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Fear: fact or fiction?

Did you know that fear is an illusion and taking action is the best way to fight it?

Fear of the dark, spiders, skydiving, commitment, death, etc … there are so many examples.

Fear is a mechanism that our brain has developed to protect itself.

The definition of fear is:

– An emotion that accompanies the awareness of danger or a threat.
– An etiological phenomenon that is linked to our survival instinct based on the cautious mentality it creates.

Another definition: Threatening situations where physical or psychological dangers put us in a specific emotional state, often accompanied by physiological reactions: shaking, sweating, stomach ache, quickened pulse, etc. This state is normal and can even be positive if it causes us to react and therefore avoid/overcome danger. On the other hand, when fear is the product of phobias or a chronic state of anxiety with no purpose, it takes a pathological turn.

When fear causes a person to shut down, stop taking risks, and stop dealing in facts, they are at risk of developing chronic anxiety as well as physical or physiological symptoms.

Have you heard of the nocebo effect? It’s the opposite of the placebo effect. This term was coined in 1961 and is defined as follows by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada: A harmless product or treatment that, when taken by or administered to a patient, is associated with damaging side effects or worsening of symptoms due to negative expectations or the patient’s psychological state. 

In an entirely different vein, according to pharmacist Jean-Philippe Dion in a 2017 Radio-Canada interview: “What we don’t know can’t hurt us!” The simple fact of knowing can be enough to produce negative side effects. The nocebo effect is therefore the antithesis of placebo.

Whether we’re talking about nocebo or placebo, these effects are proof that our beliefs and the power of suggestion can impact our physical and mental health.

In today’s world, so much knowledge and information are constantly being shared on a large scale. This is a good thing, because our society has evolved thanks to all of this shared knowledge. However, it can also stoke fear and anxiety.

Some fears are well-founded and first develop during childhood. Others exist without you understanding why they’re there. One day you realize that you’re afraid of something, but you have no idea why – for example, you’re afraid of heights and always have been, but can’t trace it back to anything concrete.

Since birth, your brain has been programmed a certain way, with certain patterns of perception, interpretation, and reasoning/analysis according to your worldview, which corresponds to the environment in which you were raised. Life experiences, relationships, and authority figures who were present during your formative years all play a role in shaping this worldview.

 

Did you know that some fears don’t even belong to you? For example, let’s say you hate spiders but have no idea why. You didn’t experience any traumatic events that would lead to this fear. Well, it may not be your fear – it may not belong to you!

There are many ways to overcome certain fears that are either paralyzing or associated with discomfort, whether occasionally or frequently. CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) or NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) are helpful tools for creating positive change in your life and overcoming certain “patterns” that you no longer want to be a part of your life.

Here is a thought to send you off:

Thoughts generate emotions and emotions generate states of mind. Tell me what you are thinking today, and I will tell you how you will feel tomorrow.

“Be brave. Take Risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” –Paulo Coelho

 

Référence : https://www.psychologies.com/Dico-Psycho/Peur, https://www.cfp.ca/content/cfp/66/11/e295.full.pdf, https://anti-deprime.com/2015/03/13/leffet-nocebo-et-linfluence-des-medias-sur-notre-inconscient/