WHAT IS FEAR?

List of Fears

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. 

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. 

List

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 is the same neuroelectrical signal.  Therefore inside your brain the truth is irrelevant.  

The primary causes of fear include:

  • prior trauma,
  • biology, [genetics, primitive brain, etc.],
  • environmental factors,
  • learned fears,
  • 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. 

What It is Not.

There is a distinction between fear and those mental processes that can trigger fear, such as superstition, folklore, myths and magic.  Those mental processes can be based on many of the same elements of learned fears, usually false negative thoughts, which are discussed in each fear type. 

But some of those mental processes can also be based on reasonable predictions of future events based on observations.  For example the superstition of “red sky in morning-sailors take warning,” is based, in part, on historical weather observations, or “step on a crack and break your mother’s back” can refer to the presence of unstable ground such as potential sink hole.  

This chapter teaches how to distinguish between them and how to use this knowledge to your advantage. 

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 and 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.   Since phobias require professional treatment they are not addressed herein. 

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

Difference Methods for Reducing a Fear.

There multiple methods available to treat or reduce these stresses.  This includes:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (attacks the fears by repeated exposures);
  • Treating the symptoms (drugs, suppression therapy, hypnosis, etc);
  • Knowledge (learning how to identify false negative thoughts);
  • Recognizing, avoiding, and dealing with being manipulated (the biggest cause for fear induced stress); and
  • Implementing Joy (adding Joy in your life to counter fears and the associated guilt, pairing a particular joy to a fear, increasing the joy to fear ratio, etc.)

 Click on the particular 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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