How to get rid of fear and anxiety: causes

From this article you will learn:
  • What are the causes of fear and anxiety?
  • What ways does psychology offer to get rid of fear and anxiety?
  • How to get rid of fear and anxiety through meditation and affirmations
  • What folk remedies help get rid of fear and anxiety?
  • What magical rituals can be used for fear and anxiety?

The human brain is designed in such a way that it always brings to the fore the most negative emotions, experiences and fears. We think very little about pleasant things, rarely remember our successes and victories. Negative feelings are experienced more actively, sometimes completely subjugating us and even causing pathological conditions. We’ll talk about how to get rid of anxiety and fear on the path to achieving emotional well-being in our article.

Differences between fear and anxiety

Fear is an emotion that is closely related to another one - anxiety. Sometimes these definitions can be confused. However, there are 3 characteristics that distinguish these concepts:

  1. Fear is more specific, for example, there is a fear of heights. While anxiety does not have clear outlines.
  2. Anxiety is a subjectively significant emotion. It is caused by things and values ​​that are significant for a particular individual. Anxiety arises against the background of a threat to the personality itself, its essence, and worldview.
  3. When faced with anxiety, a person is often helpless. For example, if uncertainty during an earthquake causes anxiety, then a person is unable to influence it.
  4. Anxiety is a constant phenomenon, fear is determined by a specific situation.

In fact, the same situation can cause both fear and anxiety. Often the second is a consequence of the first. That is, if you experience a negative emotion before something, but act (you can change the situation), then this is fear. If you are powerless in the face of circumstances - anxiety. In psychology there is still no clear differentiation of these concepts. There are many theories, including those that equate fear and anxiety. As part of this topic, I recommend that you also read the article “How to get rid of anxiety - advice from a psychologist.”

How does anxious anticipation work?

What worries many most in a dangerous situation is the unknown of the future , which, by the way, is skillfully used by the creators of horror films.

The state of anxious anticipation increases the feeling of an upcoming threat, which, in turn, can affect the subjective perception of time and pain. And this is scientifically proven! For example, it seems to novice skydivers that the wait before jumping from a plane lasts forever, although in reality it only takes a few minutes.

This phenomenon is familiar to everyone to one degree or another. Remember how you “work yourself up” on the eve of an important interview or in line at the dentist.

Don't beat yourself up. “Expectation anxiety” is a normal reaction of the body , which helps to “get ready”, and it should be regulated only if it becomes destructive.

The best way to calm fear is to feel in control of the situation. And control is achieved through awareness and awareness.

Specifics of fear

You can distinguish between real and false fear:

  • We experience the first in critical situations. For example, when a car is caught in a snow drift and is about to roll over.
  • False fear - imaginary worries about what did not happen (“What if I get into a skid?”). It is precisely false fears that need to be fought.

When we experience fear, there is an increase in sensory attention and motor tension. That is, we are more actively observing and are ready to quickly run (act).

Uncontrolled and unprocessed fears turn into phobias and anxieties, which provokes neuroticism of the individual.

Attend group therapy sessions

We all believe that our problems are the most complex and unique. But this is not so, we are not alone in our fears. This is why group therapy sessions are so effective. By getting to know and meeting people who have similar problems, discussing difficult situations together, you will notice that your emotions have become less intense and your inner fear has subsided.

Causes of fear

Among the reasons are:

  • self-doubt and other disorders;
  • childhood psychological trauma;
  • constant stress and frequently recurring critical situations;
  • the instinct of self-preservation.

The last reason encourages normative fear.

As V. A. Kostina and O. V. Doronina note, fear can be hereditary. Moreover, women are more likely to have social fears, while men are more likely to have a fear of heights. Fear of heights, darkness, fear of doctors, punishment, and loss of loved ones is inherited.

Useful books

If you want to approach the problem thoroughly and study it thoroughly, here is a list of books that will help with this:

  • “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living,” Dale Carnegie;
  • “Taming Fear”, Vladimir Levi;
  • “Happy life without panic attacks and fears”, Pavel Fedorenko;
  • “The wisdom of fear. How to understand and overcome your fear?”, Vitaly Pichugin.

Finally, watch this funny cartoon - it will make you look at your fears from a different angle.

Why is fear dangerous?

