Has anyone heard of the phobia of fear? What this means is that all you actually fear is fear itself. This even happens when there’s absolutely no danger and no real treat to your safety. Most of us are familiar with the feeling that gives many of us goosebumps. It can be crippling, right? Here you can find a few facts about fear that will scare and encourage you at the same time. We’ll also try to get a bit more into the science behind it all, and explain why and how fear occurs.
Neuroscientists have long been studying how fear and certain phobias develop. They have gathered many fascinating facts about fear that I’m sure all of you would like to hear about. Soon it will become a bit clearer why we behave the way we do in certain situations.
Feeling fear is healthy
First of all, let’s start off on a positive note. Although fear can be crippling and overwhelming it is a normal part of our lives, and there’s a good reason for that. There are several networks in the brain that are responsible for fear. They can produce it even in the most unlikely situation possible, when there is no visible sign that you should be afraid. This ability or capacity of being afraid is just a part of being normal. That’s why you should see it as a good sign. It’s the lack of being able to feel fear that’s actually frightening, and may be an indication of a serious brain condition or damage.
Let’s check out some of the other interesting facts about fear!
Fear doesn’t work automatically
There are a few fears that are instinctive, like for example feeling pain. Some fears, on the other hand are either learned or taught. We are all capable of developing some fears from certain situations, people, and places that we’ve had bad experiences with in the past. If we, for example, have an incident at the dentist’s or experience a lot of pain on our first visit, we’ll associate the dentist’s with a negative memory and we’ll fear going back to the same place again.
Fear can sometimes even be created and taught to us by others. That’s often how people spread some stereotypes and prejudices – out of fear, and a lack of knowledge or better understanding of things.
Adults have more abstract fears than children do
What this means is that we, as adults, quite more often have the fear of failure, rejection, separation and so on, then children do. Sure, it’s true that children experience these things as well, but they are not really that common in the early ages. What children mostly experience are fears of specific situations, people and animals. That means that as we grow older, we start developing more and more fears. The only good news here is that we are also able to surpass some of them and move on.
It’s normal to have anxiety as a child
Not only is it normal to have anxieties as a child, but it’s also highly likely that you will be able to outgrow them as you go from puberty and into adolescence. Sometimes, however, anxiety will stick with you and follow you into adulthood as well. Neuroscientists are working on the issue of detecting the kind of anxiety a child has. That way they’ll be able to know if it will pass, or persist through adulthood too.
The more you’re scared, the scarier the situation will seem
You might have noticed how when you’re watching a scary documentary or a scary movie, it takes a lot less to frighten you. If, for example, you’re watching a documentary about bugs and something touches you, or you feel a slight tingle, you are much more likely to jump up and get 10 times more scared than you would have if you hadn’t been watching that documentary. This occurs because our fear response gets amplified as we go into a deeper state of fear.
Fear can often determine your actions
Fear can startle and make some people freeze up right away. Most of the times, however, it has the ability to get you going. No matter if it’s flight or fight, it stimulates you to take any sort of action- it’s up to you to decide. After you choose between fight or flight, you either run away from your threat or deal with it head on. Researchers have found out that the more your threat is real, the more likely you are to act heroically and not worry about the action, nor the consequences that you might face.
We can use VR to treat anxiety and phobias
Among some of the most interesting facts about fear is that it can be easily treated using VR. Virtual reality has been widely used as a treatment for anxiety and certain phobias, and has been proven to be extremely successful. The way they incorporate VR in all of this is they help patients face their fears head on and become stronger by the minute. Of course, the way they do this is by slowly and gradually immersing the patient into scary and stressful situations. Being in a constant fright mode can often lead to even more conditions, such as depression and hopelessness. VR helps people get out of that constant fright mode, slowly and patiently.
Now that you now the scariest and most encouraging facts about fear it’s time to let fear be your ally. Let it help you find a faster solution in those difficult situations that you might find yourself in, from time to time. Don’t let it cripple and overwhelm you, and most of all don’t let it control your life. Use your fears as fuel or the energy you need to face your “demons” head on and defeat them.