What is a Fear?

What is Fear and what’s it good for?  Strangely trying to find “what’s it good for” is considered one of the top methods to reduce fear.  It forces you to think.  And thinking takes up brain resources robbing fear of its energy. 

Did you know that? 

This section is directed mostly to finding your fear (s). 

The links below opens a page with a description of the most commonly encountered.  There are only a few listed at this time.   There are hundreds of different ones and far too many to be addressed here.

But the  Gallup™ Poll top ten are included. 

What is Fear.

There are books written trying to define this illusive term.  The Merriam-Webster™  defines it as an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. 

This website does not use that definition.  Instead fear is defined as those psychological reactions that alert us to the presence of danger.  Those dangers need not be real or true.  More often than not, they are not true.  If you perceive something to be true, it is considered by you as true.  It’s the same exact same neuroelectrical signal.   Therefore inside your brain the truth is irrelevant.  

The primary causes of fear include:

  • prior trauma,
  • biology (genetics), [This is broader than you think.]
  • environmental factors,
  • manipulation, [The elephant in the room.]
  • overprotective parenting, and
  • social factors.

The biology of fear is far too complex to be discussed in this website.  However, the four normal responses to a perceived danger are: attack, run, analyze, and hide.  This seems incredibly consistent with the four personality types. 

An in-depth study was done by Adolphs, Ralph (2013) The Biology of Fear, Current Biology 23, R79-R93. 

Sigmund Freud Observations

The grandfather of modern psychology, Sigmund Freud, divided the human personality into three parts, the id, ego, and superego

The “id” deals with instinctive or primitive urges and is controlled entirely by the subconscious. 

The “ego” deals with real world actions and is controlled mostly by the conscious mind. 

The “superego” deals with the imposition of morals by society. It is controlled by both the subconscious and conscious.  The superego is the main source for the feeling of guilt.   If you have ever felt guilt, and we all have, we can thank the superego.

Differences between a Phobia and a Fear?

Phobias are  abnormal fears.  They interfere with a person’s quality of life.   For example, a person who is afraid of tight spaces is not the same as a person with claustrophobia, which is abnormal.   Since phobias require professional treatment they will not be addressed herein. 

It is recognized that most people consider a fear and a phobia as the same.   They are often used interchangeably.

 Click on the fear button that is important to you, a friend, or a loved one in order to learn more.  Or read them all and become the family expert.

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