Imagine a scenario. You get up at night and you are thirsty. You get up from your bed and walk towards the kitchen. You pick up a glass and go on to fill water from the purifier. Suddenly you hear something fall. “You miss a heart beat”. Turning around, it’s just a cat. That sudden realisation, current running through your spine and pin drop silence. This is what fear is. Fear has been generally labelled as a negative thought and we all have taught from our childhood to avoid it. But instead of understanding this terrifying feeling we avoid it and later it turns into a bigger problem, affecting our social life, work life and mental health. This is called the “Fear Trap”.
Let us start from the basics of what is fear, how we react to it and what should be done. Fear is experienced by everyone. In reality it is a very natural occurring event. As soon as we realise that we have started to experience fear, our body starts to respond with sweat, nervousness, anxiety, etc. There are more or less two ways in which almost everyone reacts to fear. One is “autopilot” mode and the other is “Avoidance” mode.
Autopilot mode of handling with fear related situations is giving the control of your actions to your emotions. You start to behave in an erratic manner. You suddenly lose conscience of what you are doing. This creates a fear in you and makes you feel scared about strong emotions. You further opt to avoid feelings because you cannot control them. This a big myth that runs deep in today’s society. The other known way of dealing with fear is to avoid it (The Avoidance mode). We try many things, distract ourselves by indulging in other activities. Escape from or quit a situation, activity or a person in order to avoid being in that place of experiencing fear. Sometimes we try and blame others to divert our thinking, stay in a state of denial of the activity, optimistic approach to things, etc. All the above methods are what any normal human would think in order to not be in a state of fear . Sometimes they might work, but blindly following a method harms us in the long run. Lets us take an example of a guy who is scared of drowning in water due to his childhood experience. Whenever his feet touched water, he would start to tremble and all his motor functions would come to a halt. Instead of avoiding his fear of drowning all his life , he chose to face them step by step . He started with learning swimming in a pool and then went on to swim across a canal . After he crossed the canal, the fear of drowning had left him. The point this example states is that of “exposure” to your fear. Fighting it in a gradual process . This method is called “graded exposure”. Facing your fears head-on exposes you to unknown beauties of life. It fills the gap in your confidence and makes you a better person.
Avoiding fear leads to an unhealthy lifestyle. We tend to not take risks and this way we do not explore our abilities and everything including our creativity comes to a stop. Further , during this process our fear does not go away , but it simply grows bigger than what it was. Exposing yourself to different challenging situations help you grow as a person in the world. Life is filled with fear driven activities and it is our choice whether we want to run-away from them or face them head-on and break free from them.
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