Author: Asha S.

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Fear is one of the core emotions, and is not necessarily negative, as it is an essential defence mechanism, like pain – and can actually be useful.

Fear is an emotional state in the presence of or anticipation of a dangerous stimulus. It is usually characterized by extreme agitation, fight or flight, against an object, person or event. Fear is more about the “unknown”, not always real. YET everyone has some fear or the other. Many a time we are not certain what we are afraid of. At times we may not even be aware that we are afraid of something. We just "naturally" dislike or avoid some things, (like the lizard on the wall) not realizing that actually it is Fear. Other related emotions are disgust, shame, avoidance, etc.

Fear is different from anxiety and Phobia.

Usually Anxiety is a reaction to anticipated or imagined danger and is a vague, and an unpleasant emotional state, more related to a future event or the unknown. Anxiety is the prelude to fear and anxieties not dealt with will over time slowly turn into fear.

Whereas Phobia is a feeling of dread that is specific, persistent, and is an irrational fear and can lead to phobic disorder.  It however takes a long time to develop, and can be prevented if the fears are nipped in the bud, or one to taught to systematically overcome fears.

When we are born we know no fear – it takes root slowly basing on our experiences and also the fear that is inculcated in us by family, school, friends, society etc.

Our most deep-seated fears begin in childhood.  Exercise: Introspect which are the fears that were instilled in you and you are still carrying on from your early days. This will help you rationalize, and if necessary, overcome some of them at least.

How does one understand and overcome fear?

  1. Identify and acknowledge the specific areas and situations that cause fear in you.
  2. Is it already happening? If yes, since when, and how you have dealt with it so far? If no, when is it likely to happen?
  3. What is the probability (give it a concrete quantitative measure) that it will definitely happen?
  4. What can be done to prevent it? Think of all the possibilities.
  5. What are the resources available to you to combat it? List them out and keep them ready whenever you need them at short notice.
  6. Who are the persons who you can seek help from? Inform them that you will be seeking their help, and check their availability.
  7. Discuss with other family members to share their fear factors and understand that they are natural and everybody has fears. Talk about the subject at odd hours, try to do the thing that you fear anyway, talk about it with others.
  8. What will be the consequence if & when it does happen?
  9. How will you be able to build back? What happens if you do not take precautions now? Start working on it.
  10. Give yourself positive affirmations and strengthen your overall confidence.
  11. Also give a thought on what are the consequences if you change your course of action/life what do you stand to lose in order to gain something. Thus you will be able to look at the issues holistically.

Take responsibility, give yourself positive strokes, and lots of Positive Affirmations (“I CAN do it”), and be patient in allowing the fear to reduce slowly.

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