Fears accompany us all our lives. Someone is afraid of disease, someone is afraid of heights or speed, someone is afraid of the prospect of bankruptcy or is tormented by the fear of aging. Getting rid of fear completely is unrealistic and unnecessary. But you can learn how to handle him so that he does not spoil life. First of all, it is important to find the roots of fears: under the fear of the same situation, different people may have different reasons. It's helpful to explore this: a frightening situation becomes a little more controllable, or at least more understandable, when you know the underlying fear. Ask yourself, "What's the most unpleasant thing about this?" and "What am I afraid of in the end?"
For example, you are going to speak in public and are afraid to fail: forget all the words, start stuttering, run away from the stage. What is behind this fear? Play an imaginary movie about your failure to its logical conclusion. What happens in the finale? What's the scariest thing about this picture for you? For some, the most intolerable will be to fail in front of hundreds of people - it is the fear of rejection. Someone may have already experienced an uncontrollable panic and is afraid to find themselves in this state again - this is the fear of unpleasant experiences or loss of control. Fear of death or fear of pain can be behind the fear of getting very sick. Or maybe, again, the fear of losing control - to be in the hospital, to face the inability to live a familiar life. Or maybe all three of these fears at once.
Understandable fear is a little easier to deal with. It is important to know that fear is a very unpleasant but completely normal emotion. Fears will surely accompany you all the time while you are alive. But you can learn to make fear more bearable, so that it does not interfere, but helps to live. Understanding the approximate types of basic fears - and what to do with them.
Text: Yana Shagova, author of the telegram channel "Everything is all right with me!"
Fear of losing control
Usually, adults have a fairly large degree of control over their lives. We make decisions about how and where we want to live, with whom to communicate, what to do, and so on. But control may decrease due to some circumstances: for some reason we may be limited in movement, money or physical capabilities, we may be temporarily dependent on some person or group of people. This can be frustrating and we try to avoid these situations.
This also includes fears of physical weakness - for example, in old age. Or the fear of physical injury or illness that will limit how much we control our lives - our ability to work, move independently, think soberly, and so on. For many, the fear of financial ruin or job loss is also associated with a loss of control: they will have to turn to someone for help, be addicted. Traveling in a car as a passenger or traveling on an airplane can also feel like transferring control of your life to another person.
What can be done?
In almost any situation, there is a part that we control and that that is beyond our control. You can try your best to do the things that depend on you and accept that the rest is out of your control. In general, this formula helps to work with any fears.
For example, when you are flying on an airplane or driving a car as a passenger, you can only control the state of your body: breathe, relax, drink water, or take a sedative. In the car, the maximum is to ask the driver to slow down. If you are afraid of running out of money and thus losing control over your life, you can save up and regularly monitor the situation in the labor market. If you are sick or suspect that you are sick, you can see your doctor and get regular treatment.You can also try to enlist the support of people you are not so afraid of depending on - so that you know that you can ask for help in a critical situation.
Alas, you will never have guarantees of absolute safety and regulation of life. But we can create a feasible airbag for ourselves - this action itself will help to worry less.
Fear of unpleasant experiences and pain
We would all like to avoid pain, both physical and mental. It is not surprising that the situations that can lead to it frighten us. This is the fear of getting wounds and illness, the fear of operations, taking blood and other unpleasant procedures, the fear of going to the doctors. By the way, in the latter case, fear of losing control may also be mixed - after all, during many manipulations, we transfer control over our body to medical workers. Fear of situations where you can potentially get injured - fear of crowds, heights, confined spaces, and so on - also partly originates here.
The fear of unpleasant emotions makes us afraid of difficult conversations, conflicts (however, the fear of rejection is also involved here), encourages us to avoid aggressive or toxic people. The fear of parting and the fear of losing loved ones is partly related to the same fear: breaking up a meaningful relationship involves experiencing loss, which is hard.
Usually, phobias and panics are born from the same kind of fears - this is a kind of "fear of fear". A typical beginning of a panic attack: a person became anxious and physically ill in some place (in an elevator, an airplane, in a confined space, or, on the contrary, in public, in the presence of someone significant). When he finds out that he is in a bad state, he is frightened, which makes the state intensified, and he is frightened even more. The reactions of fear and physical distress are looped back. These unpleasant feelings, along with helplessness and loss of control, reinforce fear.
What can be done?
Few - but still something is possible. If you are afraid of unpleasant medical procedures, try to select gentle doctors (beauticians and so on). Remember that you can leave and change a specialist if he is being rude. It is useful to warn that you are afraid of certain manipulations.
In life-threatening situations, fear can serve as a compass to show which situations or people to stay away from. And if fear becomes irrational, you can think about how realistic it is now to get some kind of bodily harm or die. Practicing breathing, relaxation, or scanning the body also helps many, because it allows you to focus on the internal state of the body, and not on external uncontrollable factors.
In the case of fear of unpleasant experiences, memories of past experiences work well. You've probably experienced breakup, loss, or conflict before. And although it was unpleasant, you somehow managed it. Think - what helped you?
Fear of being rejected, abandoned
The same category includes, for example, the fear of public speaking or the fear of attending crowded events. However, the latter can also refer to fear of losing control or fear of experiencing pain - if a person is afraid of crowds or aggressive actions from others. Still, most of the social fears are associated precisely with the fear of rejection: rejection by loved ones or friends, ridicule from strangers, falling out of the usual social circle, social isolation and loneliness.
The fear of failure, and even the fear of success that is not uncommon, falls into the same category. With an imaginary failure, a person may be afraid of ridicule, rejection from an important group of people for him. With an imaginary “too much” success, he begins to fear the same thing: “Someone will say that I am arrogant”, “I’ll have to hide from my friends how much they pay me”, “They will decide that I think too much of myself” and the like. …The fear of exposure and the impostor syndrome belong here - a person is afraid that someone will come and expose his "incompetence", after which he will be rejected by everyone who considered him better than he is.
What can be done?
As in the previous case, it is sometimes helpful to recall past experiences of similar situations: even if they were unpleasant, life did not end there. It also helps to simulate the worst outcomes of a situation. Rejected by friends, a loved one will leave, be fired from work or fined for incompetence - all these situations are very painful, but none are fatal. Again, if you recall life experience, it always turns out that we do not really need in life those people who do not need us.
Fear of death
This is the root fear behind all others. We fear rejection because archaic instincts tell us that we cannot survive alone. We are afraid of injury, infection and disease, as these can also lead to death. We are afraid of losing control because we are afraid of being helpless and perishing because of it.
But there are situations when the fear of death manifests itself more clearly and directly: when we are very sick, in life-threatening situations (during a car accident, for example, or an attack on the street). The fear of death can be exacerbated if someone in our environment dies or when we read the news of disasters or wars. The fear of death is completely normal for a person, although it is difficult to experience it.
What can be done?
The fact that life is finite is a given, no matter how frightening it may frighten us. Perhaps the best thing to do with the fear of death is to pay attention to your life. Does it suit us? Are we doing what we love? And don't we have to put up with a lot of things that we don't like? The less we like our own life, the more intense the fear of death - because in this case, death means that we will leave this world without really starting to live.