When fear occurs, a number of physiological changes occur in the body. The work includes the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal cortex. As a result of activation of the hypothalamus, corticotropin is produced. It in turn includes the nervous system and the pituitary gland. It triggers the adrenal glands and produces prolactin. The adrenal glands secrete cortisol. At the same time, adrenaline and norepinephrine are produced. All this manifests itself externally and internally:

  • increase in pressure;
  • increased heart rate and breathing;
  • opening of the bronchi;
  • "goose bumps";
  • decreased blood flow to the organs of the digestive and reproductive systems;
  • dilated pupils;
  • release of glucose into the blood;
  • rapid fat burning;
  • increased acidity in the stomach and decreased enzyme production;
  • shutting down the immune system.

That is, the body comes into tension and takes a low start.

In real danger, this allows you to think faster, see better, hit harder, run faster. But if the fear is imaginary and constant, then the body is not benefited by everything that happens to it at that moment. This is why psychosomatic diseases develop against a background of fear:

  • stool disorders,
  • bronchial edema,
  • dyspnea,
  • chest pain.

Thus, a vicious circle arises. For example, you are afraid of getting sick, but against the backdrop of fear you get sick. In addition, the more often you experience fear (stress), the less you can rationally assess the situation, which results in chronic phobias.

Don't say that you now have a fear of fear (that wasn't my goal). In any case, we’ll deal with him now. Read on.

The most popular fears: description and solution

One of the popular fears is the fear of death (your own or loved ones). This is the most ambiguous phenomenon:

  • On the one hand, it can reach such proportions that a person will close himself within four walls and simply rewind the allotted time.
  • But on the other hand, this is a normal fear that makes us look around when we cross the road.

There is only one way to cope with it - accept it. All people are mortal. There is no point in experiencing death several times in your thoughts and darkening your whole life with this.

Other popular fears include fear of others, of oneself, of time, and of fear.

Fear of others

The basis of fear is criticism, and yours first of all. To overcome this problem, try not to criticize, but to praise. It is human nature to project our shortcomings or problems onto others, that is, in people we notice and criticize what we do not accept in ourselves. And we seem to be playing ahead of the curve until they notice it in our country. That is, we are afraid that our shortcomings will be noticed. This also includes:

  • pickiness;
  • grievances;
  • vindictiveness;
  • unpleasant character traits (conflict, deceit, dishonesty, avoidance of problems, indecisiveness).

If you notice this in people and are afraid to experience it yourself, then you have probably already experienced it in yourself a long time ago. On the same basis, there is a fear of appearing funny, of falling under the evil spirit of someone. Solution to the problem: demonstrate yourself what you want to see in others.

Fear of yourself

We are talking about the fear of one’s own ailments, imperfections of the body, loss of strength, and the like. The solution to such a problem is to achieve harmony of the body, brain and soul. This is a very difficult and wide path. Simply put, this is getting rid of psychosomatics.

Learn to listen to your body and accept the fact that it is a system capable of self-regulation if it is not interfered with by imaginary fears. Have you ever said: “I don’t understand how I could do this. I won’t repeat it now on purpose”? Here is the answer.

Fear of time

Learn the “here and now” principle. Fear of time passing is often accompanied by self-flagellation due to postponing something for later or to the will of fate. You need to learn to act and take responsibility for your actions.

  • Get rid of laziness.
  • Learn the principle “for everything there is a time,” but in the context of your fulfilling your life plan and creating favorable conditions, and not waiting for the intervention of external forces.
  • Scroll through situations in your head before doing something in practice (only with a successful outcome, of course).

Fear of fear

First of all, learn to call a spade a spade. Not “I’m nervous”, but “I’m afraid of something.” Basically we are talking about fear of the unknown. Read about overcoming it in the paragraph “From fear to freedom” of this article.

Increased self-esteem

Another effective technique for overcoming fear is to consciously increase self-esteem. If a person has a fear of communication, he may catch himself thinking certain negative thoughts about himself. Having failed to overcome the barrier and approach a person to start a conversation, we tend to reproach ourselves, saying phrases in our heads, for example, “I’m a loser,” “I’m a weakling,” “no one needs a weak person like me.” Such thoughts have an extremely negative impact on our perception of ourselves.

You should encourage yourself. You need to mentally say: “Even though it’s hard for me to overcome this barrier now, to start a conversation, I can do it. I am an interesting conversationalist. People want to communicate with me." Even if you can’t decide to have a conversation the first time, over time a person will be able to overcome his fear. This feeling is like jumping off a diving board. Looking down into the water, the man is afraid to jump. However, in flight, he already forgets about his fear. The same thing happens with other fears. The fear is much greater until the moment a person decides to take action.

