What is Fear?

After Earth

There are many varying definitions of fear. Some describe it as “an unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined.” In the movie After Earth, it is described as something that exists in your thoughts of the future. It is something we allow our brains to believe. However, there’s a lot more to discuss. Let us dig a little deeper into this emotion that seems to control so much in our lives.

Fear has many interpretations. It is referred to as one of the 7 universal emotions that are common to all human beings, it has also been described as a self-preservation instinct. Something that tells us, “Maybe I shouldn’t poke the snarling dog with a stick?”. This emotion is not just a physical response, however, it can also be psychological. As I mentioned above fear sometimes manifests in the mind. From my own personal experience, this fear is the hardest to overcome. It can sometimes become a war you wage daily and I know I’m not the only individual living with this struggle. There are various mental disorders to describe this struggle. There are panic disorders, anxiety disorders, PTSD and various phobias. This fear isn’t always caused by an external or imagined fear, sometimes it can be caused by a biochemical imbalance in your brain that has to be treated as a chronic condition.

Biochemical and Emotional Response.

Symptoms of fear’s biochemical responses include sweating, an increase in heart rate as well as increased adrenaline levels which enable us to be more alert to the impending danger. This reaction has been defined as “the fight or flight” instinct. On the other side of the fear coin, is the emotional response. This is something unique to each individual as we all experience fear in different situations. Some fear can even be experienced as a pleasant emotion as it involves the same chemical responses as happiness and other pleasant chemical reactions in our brains. An example of this would be riding a roller-coaster or watching a horror movie. Some people even become addicted to this emotional response. These people have been called ‘adrenaline seekers’. They would be the ones doing sky-diving, bungee-jumping or other extreme sports and activities. As I already mentioned above, not everyone experiences fear the same as others. Some find it exciting and others find it unpleasant.

What Happens When I’m Scared?

Well, in answer to this questions there are various biochemical responses attached to the emotional state of fear. I have already listed a few of these above, but there are many symptoms you may experience such as chest pains, chills, dry mouth, nausea, upset stomach, trembling, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath. Some of these you will have experienced. I, myself, when I am fearful or anxious about something get nausea and loss of appetite as well as a rapid heartbeat. It may not stop at the physical effects, it can cross over into psychological responses as well, such as a feeling of being over-whelmed or upset because of a lack of control in the situation you are facing. Sometime this intense anxiety can cause a person to go into a deep depression.

When you are feeling distressed certain bodily processes, such as your digestive system may shut down. All of this is to enable you to react faster to a dangerous situation.

F.E.A.R

In all honesty, fear isn’t always a bad thing. It can be a warning to avoid a particular situation or something that can be overcome. If you can overcome your fear, you will find yourself stronger for it. I speak as someone who has experienced and does constantly have fears and anxieties to overcome myself. I am just like you, my avidReaders.

I write this to help you understand your fears and see both sides, but I also write this for myself. I have learnt as much researching this as you will reading it. I will try to cover chronic fear when I look at chronic conditions. For now, we’ll look at fear in it’s base conditions. If this post in any way encouraged or uplifted, let me know in the comments below.

God bless you, my avidReaders.

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