Fear is essentially the stories we tell ourselves and for the visual thinkers, it’s the movies we keep playing in our heads. In case we ask people about their interest in watching horror movies, in all likelihood very few would answer in the affirmative. Despite huge disinterest in real horror movies, we still keep viewing & experiencing horror movies in our heads.
All our Fears & Worries are those horror movies we are producing and playing on loop. And the number of movies we produce easily outnumbers the productions by any Bollywood or Hollywood giant production house. The only difference is we don’t have any audience for our makings as others are busy watching their own creations.
We live in our imagination and keep visualizing the worries for the future and what all can go wrong with us. With the impact of TV shows, News, and Social media; we are conditioned in a way that more often than not we tend to think the worst possible scenario of any situation whatsoever.
Though the reality has nothing to do with our fears & worries. The movies in our minds are definitely our making and our choice on what we want to see on our brain’s screen with the input of our thoughts. We can easily figure out how many worst-case scenarios and negative future instances we imagined and how many of them actually come true.
Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves. – Cheryl Strayed
Design of fear
Fear is as primitive an emotion as human beings on this planet.
Our brain is hardwired with fear and it’s deeply ingrained in our sub-conscious, due to its vital role in our survival as a species. From an evolution perspective, humans were living in jungles and were facing potential danger from predatory animals, falling from cliffs, dangerous weather, hostile member of human species, bacteria, and viruses. This fight for survival with almost no resources led to the basic ‘design of fear’ in the human brain. The perception of fear by the human mind and the response thereto, it’s all got evolved after an infinite number of life-threatening situations humans have been facing since ages.
Is fear uncalled-for?
Though feeling fearful may probably not be a pleasant sensation, the capability of the human mind to sense fear is essential so that one can respond to these circumstances in order to protect themselves. All kind of fear starts from within, the fear of losing people to losing possessions to losing wealth, and most frightening is losing their own life.
Imagine the human mind without any sense of fear, and it would be impossible to survive even for few minutes; as one would stand in front of a running train or would possibly jump from a high-rise building and so on & so forth.
Our response to fear
Our body responds to the potential fear in a similar manner triggering the ‘fight or flight mode’ and all of us feel similar symptoms like sweating, tensed muscles, Increase in blood flow, racing heart rate, rapid breathing, high cortisol (stress hormone), and adrenalin Levels Spike; the moment we confront a dangerous situation or perceived threat. However, the emotional response varies from person to person and we make our own choices in terms of dealing with the fear. As for many (if not most), fear of death is most terrifying, but for others this mortality is the motivation to lead a fulfilling life.
The physical response of our body is all science and we all tend to react in a similar fashion as far as bodily impact is concerned. Whereas, what makes us different is our choice in terms of how we respond to fear. We all have choices to be in our comfort zones or push the limits despite being fearful.
In order to see ones response to his/her fears; one needs to ask questions to himself; if our fear is not letting us come out of our comfort zone. Or if our fear is manipulating us? Are we letting our fear control us? Are we feeling trapped because of our fear?
Undeniably, we are living in the most convenient times and enjoy all the comforts of this technologically advanced society. We don’t have life-endangering risks looming on our heads as compared to ancient times and fear is not needed as a survival mechanism anymore.
Fear is best described in ‘Zack Williams’ song – “FEAR is a Liar”, few lines:
Oh, fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar
‘Cause fear is a liar
Having said that, fear is still very much part of our subconscious and it’ll continue to serve us as a survival mechanism without any conscious efforts. On the contrary, we need conscious efforts in not giving fear undue space in our heads to live a more meaningful life.
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.” – Mark Twain