What to do: general tips

  1. Learn to overcome your fears and use them for good. There is no need to be ashamed of fear, but you need to overcome it and resist. The optimal method in this case is “wedge by wedge”. It is important to face your fears. If in alcoholism treatment begins with the acceptance (voicing, recognition) of the problem, then the correction of fears begins with a confrontation.
  2. When working with fears, it is important to understand that it will not work out the first time. You must be aware that it will not be easy, but it will be worth it. In case of failure, have an alternative plan (people with fears are best at coming up with workarounds), but only use it as a plan B.
  3. Pretend you're not afraid of anything. Imagine that you have to play a role on stage. After a while, your brain will believe that you really are not afraid of anything.
  4. Fears about the future are least justified. You create your own future, so pay attention to the present. Fears about him are much more justified. By torturing yourself with something from the future, you ruin your whole life. You exist, not live.
  5. Accept the fact that our life consists of white and black stripes, sometimes gray. Troubles, difficulties and uncertainty will often appear. The important thing is not to be afraid to face it, but to be confident that you can handle it. To do this you need to be the master of your life.
  6. Most fears stem from childhood. But, firstly, a child and an adult perceive the same things differently. Secondly, often fear or disagreement with a specific person is projected onto the subject. For example, you have problems in your relationship with your parents, but you are afraid of the dark (you were once locked in a closet). Then there is only one solution - let go or discuss the grievances.
  7. Have you noticed that fears are always directed to the future (even if they are based on the experience of the past), and fears develop due to the imagination? So why not redirect your energies, for example, into creativity? Learn to switch your attention. Realize that you are expending real physical, mental, and psychological strength working through future events that most likely won't happen. Don't you feel sorry for this?
  8. Fear of the unknown is the most unjustified. You don’t yet know the object (phenomenon) itself, so how do you know that you need to be afraid of it? Give it a try. Haven't been on a plane? Give it a try. And then decide whether you will be afraid or not.

I would like to make a reservation that you should not rush headlong into the pool and neglect your safety. That is, living a full life without fears does not mean going snowboarding, getting hurt and remaining disabled. Living without fear means making your own decisions and taking responsibility for them, understanding all the risks and possible consequences.

The body is capable of self-healing. Your task is to bring him out of the state of eternal tension. And this is what relaxation was invented for. We are talking about conscious relaxation of the body, replacing negative emotions with positive ones. But let me remind you once again that you only need to get rid of unhealthy fear.

Healing Plan

To overcome fear, you need to consistently solve a number of problems.

  1. Replace faith in the bad (this is fear) with faith in the good. There is a recipe for everyone: some turn to nature, others to spirits, God, their own old pleasant memories.
  2. Next, find support from someone and give it yourself.
  3. Learn to listen to your body and trust your intuition.
  4. Find the root cause of false fear.
  5. Create your own recipe for courage. These are detailed aspirations (desires) and ways to achieve them. It is important to describe not only what needs to be done, but also what you can do.
  6. Refocus your attention from the result to the process.

You can read about each of these points and how to implement them in L. Rankin’s book “Healing from Fear.” The work provides practical recommendations on meditation, finding inner strength, and developing courage. For each element (beliefs, courage, search for reasons, etc.) a whole list of techniques with descriptions is presented. The author presented so many techniques in one publication that I think you will definitely find something for yourself there.

From fear to freedom

If you are still reading this article, then you are probably in constant captivity of your own fears and are looking for a way to freedom. Right? Well, he is. Includes 5 items:

  1. Leaving the unconscious comfort zone. Avoiding risk takes more energy than taking the risk itself. A person is driven by the thought “better security than regret.” In order to step over this step, ask yourself the question: is the comfort zone really what it is for you? Imagine who you could be if you didn't have fears.
  2. Stepping out of your perceived comfort zone. At this stage, a person is driven by the conviction that uncertainty is the only constant and clear thing in his life. That is, a person understands that he is infringing on himself, but remains in his old place. At this stage, it is important to stimulate yourself with praise. You are a brave person and will be able to get out of your zone.
  3. At the third stage, a person is not afraid of uncertainty, but also does not seek it. Doubt more, be curious.
  4. Search for the uncertain, the unknown, the new. Learn to see opportunities.
  5. Acceptance of uncertainty as such (in the concept of peace). Realize that anything can happen, but every event has meaning.

