Let’s talk fear today. It is one of the emotions we experience every day, maybe several times in a day. Fear of missing the bus, fear of facing the client, fear of jumping in the pool, fear of starting a new business and many more. More often than not we let this emotion rule our senses and decision-making ability. While we don’t realize it, most of our choices are ruled by fear of something.
It is time to reflect and ask why do we fear what we fear. Is it because we don’t want to labelled as rebels? Are we too tired or conditioned to question everything that is happening around us? Fear enables people to accept the status quo, especially in situations where change is imperative.
Everything ranging from politics to social movements, Fear has played a big role.
WHAT IS FEAR?
Fear is one of the seven universal emotions experienced by everyone around the world along with – Joy, Surprise, Sadness, Anger, Contempt and Disgust. It is one of the most basic human emotions programmed into the nervous system to work like an instinct. It is one of the tools living beings are equipped with to complement our survival instincts. When we sense danger, the brain reacts instantly, sending signals that activate the nervous system in turn causing physical symptoms like a faster heartbeat, rapid breathing and sweating.
DOES FEAR HAVE A LOT OF POWER OVER US?
YES, it does. If we were to look at some advertisements and marketing strategies, it is clear that the emotion of fear is tapped in the audience. Cleaners and sanitizers tell us that germs will make us ill. Retirement plans and investments warn us that we might die with no money. Latest tech gadget advertisements tap the fear of not being up-to-date and somehow being left behind. We don’t even need to talk about the impact of news channels and how they spread fear. They display their information in a way that causes panic. As a result, most people give into ‘herd mentality without questioning further. (Remember stocking up on water bottles, hand sanitizers and toilet paper?) While COVID-19 infected a few million people, the worry of being touched by COVID-19 affected 7.6 billion people on the planet. Such is the power of Fear.
LIVING IN FEAR CAN RESULT IN LONG-TERM EFFECTS.
Uncontrolled fear can impact us severely. It can lead to physical and psychological ailments. Fear reduces our ability to make informed decisions and live a full life. Fear-led decisions often make way for regret. Repeated physical symptoms of fear (like mentioned above) can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems, fertility issues, premature ageing, anxiety, PTSD, clinical depression. Read more here. These effects are all the more reasons we must not give into living with fear.
CAN IT BE A GOOD THING TOO?
It is important to understand fear is not necessarily a bad thing. A basic level of fear heightens our senses and awareness. It keeps us alert and helps in preparing for the future. Read more here to know how fear can be good. Everybody needs a healthy dose of it. It is the negative side of fear that holds us back. It is our inability to channel the emotion that leads to unpleasant experiences. Questioning the cause of being fearful instead of reacting to it can help us channel our energy towards finding a solution.
WAIT!!! THERE IS GOOD NEWS
We can live without fear. It doesn’t need to take power over us. Becoming aware of what our fear really is, and taking action to find a solution is one way to cope with it. This is certainly easier said than done, but who doesn’t want to get over it? Like any other habit, facing fears becomes easier with practice. Living in fear can actually take away our ability to think straight and make decisions. Learning to overcome it is a life-skill, just like swimming or cooking. Other techniques that can be used are The Sedona Method, Emotional Freedom Technique, Hypnosis, Gratitude, Journaling, Therapy, NLP and other methods.
As human beings, we enjoy good emotions and struggle with ones that don’t feel good. Mother Nature has made us capable enough to channel those emotions and use them to our benefit. We can practice ways to not let it have power over us and take over our lives.
BRAVE OR FEARLESS?
We have been hearing stories of people who were fearless in pursuing their dreams. In reality, they were just as scared and intimidated as we are. They chose to go beyond their current feeling and act in spite of it. What they displayed was an example of bravery. We use the terms fearless and brave interchangeably, but they are two very different things. Being brave is taking action even though one is scared. Being fearless is not having fear. It also means that their cause isn’t big enough. When we talk about overcoming fear, we are talking about showing the courage to cope with a raw emotion that makes us humans. It is important we change our perception of it.
A simple lack of understanding leads most people down the path of fear and insecurity. We need to dig deeper and ask why. Letting fear take over our actions makes us weak and incapable of taking the necessary decisions. This allows people in powerful positions to have an upper hand over us. Let us understand who Fear is, how we can transcend it and learn to believe in ourselves. Let us be brave and do what it takes to create a better world – for us and our children.
Written by Kritika Rao