What is the psychology of fear, and how do we deal with fear?
Terror arises when our brain interprets an event, a person, or something as a threat. Psychologists recorded ten types of fear commonly found among people of every race and ethnicity.
When the brain detects some threat, it activates fear. The reaction will either be flight or fight. However, some may freeze first for a moment before deciding to fight or flight a few seconds later.
Flight leads us to no result and no progress, though it is useful when facing a real danger. Otherwise, fleeing away from someone, something, or some event out of fear is unproductive.
Fight, on the other hand, yields a more fruitful outcome. When we choose to fight, we move on. We move forward to our goal. However, sometimes our fear gets the better of us. We lose our best selves and may do something terrible to others due to our fright.
There were times when people fought one another or did terrible things to other beings due to excessive fear.
Access your fear:
The first step to handling fear is to be mindful. Before allowing fear to rule our judgment, we need to be aware of its presence in ourselves once it arises.
Secondly, we need to accept we are frightened. We can never deal with anything that we don’t admit its presence. So, acknowledge your feeling. Accept that we are now afraid.
Third, we might want to question ourselves why we are afraid. From where does this fright come? It might be a series of questions as we need to keep asking ourselves until we get to the bottom of our fear.
What is lying beneath the fear?
Sometimes, we may discover we kill a snake because we are afraid. So why are we afraid of the snake? Because it may bite us. Why are we afraid of that? Because we can die from the venom. So, in this case, the bottom line is the fear of death and fear of pain.
Sometimes, our measure might be necessary. However, I have seen many events when we kill without necessity. We only acted out of fright. And that is sad.
What are the consequences of the action caused by fear?
How about when the extreme measure we take is not about others’ lives but involves our life decision?
Have we ever quit on something out of fear without even trying our best? I believe a lot of us have experienced that. Have we ever access our feeling about why we quit? You might be surprised to discover that we sometimes give up because we are afraid to lose. It is because of the fear of rejection, judgment, and failure. Most importantly, it is the fear of not being good enough.
In this case, we might want to ask ourselves what happens if we don’t take action. Do we achieve anything? Aren’t we judged accomplishing nothing significant to us? What would happen if we tried our best and failed?
On the other hand, have we heard of some people doing whatever it takes to achieve something? Sometimes, it involves betrayal, hurting people, or doing bad things. How about these people questioning their motifs using a series of deepening questions?
- Why do I need to hurt others? I want to achieve my goal.
- What happens when I reach my goal? I feel good and proud of myself.
- How do you define pride?
- What do you gain from hurting others for your benefit?
- Will those benefits last?
- What does that leave you?
- What has that made you become?
- Are you proud of that?
We may discover we act out of fright. It involves fear of uncertainty, failure, and loss of freedom
If you could live with yourself hurting others to accomplish your goal, good. If not, you might want to access your feeling and question yourself why you do it. Are there other ways to deal with those fear without hurting others?
Be mindful of our being, feeling, actions, and consequences
So, whether we choose to fight or flight when fear arises, the most important thing is to be mindful. Mindfulness creates awareness that enables good decision-making. Being mindful allows us to access our wisdom and empathy. When we are aware of our being, our brain will let empathy and compassion arise instead of fear. It is not just compassion for others but ourselves. Daily practice of mindfulness takes commitment and determination. But trust me. It is worth it.
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