The fifth stage is the final one. This is the freedom without fear that you need to enjoy. However, this is the most unstable stage. Your freedom must be constantly reinforced and supported by practice. Otherwise it's easy to lose it.

Emergency help

  1. If fear takes you by surprise, you can quickly find inner strength by switching your attention. Having realized the fear, direct your attention to your brightest passion, desire. Concentrate on this. Want it so much that there is no room for fear. Even if the objects of passion and fear are from different “worlds”. Convince yourself that you will quickly deal with what scares you, and then do what you want.
  2. The second way to quickly overcome fear is to imagine what it deprives you of. Usually people evaluate only one side: what fear saves them from. Imagine how fear clamps down on your potential, your individuality, your originality.
  3. Practice self-hypnosis. Repeat daily in front of the mirror, “I am the master of my life. Everything that happens (both good and bad) depends on me. There is no place for fear, as well as meaning in it.”
  4. If the fear is clearly defined, then thoroughly study all its aspects. Look him in the face. Find the positives.
  5. The most non-standard and categorical method of struggle is worrying about the consequences of worries. This is a dubious method, but it exists. Imagine how the situation will worsen from your worries (after reading this article, you know what your body experiences during a period of fear). Oddly enough, the awareness of “playing against yourself” will calm you down. But I’ll say right away that this method is not suitable for everyone. You can go into even greater self-torture. Be careful!

Types of phobias

The most common are social phobia - fear of communication, public speaking, and agoraphobia - fear of open spaces. They are closely followed by claustrophobia - the fear of closed spaces. Less common are fears of blood, spiders, snakes, mice, water, fire, heights, corpses, funeral supplies, darkness, and various diseases. There are also very rare phobias - fear of mirrors, walking across a bridge, or being in certain rooms and on certain types of terrain or with certain types of people.

In principle, almost anything can become a phobia, but one should not go to extremes and confuse a phobia with ordinary fear. For example, every normal person is afraid of heights, but this does not mean that he has a phobia. In the same way, people have a genetic aversion to insects and arthropods. This has a completely reasonable reason - for tens of thousands of years they have been stinging, biting and infecting our ancestors, so a normal person would not rejoice at the sight of a lice or a pot-bellied spider. But we can reasonably talk about a phobia only when the sight of an ordinary house spider or mouse causes a panic attack.

The danger of the condition and the possibilities of modern therapy

Now let's talk about whether treatment for phobias is required, how necessary professional intervention is and how to get rid of phobias and fears on your own. Considering that panic states, even those that do not occur too often, negatively affect the quality of life, it is necessary to ask the question of how to cure a phobia, especially since today there are many techniques that allow you to cope with this condition. The effectiveness of therapy is high both in the case of professional intervention and in self-treatment, subject to the basic rule - there must be a willingness to analyze the underlying factors that provoked the development of fear and a sincere desire to eliminate it from one’s own life. When approaching the problem, specialists use a specific scheme on how to get rid of phobia, fear and panic states:

  1. The first stage is a clear definition of the phenomenon that causes fear and worsens physical condition.
  2. The second stage is working with the very cause of fear, while professionals at this stage use hypnosis and psychotherapy techniques. Conducting special sessions helps the patient to realize and accept his fears, and allows him not to lose constructive thinking in the event of a critical situation.
  3. The third stage of how to treat phobias is controlling fears in practice and the ability to make the right decisions without the desire to escape from reality.

Childhood fears

Despite the individual nature of fears (although, as we remember, they are not as subjective as anxiety), they are based on the current need of age. Therefore, we can generally classify fears by age:

  1. Up to six months - fear of sudden and loud sounds and movements, loss of support.
  2. From six months to a year - fear of changing clothes, changing what is familiar, unfamiliar people, heights.
  3. From one to two years - fear of doctors, injuries, separation from parents.
  4. From two to three years - fear of the dark, parental rejection, animals, loneliness, nightmares.
  5. From three to seven years - fear of insects, water, heights, fairy-tale characters, misfortunes, disasters, fires, school.
  6. School period - fear of sharp sounds, death, physical violence, loss of loved ones. Along with this, social fears arise that persist in the future (fear of being late, not being able to complete a task, of being punished). If you don’t work through these fears, then there will be a fear of not living up to expectations, of looking stupid; relationship problems.

Age-related fears are normative if the child does not drop out of life (sociable, open). They will pass on their own. But if a child avoids communication, is constantly afraid and worried, then professional correction is needed.

Children's fears can be imitative or personal in nature. In the first case – copying someone’s behavior, in the second – your emotions under the influence of difficult situations.

