Why people don’t jump to high mountains? Why people hide when saw a big snake crawling on the ground? Why someone doesn’t touch the fire for a long time? So what are the feelings or barriers that stop them to not put fingers into a socket and to stay away from a situation which can hurt them?

It’s fear? Yes, it is fear. You may get surprised how fear can save us? But most of us really don’t know that it is actually the feelings of fear that saves us in many places. It’s the fear that keeps all of us away from life-threatening things or situations. And yet another question arises that what fear is? So here’s an appropriate definition of fear: “an emotion induced by perceived danger or threat which causes psychological changes and ultimately behavioural changes such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events” 

For example, girls start yelling and try to hide when suddenly saw a cockroach or lizard. And freezing with fear occurs when a student learns chapter 4 of the subject he doesn’t like but on the next day about 5 minutes before the test starts he found that the test was of chapter 6 not of chapter 4.

Anyhow fun aside, fear in human beings occurs in response to a stimulus ( stimulus can be a small insect, a wild animal or it can be nothing but the brain’ s false perception) .when someone feels the threat in the surrounding environment, the part of brain-specific for “information” and part of brain-specific for “emotions” co-ordinate with each other and ensure the threat. As a response amygdala ( a part of the brain associated with the release of emotions) receive information from different brain parts, Trigger the hypothalamus by sending a distress signal. As a result, the hypothalamus stimulates/ activate the sympathetic nervous system by sending autonomic nerves. The adrenal gland located at the top of the kidney then produces fear hormones. As a result of some physiological changes also occur in the body. The resulted response is “Fight or flight” response. It’s an ultimate response for coping with danger. It works by accelerating the breathing rate, heart rate, vasoconstriction of the peripheral blood vessels, leading to blushing ( you can say a natural makeup ( joke), increasing muscle tension including the muscles attached to each hair follicle to contract and result in “goosebumps”.

During the “fight or flight,” condition body undergoes some changes and provide a burst of energy needed to defend yourself. Many of us take fear in a negative way, a kind of emotion that make us coward. But If we take fear in a positive way it’s a primitive emotion and help our ancestors to survive by protecting themselves from dangerous situations. Now another question arises that how could this type of feelings help us to survive? The answer is, nowadays when all the world is suffering from Coronavirus, again it is the fear that keeps us safe. It is the feeling of fear that makes us stay at home, that encourage us to not shake hand with other people by keeping social distancing. So in this way, fear makes our survival possible. It urges us to take preventive measures against this contagious disease.

People are scared of many things, situations and different circumstances that may have happened in the past or they may be scared of the future. We born only with two innate fears, fear of falling and the fear of loud sounds. Fear is common in hypochondriac and anxious people who have a rich imagination. According to surveys, some of the most common fears are of demons and ghosts, cockroaches, spiders, snakes, heights, water, enclosed spaces, tunnels, bridges, needles, social rejections, failure, examination, and public speaking. Some people can cope up with these fears but others who have very high imagination carry these fears on their heads.

An irrational amount of fear is called “phobia”. it is caused by negative thinking which arises from anxiety accompanied by a subjective sense of apprehension or dread. Irrational fear engages the nervous system to mobilize bodily resources in the face of danger. Some common phobia is social phobia, agoraphobia ( phobia of open spaces), acrophobia ( fear of heights ), ptermerhanophobia ( fear of flying), claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), entomophobia( fear of insects), ophidiophobia( fear of snakes), cynophobia(fear of dogs), Astraphobia( fear of storms), etc. The ambiguity of situations that tend to be uncertain and unpredictable can cause anxiety in addition to other psychological and physical problems in some populations. For Example, parents tell their children not to talk to strangers in order to protect them. In school they would be motivated to not show fear in talking with strangers but, to be assertive and also aware of the risks and environment in which it takes place. Ambiguous and mixed messages like this can affect their self-esteem and self-confident.

It is important to keep in mind that everyone is different, with a unique sense of what we feel scary or enjoyable. This Rises yet another question, while many can enjoy a good fright, why might others downright hate it? If the individual perceived the situation too real, an extreme fear response can overcome the sense of control over the situation. On the other hand, if the experience is not triggering enough to the emotional brain, or if too unreal to the thinking cognitive brain, the experience can end up feeling boring.

Fun aside, abnormal level of fear and anxiety can lead to significant distress and dysfunction and can lead to the inability of a person for success and joyful life. And people who don’t feel fear are not normal, a part of their brain doesn’t work to feel the situation. Fear is may be as simple as breathing and may be as complex as a labyrinth. Nowadays when the situation is critical, no one knows what will happen next. There is a big question mark for our survival. In these distressing days majority of people got too much frightened and fell into anxiety and many other psychological problems. This is due to overthinking about the situation, that people become phobic. This can do nothing but can damage their mental health also.

Fear is temporary, forget it forever.

In conclusion, fear is something that we all face in our lives. But drowning too much in it can cause dysfunction of the brain and also it’s not normal to not feel fear. Both extreme situations are harmful to health. In a positive way, in a dangerous situation, everyone feels fear and this feeling help us to take precautions for our survival. Fear of COVID_19 also helps us but thinking too much about it can cause severe mental health issues, so just take a deep breath and face the situation. You have just one thought in your mind that you can fight this disease. But there are also some fears like fear of people, social rejection, fear of future, fear of failure and loneliness, etc, that just keep us away from success and doesn’t help us to improve our lifestyle. There are special treatments and therapies to overcome these fears to live a normal life. By facing the fear can also help us to cope up with that fear. As Eleanor Roosevelt said: Do one thing every day that scares you. So nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less. So get rid of fear and live freely.

Submitted by “Farhana Ijaz”