Fear is a feeling; it is a reaction to something we are frightened of, a natural instinct when faced with something we feel may endanger us. However, fear can be healthy and/or unhealthy; for instance, being afraid of spiders is slightly unhealthy as they can not actually do any harm but if a person is afraid of developing cancer and as a result of this they stop smoking, this is a healthy fear.
In biological terms, when any fear is experienced, certain areas of the brain such as the amygdala and the hypothalamus are activated which control the initial, physical response to fear. Chemicals such as adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol are then released into the blood stream causing certain physical reactions such as; a rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, tightening of muscles, sharpened or redirected senses, dilation of the pupils (to let in more light) and/or increased sweating.
(Native Remedies) Having a phobia is a fear of something. Whatever this phobia may be, it creates a feeling of fear and causes irrational and sometimes inexplainable behavior. Being afraid of confined spaces can cause some people to avoid travelling in elevators at all costs, others who are are fearful of flying may never travel abroad. There are fears in everyone, a fear of growing old or a fear of dying is possibly an unhealthy fear as ageing and death comes to us all.
Fear can present itself when feeling nervous about something, perhaps before an important occasion or a speech in front of people; there may be a fear of forgetting what to say or a fear of embarrassing oneself. Apprehension is fear and sometimes an apprehensive manner is due to the unknown, expecting something bad will happen creates a sense of apprehension. Anxiety is also fear, having experienced something that created dissatisfaction or dislike, there can be a fear in this feeling recurring, therefore an anxious fear is felt.
In some people anxiety can control their lives and medication is necessary, normal worries and healthy fear are less likely to make you feel this way. Fear in children is slightly different to fear in adults. As they are unable to rationalize and compare their fears to anything other than the way they feel, a child feels an actual threat by what they are in fear of, sometimes this can cause inconsolable behavior, only rationalized when they are able to understand they are not in any real danger.
Fear can be controlled by the mind. It is the brain that gives the message of something to be afraid of; if that fear is an irrational fear (spiders), then it is possible to overcome this fear by thinking logically. Unless you are faced with a wild tarantula, the tiny spider can do no harm. By telling yourself that the spider is more fearful of humans may put your fear in its place. Fear is completely normal and is a useful tool when recognizing and distinguishing danger; how we respond is according to our fear.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 8 November 2016
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