Healthy Fear: How to Make Peace with Fear

What is Fear?

According to the American Psychological Association, the question of what is fear is a basic emotion evoked by the detection of an imminent threat, which includes a sudden alarm response that triggers a series of physiological changes and activates the organism. Fear is a strong, natural, intense, and primitive emotion. Fear is fundamentally beneficial because it activates us in the presence of a physiological or psychological threat and stimulates the body to respond to this threat by making us secrete stress hormones.

Is It Normal to Be Scared?

The question of “Is it normal to be scared? comes up as a question that people and even the scientific world ask themselves from time to time. Because sometimes fear stems from real threats, and sometimes it can originate from imaginary dangers. Thus, although fear is a natural response to certain situations, it can cause distress and disruption when excessive or disproportionate. Therefore, while fear is basically a normal and healthy emotion, it can reach an abnormal and unhealthy dimension when it is based on imaginary threats and becomes irrational and disproportionate. Also, while fear is irrational and disproportionate, it can be a symptom of certain mental health conditions, including panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Effects of Fear on the Body

Although we experience fear mentally, we can also see its reaction physically. The effects of fear on the body begin in the amygdala as soon as we feel fear and stimulate our nervous system. Thanks to this stimulation, we begin to secrete stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Heart rate and blood pressure increase, so we start breathing faster. The blood pumped from our heart spreads to different parts of our body, creating a fight-or-flight response, so we can run faster or defend ourselves physically.

How to Control Fear?

1- Take time to physically calm down.

2- Soften your breath and breathe consciously.

3-Encourage yourself to face your fears and face your fears when you feel ready.

4- Examine the worst-case scenario you have created on your fears. How realistic does it look? Try to look at this scenario objectively from the outside.

5-Suggest yourself as if you were talking to a friend.

6-Remember that life has ups and downs and don’t strive to be perfect.

7-When you panic because of your fears, close your eyes and imagine yourself in a peaceful and happy environment.

8-Talk to a friend or partner about your fears.

9-Try walking, a healthy night’s sleep, and a healthy eating pattern for the anxiety caused by your fears.

10-Reward yourself after overcoming your fears.

11- Seek help from a professional if these fears are starting to seriously affect your daily life.

To get your fears under control, you can download Innerjoy from Google Play or Apple Store and try mindfulness practices.

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