Transform Your Daily Life

Fears and Phobias

According to Merriam-Webster, a fear is

an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger”

The unpleasant or strong emotion can be either a onetime situation or an ongoing feeling. Fear is a normal reaction. It’s also necessary. It’s a necessary emotion designed to keep you safe. It prevents you from walking down dark alleys on your way home from work. It also prevents you from trying to pet a mangy looking stray animal. It’s when the fear doesn’t go away after the threat is gone that it becomes a problem.

A phobia is defined as:

“an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation”

The most common phobias are: fear of spiders, snakes, heights, open or crowded spaces, and dogs. Anything which causes an uncommon reaction in you is a phobia. It doesn’t matter what it is. It could be a fear of muddy shoes in your house. If you break down in tears at the sight of it or start screaming and run off, it’s a phobia.

Again, real fear is normal and designed to keep you safe in a given situation.  With both ongoing fear and phobias, the real problem is how you think about it.

If you spend more than a couple of minutes focused on how much an object terrifies you, your bodies going to have a negative reaction. Your brains job is to give you what you want. If you think you’re terrified over muddy shoes, your brain will whip up some action in your body. If you’re terrified of clowns, because a clown with bad breath laughed in your face when you were five, your brain will pull with it your reaction from when you were five.

You may have a phobia without knowing where it started. These can happen through comments or a reaction from someone you care about who has a phobia. Their reaction unknowingly becomes a part of how you perceive the situation, creating a phobia in you.