Fear is a universal emotion that we have all experienced at some point in our lives. It is as primal as our history. However, fear can manifest itself in different ways and have different intensities, from mild discomfort to exacerbated panic attacks, which makes us wonder, why does this happen? Can I overcome them?
What is fear and why do we feel it?
Fear is our brain’s natural response to a situation perceived as dangerous or threatening. When we feel fear, our brain triggers physiological and emotional responses to face or avoid that threat.
That is why it could be said that without fear we would never have got to where we are. It has increased our chances of survival and that is why it is still present today.
Diferentes tipos de miedos
First understand that fear is not a single concept, but encompasses a wide range of experiences. Some fears are common, such as fear of heights, fear of enclosed spaces or fear of spiders. These fears have an evolutionary explanation due to our past:
Being afraid of heights makes us more cautious and prevents us from falling off a cliff.
Avoiding enclosed spaces ensures our survival, considering that these places have less oxygen and less freedom to live in.
Being afraid of spiders makes us more cautious and avoid those species that may be dangerous and poisonous.
When these specific fears occur in great intensity, making a person’s life difficult, they are known as phobias and can generate intense anxiety in the people who experience them.
Other types of fears may also be more abstract and related to past traumatic experiences or concerns about the future, such as fear of failure, rejection or death.
Could I have inherited fear and is it something I have in my genes?
Fear may also have a genetic component. There is still no clear explanation as to why phobias occur in people. Some theories suggest that negative or traumatic experiences, and even social upbringing, may have an effect on the development of phobias.
Other studies suggest that certain phobias may have an inherited predisposition. Close relatives of others with phobias appear to be 2-3 times more likely to have the same phobias. However, this does not mean that we are doomed to live with them. Environment and life experiences also play a crucial role in how our fears manifest themselves. Understanding this interplay between genetics and environment gives us the opportunity to work on overcoming our fears and living a more fulfilling life.
This is why knowing your genetics through the new technologies on the market could help you in the future to be counselled by all kinds of professionals in a multidisciplinary way.
Do your phobias keep you from moving forward?
If you suffer from phobias, you may find yourself limited in your daily life. Agoraphobia, for example, can lead to an intense fear of being in public places or situations where escape can be difficult or embarrassing. These fears can interfere with your relationships, your career and your general well-being. However, it is important to remember that phobias and fears can be effectively treated with the right help.
One effective way to treat specific phobias is through a therapeutic approach known as exposure therapy. In some cases, the mental health professional may recommend other complementary therapies or even medication. It is more relevant to direct our efforts towards addressing the pattern of avoidance that has developed over time, rather than focusing on the underlying causes of the phobia.
The main goal of treatment is to improve the quality of life, enabling us to overcome the limitations imposed by our phobias.
Know yourself and overcome your fear
The first step to overcoming fear is to know yourself. Reflect on the roots of your fear, what triggers it and how it affects you. Self-awareness will enable you to deal with them more effectively and reduce your anxiety.
As we gain a better understanding and control over our reactions, thoughts and emotions, we experience a decrease in anxiety and fear, freeing us from the stranglehold they have on our lives.
Knowing ourselves doesn’t just involve introspection, there are also characteristics of ourselves that may have a bearing on how we are, and that includes genetic traits that explain part of our personality and how prone we are to stress. Knowing your genetics will give you insight into this hidden part of yourself.
Want to overcome your fears? Then the best thing to do is to seek professional support, such as a psychologist, who can provide you with the tools and strategies you need to face your fears gradually and safely. Remember that overcoming fear takes time and effort, but the personal growth and liberation you will gain from facing your fears will be worth it.