“Fear is nothing more than a state of mind…”
– Napoleon Hill
When we were hunter-gatherers living in the forest, humans hunted for food, or they would get hunted as food. We lived in caves with very little safety and security. When you go in search of food, even a little noise from the bushes can be scary, where you are uncertain if you are hunting or going to become the hunted. Fear, in such an environment of uncertainty is understandable. But for most of us in the modern world, fear, in most of the cases, is just a state of mind and/or because of overthinking about the future.
Fear is mostly imaginary, as you are living primarily in your mind and not in reality. Fear in the world we live in now is mainly due to overthinking of the future, and not being in the present. The more you are rooted in reality, the lesser the fear of tomorrow. When you enter the zone of uncertainty, fear and anxiety slowly creep into your mind.
Bad or unfavorable experiences, from the past, could also create fear in us. Let us see an example: Once your family member went out and was late to return home. He/she was not even answering your calls. The immediate thought that crosses your mind is, something bad/wrong has happened. This is mostly influenced by the news you hear daily. Fear grips you and soon you can observe that, you are completely immersed in negative thoughts.
Others could induce fear with the information they share and the panic they create around you. Let’s take a TV series as an example. The more you watch series based on crime and anti-social activities, you unknowingly start doubting people around you, and you will be afraid of most of the things happening around you. Some NEWS channels have become significant contributors. The Coronavirus or COVID-19 situation has been blown out of proportion, thanks to news channels across the globe. The fear they instilled in people was so intense that people were afraid of touching anything and everything. You begin doubting everyone’s hygiene and feel you are the best in it. Media plays a significant role too. These days they are on a roll in creating fear, rather than instilling confidence, by showing the facts and telling people what they need to do. Media wants you to be in the state of fear so that you go back to them for guidance.
Fear is mostly because we overthink about issues we may face in the future. What if you encounter a significant situation in your life without notice in the present? You will analyze the situation, work out a solution and fix the issue by yourself or with help from someone, isn’t it? In this situation, you do not have time to be in fear, the only thing in your mind is a solution because you are already in the situation. But what if you anticipate the same problem in the future? You will start thinking of the worst in your mind first and be in the state of fear until you actually encounter it. Do not confuse this with assessing. Assessing risk is where you have a positive approach towards an unknown. In the case of fear, you blow the situation out of proportion and are afraid of the future. The worst part is that 99% of the situation you were afraid of, will not even occur in your life. The human mind is capable of overthinking but, it is for us to make sure we control our thoughts and channel it in the right direction.
Fears are not life-threatening in 99.9% of the cases, it’s less traumatic and more problematic. It disallows you to leave your most real potential. Let’s think about the fear of your first jump into the swimming pool, your first camping in the jungle, fear of rejection and so on. We have overcome a lot of them, but a few remain. Those empty boxes where we overcame fear, we fill it with newer ones.
Are we born with fear in us? Not really! It’s a habit we pick up later in life. Who taught us the concept of fear? More often, than not, it’s our parents, teachers and our immediate society. Yes, it’s mostly from the people we trust the most! Fear, in itself, is not bad altogether, it can help you from overcome natural disasters, survival from predators, it keeps you alert in venerable situations etc. How and when it presents itself in our lives is what matters.
This brings us to our next question; how do we lead a good life with little or no fear?
Listed here below, are a few things, in my opinion, that we could do:
- Always try to have a positive frame of mind. Problems come and go, and every situation has a solution, provided you are calm. If you are in fear, anxiety or anger, you will end up in a bigger mess than finding a solution.
- Expect the best out of every situation you encounter in life, even when you fear the worst. Do not get immobilized because of the fear, expect something good will happen out of it. If you go to your first swimming class with the fear of drowning, you will never be able to learn swimming. On the flip side, if your expectancy is to learn swimming and you trust your trainer, you will learn it faster than most of the others in the class.
- Do not overthink of the future, let the situation come, and you deal with it, in the present. Come out of living in your mind and live in the present. Stop thinking too much about the next moment or the future. Fear is imaginary and negative. Instead, try to create a positive imagination all the time. Be rooted in reality.
- Keep people, who instill fear, away from you. It could be a friend, a relative, those news channels or TV programs. Stay away from them. The world is a beautiful place, enjoy the beauty.
Everyone goes through moments of fear but, that doesn’t mean that they should be afraid of everything. Fear, as I mentioned, is a lifesaver too. The suggestion is to be in it when it’s a lifesaver. There are health benefits also, if you keep the unwanted fear away from you. It will stop the unwanted adrenal rush into the blood. As most of you know, after an adrenal rush, you need to go through a high energy workout. Otherwise, it could impact your health in the long run.
Come out of fear and enjoy the present. The world is beautiful, enjoy it, explore it, relish it! Do not lock yourself with the fear of COVID-19, step out, enjoy nature. But stay safe, follow all the precautions and safety measures.