rate and blood pressure will increase, stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol will be released, and your nervous system will get alerted as your amygdala goes to work.

Your body as well prepares for fight-or-flight as you’ll find it easy to run for your life or start throwing punches due to the changes in blood flow.

Fear Can Make You Foggy

Yes, fear can make you foggy. In case you’re not so sure about what the word “foggy” means, this simply means to be “befuddled” or “confused”. If you’re a movie buff, you’d have a clear idea of what this is about.

For example, let’s say a guy is getting “cozy” with his girlfriend and three armed persons forced their way in. If that guy is captivated by fear, you’d see how confused or perplexed he would be.

At that point, he won’t be able to think clearly and he’ll be so melted that his decision-making skills will suffer. When fear happens, there are some parts of the brain that stop working and there are also some parts that become very active. When fear sets in your body, the brain’s area that’s responsible for judgement and reasoning, the cerebral cortex, suffers an impairment.

Fear Can Become Pleasure

Do you ever wonder why many love it when they get caught up in stressful, fearful, moments?

People who are a great fan of horror movies, haunted houses, and rollercoasters thrive on fear to derive pleasure, and for them, the excitement doesn’t come just during the activity but when it has ended because their brain and body stay aroused as the excitation transfer process occurs.

Pleasure is elicited as more of a chemical called dopamine gets produced during a staged fear experience.

Fear Is Not Phobia

Many tend to misconstrue fear with phobia not knowing that these two are clearly different. For instance, you may be experiencing more than just fear if the thought of basking on the beach makes you powerless, traumatized, and terrorized. On the other hand, you may just want to avoid swimming in the ocean because of a movie you just watched.

Simply put, phobia is a more complex version of fear. Fear is milder than a phobia. You may have a phobia if you see yourself taking serious measures to avoid rats, roaches, people, spiders, elevators, or water.

When you find it herculean to maintain a consistent quality of life and your ability to function is being interfered with, this is when fear becomes a phobia. Fears are how you commonly react to objects or events.

Fear Keeps you Safe

Yeah, that was clearly written; fear does keep you safe. Unlike what you may have thought, heard, or believed, fear keeps us safe and it’s very vital that we experience fear.

We all experience this natural and biological condition, fear, and even though it can have its negative consequences, it can also be positive and healthy because it’s a complex human emotion.

 Common And Unique Fears

Meaning fear or horror, the Greek word “phobos” is where the word phobia comes from. Phobia is unlikely to cause harm and it’s simply an irrational fear of something. Fears associated with specific situations, medical issues, natural environments, or animals are some of what phobias typically involve.

There are certain situations and objects attributed to specific phobias and phobias can be further explicitly described to be an unrealistic, intense, and persistent fear of a particular situation or an object.

Phobias can interfere with one’s schooling, performance at the workplace, and life at home. They can as well cause significant distress and they’re quite distinct from regular fears.

People who are phobic about something tend to manage to endure it with so much anxiety or fear or perhaps, strive to avoid whatever it is they have a phobia for.

However, note that the list of specific phobias is quite long because there’s an endless number of situations and objects. Phobias come in all sizes and shapes and there are five general categories where specific phobias typically fall within, as stated by some experts:

  • Fears associated with specific situations (driving, riding an elevator, flying)
  • Fears associated with medical issues, injury, or blood (falls, broken bones, injection)
  • Fears associated with the natural environment (darkness, sun, mountains, thunder, heights)
  • Fears associated with animals (insects, cats, dogs, rabbits, spiders)
  • Others (drowning, loud noises, choking)

Common Phobias

When one speaks of phobias, the list is endless. The five general ones and the list of many others have already been outlined. However, it seems that phobias never end as there are usually different phobias discovered by researchers and clinicians.

These medical experts have found it necessary to rise to the occasion of naming different phobias as they are identified. For this, they use the -phobia suffix and a relatable Latin or Greek prefix relating to the phobia to make up a name.

For instance, hydro (water) and phobia (fear) are combined to make hydrophobia which means the fear of water. We also have phobophobia which means the fear of fears.

Nevertheless, speaking of common phobias, there’s a source that outlined some of the most common phobias and this was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, in accordance with a 1998 survey that included more than 8,000 respondents. 

 Here they are:

  • zoophobia, fear of animals
  • ophidiophobia, fear of snakes
  • hydrophobia, fear of water
  • hemophobia, fear of blood
  • claustrophobia, fear of confined or crowded spaces
  • autophobia, fear of being alone
  • astraphobia, fear of thunder and lightning
  • arachnophobia, fear of spiders
  • aerophobia, fear of flying
  • acrophobia, fear of heights

Unique Phobias

Just as we have common phobias, you shouldn’t find it surprising that we also have unique phobias. We call these phobias unique because most people who have them tend not to report these unusual fears to their doctors and this makes them difficult to identify plus some of these phobias may only affect a handful of people at a time.

Since you now know that certain phobias tend to be incredibly specific and unusual, here are some of them:

  • Cryophobia, fear of ice or cold
  • Nephophobia, fear of clouds
  • Pogonophobia, fear of beards
  • Onomatophobia, fear of names
  • Alektorophobia, fear of chickens

 Treating A Phobia

A qualified mental health professional or a psychologist is the best person to speak to if you seek treatment for your phobia and this is simply because a combination of medications and therapy is what’s used to treat phobias.

Howbeit, exposure therapy is a type of psychotherapy that’s noted to be very effective in treating specific phobias. You’ll get to learn how to become less sensitive to whatever makes you fearful as you work with your psychologist during exposure therapy.

You’ll be able to learn to control your reactions and get to change how you feel or think about the situation or object with the aid of this treatment. Benzodiazepines and beta-blockers are some of the medications that can be recommended to you to help reduce your panic, fear, anxiety, and uncomfortable feelings you may have.

These medications do a lot of good in making exposure therapy less distressing but take note that they aren’t exactly a treatment for phobias for they are only to help you through the exposure therapy.

As you can appreciate, changing the way you think can have a huge impact on your life, and if you want to know more about developing an inspirational mindset for success, please click on the featured resource below for a free Strong Mindset report; download, read it and take action 😊

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