Half the time I’m trying to find a topic for the Human Psyche part of my blog, I’m searching for something – an excuse for human behaviour. I’m hoping that somewhere within the pages of psychology as it affect humans, I can find some kind of solace that explains why humans act like humans. “It’s just love on the brain”, “Placebo is in your mind but it alters your brain patterns”, “pain is not real”, “we do things subconsciously”, and so much more. For some reason, it makes it easier to deal with life understanding that some things have their level of control on you. However, most times, they’re just plain excuses.
Fear is something that has burdened every one of us, one way or the other. Personally, I’ve experienced it all – fear of failing, fear of committing, fear of handling responsibilities, fear of leadership, fear of flopping on the stage, fear of being accepted, fear of letting go, fear of disappointing my family, and the fear of disappointing myself. That demon that silences me when I need to speak up; the one that makes me ward off avoidable responsibilities; the one that makes me lie when the truth is shorter, and the one that has made a few of us a little less than we could possibly be. Even worse, the fear of the unknown – truths untold – that make it easier for us to ignore the depth of life itself and choose the plain.
Fear is limiting. But, could it be another thing that happens to us just because of our brains? Well, there’s always a theory. Actually, there’s a few of them:
1) The capacity to be afraid is part of the normal brain function. Psychology Today, explained that fear is a product of stimulated networks of the brain. In order words, even when there’s no danger, as long as those brain networks get stimulated, you feel the pangs of fear and anxiety. Hence, it is not a sign of weakness and it proves that your brain is working fine. It just happens.
2) The fight of flight syndrome is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. The human fight or flight syndrome is meant to protect you from the dangers that lie within your environment. Both fight of flight are defence mechanisms. When our bodies are exposed to emotional attacks or threats, fear kicks in and activates the same syndrome. In essence, if you face certain threats, emotional or physical, fear is an appropriate response that is registered within your brain.
3) Phobias are anxiety disorders: Fear of small spaces, fear of water, or fear of heights. It’s easier to say, “I have a phobia for…” than “I’m scared of…” Phobias are anxiety disorders and the person suffering from it, even while knowing that the fear is not necessarily dangerous, just cannot help the fearful reaction from taking place. The unconscious processing of frightening stimuli happens much quickly than we can consciously process it and we just find ourselves afraid somehow.
These and a few other explanations of the psychological effect of fear, basically prove to you that the brain does the processing and coordination of fear and anxiety. In other words, your entire body just reactively responds to the pace that has been set by your brain and creates the fearful response through sweating, screaming, and all that.
But, there’s a truth that researchers have subtly added. You’re as scared as you want to be. The more you fear something, the scarier it becomes, and if you hang on to it, it dictates your actions. While fear might truly be triggered without having to plan for it, the more of it you ward off, the easier it is for you to move past them. So, rather than allow fear dictate your actions, there is the need to man up and face them. Hiding under the shield of phobia or the subconscious responses of your brain to something it doesn’t like, is as easy as blaming the devil for every wrong thing you do. But, it still doesn’t make it correct.
Dealing with fear is a responsibility that lies on every one of us and there’s no greater conquest than taking your fears by the horn and heroically saving yourself. People can be completely fearless, but it is not because their brains made them so. Rather, it is because they have practiced how to use fear to their advantage and handle situations like pros. Remember that there was a time you thought monsters were under the bed and you couldn’t sleep with the lights turned off. The sooner we all consciously recognize and shut down our fears, the sooner we start enjoying the myriad of benefits that comes with being fearless and living free.
“Man’s immortality is not living forever. Every moment free from fear makes man immortal”