About Fear

I thought I would revisit part of something I wrote about fear a while back.

There is a lot of people writing a lot of stuff about all the fearful things that are happening around the world.

Google search  for fear got me 564 million results in 0.9 secs !!!  Wow – that’s a lot of fear stuff out there.

According to the dictionary it is a ‘distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, whether threat is real or imagined.’  It’s synonyms – foreboding, apprehension, dismay, dread, terror, fright. It’s antonyms – courage, security, calm.

Some psychologists have suggested that fear is one of a small number of basic emotions that we all have. The others include acute stress, anger, angst, anxiety, fright, horror, joy, panic, sadness.

Typically when a person is fearful the body undergoes some changes – this is often called the fight or flight response. Breathing rate increases and becomes more shallow, the heart races, blood is redirected to the major muscles and vital organs,  goose bumps, sweaty palms, dry mouth, butterflies in the stomach…. And a feeling of fear. I’m sure we’re all familiar with these things.

Fear itself is contagious. It has been postulated that this is in response to an increase in certain pheromones which kick in,  activating the fear system.

I stretched my research a bit further and dug into the archives of my blog  – I recall writing a Halloween post back in 2015 exploring why it is that some people get a kick out of being scared. It seems the adrenalin rush, the sense of relief from surviving the situation is more intense after a good scare.

It’s a sneaky little devil, this fear thing.  A bit of a chameleon it seems. Many people have an  intense, phobic fear of particular things like for example spiders, death, heights, change, open space  and they go to extreme lengths to avoid being exposed to them.chameleon-1979635__340

Others actively seek it.  I sometimes wonder if the thrill seekers fall into this category too. You know, the bungee jumpers, white water rafters, extreme sports people. The rush of adrenalin laced fear melting into a soft, warm ooze of comfort and a sense of achievement  teetertottering in a precarious balance with the sense of relief. I wonder if there is an element of addiction in there too.  An urge and a drive to seek ever greater and more extreme experiences to attain that counterbalancing  surge of relief.

It’s not something I personally aspire to. Never have. I like my feet firmly planted on terra firma with no unpleasant surprises.

The thing is, repetitive  and chronic stress , such as that created by fear, takes a serious toll on health and wellbeing.

Dr Andrea Dinardo wrote a thought provoking article in her blog about that kind of fear. She coined an interesting acronym for it  – the ‘Forget Everything And Run  I like that. It’s very descriptive of what happens. However, she took it one step further and turned it upside down into  ‘Face Everything And Rise’.

I really like that too. It gives hope. It says that fear does not have to be the destructive force that we so often think it to be. It says that we can use it’s energy to confront and overcome it. It says that we can rise above it and take charge of our lives. She goes on to say that the way to do that is to focus on strengths. They  are greater than any perceived threats and fears.

“Breathe and Receive. The mantra Stand Your Sacred Ground inspires us to stand still, take a deep breath, and trust that being yourself is enough. Simply holding your own ground is enough. No fight. No flight. No Fear. Only love.”

 LET’S PUT ALL THIS RESEARCH INTO A NUTSHELL SUMMARY –

There’s a lot of fear milling around in the world

There’s a lot of stuff written about fear and how to conquer it

Some people like to deliberately expose themselves to fearful situations for the thrill of it and the sense of relief they experience afterwards

Some people are frozen in a state of chronic fear that has a huge and detrimental impact on their whole life

Fear can be contagious

Fear can be turned around into a positive force

What will you do?

Raili Tanska

Face Everything And Rise

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17 thoughts on “About Fear

  1. Nice Post. In 12 step recovery circles the acronym often stands for Face Everything And Recover.

    I hadn’t expected there would be so many hits on Google. That’s a lot. I’m also a feet on the ground person as well.

    1. Here it is – “Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”: FDR’s First Inaugural Address. Franklin D. Roosevelt had campaigned against Herbert Hoover in the 1932 presidential election by saying as little as possible about what he might do if elected.

  2. It’s our imagination. It thinks up all the possibilities and worries about them. It focusses on real fears but exaggerates them.
    But of course, some fears are real.

  3. I like extreme park rides, but I hate being afraid. This interesting post prompted me to try and analyse the reason I used to do death-defying things, like walking along the narrow fence at the top of a viaduct and climbing onto ledges to clean the outsides of high windows. It wasn’t because it scared me (it didn’t), but because I could, and I had total confidence that I wouldn’t fall to my death. I couldn’t do those things now, as I’ve lost my confidence and I’d be frightened. But I’d still go on the most extreme rides, since they don’t scare me – except for one; the Ferris Wheel. When I was in my teens a car fell of a Ferris Wheel at the local fair. A mother and young child were in it. The mother died, but by a miracle, somebody caught the child. I’ve only been on one once since then, and I felt sick with fear. Never again.

    Some folks like watching fireworks. I like rollercoasters. It’s the thrill, that’s all. Maybe there are others like me, but they’ve never bothered to think about the reason why they like it.

    1. Ferris wheels? In your context I can understand it. But for me it’s about the only ride I can go on without being scared.
      I am terrified of heights. I get an ache in my belly and the soles of my feet hurt. Have never been able to fathom out why that bit happens.

      1. I’ve just read a novel about a woman who suffered shell shock. It’s set in World War 1. One of her early symptoms was pain in her feet… just sayin’… 🙂

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