Anxiety & Mood | Feelings | Healthy Routines | Mindfulness | Mood | Stress

Feelings: Fear and anxiety, what’s the difference?

Imagine giving a speech here? Do not worry if your stomach cringes, giving a speech is one of the things the majority of people fear the most. Fear is an extremely important feeling since it has a huge survival value. It makes us instantly react to perceived threats by avoiding the danger and instead seeking safety/shelter. Therefore, it also has an important learning value since it conditions us to avoid similar threats in the future. Being fearless is potentially dangerous since that puts one at risk. This is one reason why young men have higher car insurance fees – they are overrepresented in car accident statistics.

Fear can also cover over other emotions. Then it is used as a defense mechanism to divert attention to the real issue like the human desire to be close to someone or to excel in performance. Some think thw feeling fear and anxiety are versions of the same state/phenomena. But many disagree since fear usually is aimed at a specific stimuli and situation. But they are interrelated and overlap partially. For example, fear is a component aimed at a specific topic in many of the anxiety disorders.

Although many of the sensations when experiencing anxiety or fear overlap, anxiety is not a feeling but symptoms, patterns of physiological arousal in the body that many can relate to, and that also are diagnostic in different anxiety disorders. Fear often leads to strong reactions – the fight/flight or freeze mode discussed in earlier posts.
The problem is that fear can be connected to stimuli that are not per se dangerous – i.e. the reaction is disproportionate to the stimuli, like in the case of phobias. We all can feel apprehensive when passing a bridge or flying, but for people with phobias this is unthinkable and create such strong avoidance reactions that they eventually often and hopefully seek professional help.

To conquer your fears, try this: List the top 5 things that scares you the most, how strong that fear is respectively as well as how likely it is and your degree of control over the feared object/situation. More about fear and how to conquer it next time.

#feelingsexercise #fear #anxiety

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