Fear is one of the strongest emotions apart from anger, happiness and sadness, etc. It can be of anything, fear of heights, ghosts, enclosed spaces, dogs, embarrassments, etc. Those who noticed their fear and tried, got rid of it and now they are living a little more than before. This does not mean, they no longer get afraid by those fears. It means, now those fears don’t stop or manipulate their thoughts and actions anymore.
Bravery does not mean being fearless. It means to be full of fear but still not being dominated by it.
If you are not aware of something, you start getting manipulated by it. It can be your surroundings, emotions, thoughts, etc. And subconscious mind operates without our awareness, over which we do not have active or direct control.
Studies have suggested that 95% of brain activity is beyond our conscious awareness, only 5% of our cognitive activities (such as decisions, emotions, behavior, actions and etc.) are conscious whereas the remaining 95% is generated in a subconscious manner.
But the good thing is it is made through our habits and thus can be reprogrammed. So let’s begin this process to remove fear from subconscious mind.
Fear and Phobia: The Difference
Knowing the difference between fear and phobia will help you overcome your fears:
An emotional response to a real or perceived threat (object or situation).
A persistent and excessive (irrational) fear of an object or situation.
Helps in day to day functioning
Affects day to day functioning
Note: Fear is a natural response whereas Phobia is an anxiety (mental) disorder.
Fear helps you to complete the task and avoid physical or mental unease whenever possible but if faced then it helps you to stay rationally ready to take action. In other words, it helps you to see both sides.
Example: If you have an interview or an exam tomorrow the fear will help you to prepare for facing those situations by completing your tasks like creating a resume or study.
Whereas Phobia affects (manipulate) your thoughts and actions and makes you completely avoid the object or situation at any cost (to a degree greater than the actual danger posed.). And when faced makes you intensely distressed. In other words, it makes you irrational and inactive.
Example: Phobia will make you skip that interview or exam instead of making you prepare for it.
Fear helps you to become better than before whereas Phobia does the opposite.
Causes of Phobia
There are three factors for Phobias from which it gets born:
The cure for the above two factors (genetic and accidental) are not in your direct control. They can be cured by taking professional help from doctors or psychologist but you can treat your phobia born from habits as you have direct control over habitual factors.
Your habits form your subconscious mind and its processing power is 20,000,000 bits/sec which is 50k times greater than your conscious mind processing power (40 bits/sec). The purpose of the subconscious mind is to help you do your day to day or repeated work efficiently.
Example: When you go to a new place or take a new root, you have trouble reaching the destination in your first two to four times (because it is currently being processed by your conscious mind). But after some time, when your brain knows that this task is being repeated and will be repeated so it transfers this data to be processed by your subconscious mind. That is why you don’t feel struggled any more because all these processes become subconscious.
The conscious mind is for making decisions (bringing change or learning) and the subconscious mind is to perform actions.
Thus, your repeated or avoided thoughts and actions are processed without you being aware of them (subconsciously). Your negative habits do create phobia but even your positive habits can also create phobias and make you slow or inactive. Anything which exceeds its limit either good or bad will become a disorder at some point, if not supervised or left unsupervised. Same as our bad eating or daily habits can cause diseases.
Example: All people fear heights but few can control or limit their fear to reality. That’s because of the habits, those who can control the fear of heights would not have avoided facing the heights due to fear and this habit of not avoiding maintained their limits of fear. But if you fear heights and start avoiding (even if there is no reason to avoid) heights than it exceeds its limit and grows like a disease.
Example: Even positive and small things like trying not to make mistakes (fear of mistakes or being judged). Thriving for perfection (where it is not needed much) can make you slow and inactive. You will spend too much time thinking and correcting and it will make finishing or even starting the work troublesome (this was happening to me all the times but I realized it recently).
Anything that is left unsupervised, may exceed its limit and become a disorder or disease.
So try to supervise your thoughts (feeling and emotions) and actions to stay healthy, physical and mentally and socially. Because when you don’t see the mistake how will you correct it.
Types of Fear (Phobia)
Phobias can be divided into 3 categorize:
Ways To Overcome Your Fear
Now you know the difference between fearing the threat (fear) and fearing the fear (phobia). So you should focus on removing the excess fear and maintaining its required limits to make you keep progressing.
Note: Medication and hypnotherapy (only needed for serious conditions and should be taken by professionals)
The first step to win as always is to know your enemy. Buts it’s not that easy:
“The fear of facing your fears is harder to overcome than the fear itself”
Things that seem light and simple may not be what they seem to be. Such as people say they are afraid of heights but the truth is they are afraid of falling. We are not afraid of the dark or ghosts, we are afraid to get hurt or killed by those imaginary evils. We are not afraid of people around us, we are afraid that they will judge and reject you and so on.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
The above words are just a name for the way to live. You just need to think a little deep and go behind the curtain and see what is really happening e.g. what is my subconscious fear? Try to find the trick going on behind the magic, observe your thoughts and actions and be honest with yourself even if the truth is embarrassing or dis-comfortable to accept. And soon you will realize how far your thoughts are from reality (illogical, negative and repetitive)
Experts have estimated that the mind thinks around 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day which makes average of 2,500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour. From those, 80% are negative and 95% repetitive thoughts on an average.
Identifying your subconscious fears will change this data for you and help you become positive & productive instead of being ignorant and negative.
It is also known as Graduated Exposure Therapy. It is just a fancy name for the fact that avoiding (without supervision) something just makes it grow uncontrollably. Face your fear instead of avoiding it but gradually in a systematic order. It can be anything from an object to a situation.
“Face your fear and it will disappear”
As there is a saying “no pain no gain” you cannot overcome your fears by staying in your comfort zone.
Example: If you are afraid of the dark or ghosts. Then you should try going in the dark – first with a friend or someone else you trust (i know that your friend will try to scare the shit out of you so don’t go with your best friends XD). Second time – try to distant yourself from that person in the dark gradually and after some days, try going alone.
Fear And Reality
Not only our limitless negative thinking takes us far away from reality but our limitless positive thinking too. We worry and doubt ourselves which in turn makes us live in terror. The path to a healthy and peaceful life is to know the limits (rules) because without following the rule, a game would not work, nothing would work even the cosmos.
“Let your fear know your strengths”
We should not have only positivity, we need negativity too, but like the salt in the food. Just a little bit to make us stay connected to reality and push us forward. Words (thoughts) are energy, they affect you, so don’t take them lightly and choose them wisely. This will help you to overcome fear from your life.
We love ourselves greater than anything but still care too much about other’s opinions and validations. Pick your side and stand with yourself. You have your weakness as everybody else but you would also have your strengths too. Try to highlight them in your life.
How could someone love you when you cannot love yourself. You should first accept and love your weaknesses than gradually try to remove them to become better than before. The most important thing is to find humor in the journey and enjoy the process. Because there is nothing at the destination waiting for you, it’s all in the path we take and that’s life.