In addition, fears can be short-term (up to 20 minutes), fleeting (go away after a conversation), or prolonged (up to 2 months, even with correctional work).

Help from a psychiatrist

A psychiatrist can conduct a private practice and see patients for a fee. A psychiatrist can prescribe special medications on an outpatient basis that help relieve anxiety and dampen feelings of fear, as well as correct the condition in the longer term.

In addition to doctors in private practice, a good option may be to go to a clinic where psychiatrists also work, and in addition to the outpatient clinic, inpatient treatment is also possible for a more effective selection of medications. The best option for treating a phobia may be:

  • neurosis clinic;
  • clinic for the treatment of depression and phobias;
  • borderline clinic.

Also in such institutions, psychotherapy, group or individual, art therapy and other forms of non-drug treatment are usually possible.

Children's fears: what to do?

You can fight children's fears with the help of fairy tale therapy. As part of this, I recommend that you read the book by R. M. Tkach “Fairytale Therapy for Children’s Problems.” In the work you can find not only a description of the method, but also the material (plots) of the fairy tales themselves.

In addition, you need to follow a number of general recommendations:

  1. Don't shame your child for his fears, but ask about them. For example, what he saw, what it looked like, why it came.
  2. Accept your child's fear and tell a real or fictional story of personal fear and overcoming it.
  3. Do not lock your child in a dark room for punishment, do not scare him with Baba Yaga or the “evil uncle” who will take him away. This is a direct path to neuroses and fears.
  4. Ask what your child is watching or reading. Discuss this together.
  5. To overcome specific fears, use fairy tale therapy or ridiculing fears.

Ridiculing involves visualizing fear (on a piece of paper) and then adding elements that are funny (for a child).

In addition, I would like to recommend another book where you can find material on children’s fears and overcoming them: O. V. Anisimovich “Helping parents in raising a child. Conversations with a psychologist."

I also recommend the book by S. V. Bedredinova and A. I. Tashcheva “Prevention and correction of fears: a textbook.” It presents many practical options for therapy with children to overcome fears. I don’t think it makes sense to list the methods here. The manual describes doll therapy, art therapy, a correction program, and much more (with indications and contraindications for each method, features of implementation). The phenomenon of children's fears themselves is also described.

Remember positive experiences

Using this method, you can eliminate minor recurring fears that regularly plague you. For example, the possibility of making a negative impression when giving a presentation in public is frightening. And if past experience shows that the worries were in vain, then is it worth wasting time on such negative emotions? It is better to take care of a worthy performance by carefully preparing for it.

Be prepared for anything, but don't make a problem out of it. Even if your performance was not up to par this time, take this as an opportunity for further self-development.

Results and literature on the topic

Fear is the echo of the animal in man, the primitive. Previously, this emotion was justified even if it was constant. But in the modern world this prevents a person from living. The situation gets even worse if fear is intertwined with anxiety, shame, guilt and other emotions.

The danger of fear is not far-fetched. It not only creates psychological discomfort, but also destroys the body on a physical level. In part, the phrase “Whoever is afraid of something will happen to him” is true. And we are not talking about the highest powers, attracting misfortunes and illnesses. The point is that, when experiencing fear, our body radically changes its functioning: an excess of hormones arises (with prolonged excessive influence they provoke imbalance and intoxication, destruction of organs), the digestive and reproductive systems fade into the background, the activity of the cardiovascular system gains momentum . A person can really get sick.

You need to get rid of fear (let me remind you, false fear). But only childhood fears can go away on their own. Adults will have to consciously break themselves, rebuild their belief system, challenge themselves constantly, and draw up an action plan.

I recommend reading another book: D. T. Mangan “The Secret of an Easy Life: How to Live Without Problems.” The author reveals his own concept, according to which we are a complex mechanism whose systems require passwords to enable or disable them. The book provides practical recommendations for restructuring your thinking, including getting rid of fears. To solve each problem, Mangan suggests using a unique password. These are the words to say in difficult situations. And from them, supposedly, the situation will turn in your favor. I haven’t tried this approach myself, so I can’t say anything good or bad. But in my opinion, the idea of ​​the concept itself is interesting.

In the fight against fears, as in any business, the main thing is the beginning! You yourself will not notice how it will become easier to fight. Gradually it will no longer be a struggle. Well, the result in the form of complete mental freedom is the highest reward. I wish you success in your fight against your inner demons!

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