What is fear?
Fear is an oppressive feeling. You get this feeling when you are scared, when you are in danger. Fear warns you and sharpens you; it ensures that your body is ready for a quick response. For example, you see a truck approaching you. The fear that you experience ensures that you get away quickly, so that the truck does not hit you.
You can see fear as a normal reaction to danger. If fear starts to control your life without the circumstances being dangerous or really threatening, then we speak of an anxiety disorder. Street fear is an example of this. If you have a fear of the street, you will not dare to walk on the street anymore, because you are afraid that anything can happen.
With anxiety you experience a feeling of fear and fear; this is a mental response to fear. Moreover, emotions are evoked; the emotional response to fear. However, you can also experience physical symptoms if you are anxious.
Physical responses to anxiety can be:
- breathe quickly or hyperventilate
- tense muscles
- sleep poorly or sleep a lot
- to feel warm or very cold
- to sweat
- feeling in your stomach or stomach
- have to go to the toilet or pee in your pants
Mental responses to anxiety can be:
- think in circles
- poor concentration
- be extra vigilant / alert, be on your guard
- non-logical – irrational – thoughts that play through your head (eg see every man in the dark as a potential killer and therefore no longer go outside)
- worry (this can make the physical reactions stronger)
- can’t remember
Emotional responses to anxiety can be:
- to cry
- be irritated
- want to be alone
- feeling of insecurity
- to act tough
How does fear arise?
A feeling of fear arises in dangerous situations. Over the years you have learned to recognize those situations. These situations have evoked fear in you and thereby helped you respond quickly and properly to danger. That is how it should be, then fear has a protective function.
Sometimes fear takes an unhealthy form: namely if you are afraid while there is no danger, or if your fear is so intense that you will avoid normal situations. This kind of fear arises because we feel threatened by situations that are not dangerous, but that we make dangerous in our own thoughts.
What can you expect?
A situation that arouses feelings of anxiety in many people is, for example, talking in a group. The fear of the dangers invented by ourselves feels the same as that for really dangerous situations. Your thoughts can run wild and you have no control over yourself, you prefer to crawl far away so that no one can see you.
If you are so anxious, you are really only trying to get rid of that feeling of fear. This is called fear avoidance. Avoiding fear gives peace. Yet this only works temporarily, because this often does not resolve the cause of the fear. In that case you have only temporarily stopped your physical and mental response to anxiety.
When to seek help with anxiety?
Anxiety is no longer normal if it disrupts your normal daily life. You are going to avoid many situations, you are often tense and on your guard everywhere and you often feel sick with fear. You are going to do things to reduce the fear, such as reporting sick at the gym, because you are afraid of being chosen last. Or you don’t go to the supermarket anymore, because you don’t dare to stand in line at the cash register.
If, because of your fears, you can no longer do what you want, because your thoughts, physical or emotional reactions dominate, it’s time to get started. It is best to first make an appointment with your doctor. In consultation with you, he or she can refer you to a psychologist.
What can you do about it yourself?
If, because of your fears, you can no longer do what you want, because your thoughts, your physical or emotional recalls dominate, it’s time to get started.
- Ensure a healthy and rested body. The nicer you feel, the better you can handle tensions. Exercise regularly, watch your diet, do not use any resources.
- Write down your fears when you feel them coming up, write down all the pros and cons, until you start thinking about other things again and are calmer again. Write down the entire scenario of your fear, and when you are done, read it again and wonder how likely it really will happen.
- Try to relax in situations where you feel tension and anxiety arise. This sounds easy, but it really isn’t. You can learn to relax with breathing techniques, yoga or meditation, for example. You will have to learn this. For example, you can do a course for this.
- Call a friend for help and just tell your fears honestly. It often turns out that when you pronounce them, they are less frightening than you first thought.
- Try to avoid making decisions based on your fear. First, sleep on it overnight, so that you can make a quiet and well-considered choice the next day.
- There are also possibilities to follow self-help programs against anxiety via the internet.
Source : dokterdokter