Brief Stay in the City of Fear

June 8, 2015

Mark Twain said, there are two types of speakers: those who are nervous and those who are liars. The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public, George Jessel. They say people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of snakes. It doesn’t seem to make sense. I mean, you don’t see someone walking through the desert, suddenly shouting, “Watch out! A podium! ~Unknown

According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy. Is this study correct or there should be further studies going on to come up with better ideas and results.

What is fear? Who create fear? Is it an internal or external factor? What causes fear? Is it bad experience? Is it bad stories people hear?  Why do people fear? Is it not possible to overcome any fear people have inside? How? Is fear normal life scenario or abnormal? Is it appropriate to have fear when fearful conditions of life face in our life? Is fear a voluntary or involuntary reaction toward an incident? Can we calculate not to have fear in our life? Can we oppress fear or remove fear?

Fear is an emotion induced by a threat perceived by living entities, which causes a change in brain and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing from traumatic events. Fear may occur in response to a specific stimulus happening in the present, or to a future situation, which is perceived as risk to health or life, status, power, security, or, in the case of humans, wealth or anything held valuable.

The fear response arises from the perception of danger leading to confrontation with or escape from/avoiding the threat (also known as the fight-or-flight response), which in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) can be a freeze response or paralysis. In humans and animals, fear is modulated by the process of cognition and learning. Thus fear is judged as rational or appropriate and irrational or inappropriate. An irrational fear is called a phobia.

In fact, fear is in most cases conditional and subjective since peoples’ fear vary as per the context and character of the social make up of individuals and societies. The type of fear and anxiety people have in developed society and the type of fear and anxiety people have in poor and growing nations cannot be similar since fear is subjective and conditional reality. Hence, the remedial factor is mainly dependent upon the type and nature of social and cultural make of society.

Humor is a way of relieving tension and finding more enjoyment in daily life. Although mental health issues are no laughing matter, humorous stories, anecdotes and puns. In this case, the type of humor that make any given person in developed country happy is a depressing aspect to the person who live in developing nations in which the type of therapeutically people have as remedy employ is important in their life on the laughter and relaxation people have that do have an impact o their day to day activities a well.

Types of Fears

Some of the most common fears are of demons and ghosts and the existence of evil powers, cockroaches, spiders, snakes, heights, water, enclosed spaces, tunnels, bridges, needles, social rejection, failure, examinations and public speaking

Fear of the unknown, Many people are scared of the “unknown. The unknown can branch out to many areas such as the hereafter, the next ten years, or even tomorrow. Fear of uncertainty and unpredictability, the stress of living in a constantly unpredictable environment can cause anxiety, other psychological problems and physical problems. People can develop fear to uncertainty. Parents tell their children not to talk to strangers in order to protect them. However, some research suggests we should not fear strangers, but be mindful of the risks that they could. Fear in animals, often laboratory studies with rats are conducted to examine the acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear responses. In 2004, researchers conditioned rats to fear a certain stimulus, through electric shock.

Fear of death, the fear of the end and its existence is in other words the fear of death. The fear of death ritualized the lives of our ancestors. These rituals were designed to reduce that fear; they helped collect the cultural ideas that we now have in the present. These rituals also helped preserve the cultural ideas. The results and methods of human existence had been changing at the same time that social formation was changing. One can say that the formation of communities happened because people lived in fear. The result of this fear forced people to unite to fight dangers together rather than fight alone.

Religions are filled with different fears that humans have had throughout many centuries. The fears aren’t just metaphysical (including the problems of life and death) but are also moral. Death is seen as a boundary to another world. That world would always be different depending on how each individual lived their lives. The origins of this intangible fear are not found in the present world. In a sense we can assume that fear was a big influence on things such as morality. This assumption, however, flies in the face of concepts such as Moral Absolutism and Moral Universalism – which would hold that our morals are rooted in either the divine or natural laws of the universe, and would not be generated by any human feeling, thought or emotion.

