Human Response to Fear


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Fear is a powerful and primitive human emotion; its role is to alert us to the presence of danger. Fear is a natural emotion and a survival mechanism. Fear can be divided into two responses:

1. BIOCHEMICAL The biochemical response is universal. This physical response is also known as the “fight or flight” response, in which your body prepares itself to either enter combat or run away. This biochemical reaction is likely an evolutionary development. It is an automatic response that is crucial to our survival.

2. EMOTIONAL The emotional response is highly individual. The emotional response to fear is highly personalized., Because fear involves some of the same chemical reactions in our brains that positive emotions like happiness and excitement do, feeling fear under certain circumstances can be seen as fun, like when you watch scary movies. Some people thrive on extreme sports and other fear-inducing thrill situations, while others have a negative reaction to the feeling of fear and will avoid fear-inducing situations. Although the physical reaction is the same, fear may be perceived as either positive or negative, depending on the person.

FEAR Fear is incredibly complex. Some fears may be a result of experiences or trauma, while others may represent a fear of something else entirely, such as a loss of control. Still, other fears may occur because they cause physical symptoms, such as being afraid of heights as you feel dizzy and sick to your stomach. Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things, also known as the fightor-flight response. Experiencing fear occasionally is a normal part of life, living with chronic fear can be both physically and emotionally debilitating. The brain is a complex organ with over 100 billion nerve cells comprised of an intricate network of communications that is the starting point of everything we sense, think, and do. Some of these communications lead to conscious though and action, while others produce autonomic responses. The fear response is almost entirely autonomic. We don’t consciously trigger it or even know what’s going on until it has run its course (https://www.Verywellmind. Com).

FEAR CONTAGION Fear contagion is an evolutionarily old phenomenon that researchers observe in many animal species. It can serve a valuable survival function. Fear contagion happens automatically and unconsciously, making it hard to really control. Once fear is triggered in a crowd there is no time or opportunity to verify the sources of terror. People must rely on each other, so the fear travels from one to the next, infecting each individual as it goes. Everyone starts running for their lives.

Studies have found that being in the presence of a calm and confident person may help overcome fear acquired through observation of others. For instance, a child terrified by a strange animal will calm down if a calm adult is present. This kind of safety modelling is especially effective when you have your eyes on someone close to you, or someone you depend on, such as a caretaker or an authority figure.

Suggestions for dealing with fear When we are under significant stress, it is harder to process details and nuances, so gather information (facts, from reliable sources) about the danger and about what is needed to keep us safe. But do not overdo it.

We do not need to know about each new case of the coronavirus or each new ominous sign for the health of the global economy. Following these events closely does nothing to make us safer or change the trajectory of the coronavirus. The problem is that this continuous flow of information devours your headspace and attention.

The most important component of putting the pandemic in perspective is balancing what we should and should not do.


Identify the source(s) of your anxiety. Refrain from shaming and blaming Do not be afraid to ask for help Do not procrastinate about being prepared for the worst – social distancing, hand hygiene. Connect, connect, connect Practice self-compassion Do not skip self-care Do not let fear and anxiety become pandemic as well. Evolution hardwired human beings to share threats and fears with others. But it also equipped us with the ability to cope with these threats together.