Manipulation, Fear may be politically and culturally manipulated to persuade citizenry of ideas which would otherwise be widely rejected or dissuade citizenry from ideas which would otherwise be wildly supported. In contexts of disasters, nation-states manage the fear not only to provide their citizens with an explanation about the event or blaming some minorities, but also to adjust their previous beliefs. The manipulation of fear is done by means of symbolic instruments as terror movies and the administration ideologies that lead to nationalism. After a disaster, the fear is re-channeled in a climate of euphoria based on patriotism. The fear and evilness are inextricably intertwined.

Mirroring fears, Fear is found in mythology and folklore, and portrayed in books and movies. The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was is a German fairy tale dealing with the topic of not knowing fear. For example, many stories include characters who fear the antagonist of the plot. One of the important characteristics of historical and mythical heroes across cultures is to be fearless in the face of big and often lethal enemies.

Is it possible to overcome fear?

 They say, there are two broad methods are used to overcome fear.


A drug treatment for fear conditioning and phobias via the amygdala is the use of glucocorticoids. In one study, glucocorticoid receptors in the central nucleus of the amygdala were disrupted in order to better understand the mechanisms of fear and fear conditioning. The glucocorticoid receptors were inhibited using lentiviral vectors containing Cre-recombinase injected into mice. Results showed that disruption of the glucocorticoid receptors prevented conditioned fear behavior. The mice were subjected to auditory cues which caused them to freeze normally. However, a reduction of freezing was observed in the mice that had inhibited glucocorticoid receptors.


Cognitive behavioral therapy has been successful in helping people overcome fear. Because fear is more complex than just forgetting or deleting memories, an active and successful approach involves people repeatedly confronting their fears. By confronting their fears in a safe manner a person can suppress the fear-triggering memory or stimulus. Known as ‘exposure therapy’, this practice can help cure up to 90% of people, with specific phobias.

What does Overcoming Fear Mean?

Do the above recommended methods do keep people to be emotionally strong and healthy? How far are such methods applicable and worked right and useful to make people overcome the fear they have inside. What do research says about emotionally strong people

Here is a post by Post published by Guy Winch Ph.D. on Jun 04, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel, entitled, what matters most is how you cope over time, The Seven Characteristics of Emotionally Strong People.

  1. Emotionally strong people are less discouraged by setbacks and disappointments.
  2. Emotionally strong people are more adaptable to change.
  3. Emotionally strong people are able to recognize and express their needs.
  4. Emotionally strong people focus on getting around a hurdle rather than on the hurdle itself.
  5. Emotionally strong people can learn from mistakes and criticism.
  6. Emotionally strong people tend to see the larger perspective in a challenging situation.
  7. Emotionally strong people are able to recover more quickly from emotional wounds such as failure or rejection.

Building Self Confidence

According to an article published on the Web magazine, entitled, Mid Tools, here is posted an interesting and useful article on Building Self-Confidence, Preparing Yourself for Success, By Caroline Smith and the Mind Tools Team.

Your level of self-confidence can show in many ways: your behavior, your body language, how you speak, what you say, and so on. Look at the following comparisons of common confident behavior with behavior associated with low self-confidence. Which thoughts or actions do you recognize in yourself and people around you?

Doing what you believe to be right, even if others mock or criticize you for it.

Being willing to take risks and go the extra mile to achieve better things.

Waiting for others to congratulate you on your accomplishments.

Accepting compliments graciously. “Thanks, I really worked hard on that prospectus. I’m pleased you recognize my efforts.”

Two main things contribute to self-confidence: self-efficacy and self-esteem.

We gain a sense of self-efficacy when we see ourselves (and others similar to ourselves) mastering skills and achieving goals that matter in those skill areas. This is the confidence that, if we learn and work hard in a particular area, we’ll succeed; and it’s this type of confidence that leads people to accept difficult challenges, and persist in the face of setbacks.

This overlaps with the idea of self-esteem, which is a more general sense that we can cope with what’s going on in our lives, and that we have a right to be happy. Partly, this comes from a feeling that the people around us approve of us, which we may or may not be able to control. However, it also comes from the sense that we are behaving virtuously, that we’re competent at what we do, and that we can compete successfully when we put our minds to it.

“This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance”. Franklin D. Roosevelt


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