How to Steer Clear from Fear


by John Vo | Thursday, Feb 17, 2022

The fear of the dark is prevalent in everyone’s childhood. In my mind, a foot hanging off the edge of my mattress at the break of the night meant a way for the boogieman to snatch me from my bed. Irrational as it may be, it was an experience that felt all too real. This is common in experiences of anxiety; a fear not necessarily of what happens now, but of what can go haywire in the future. Ultimately, there are two ways to go about handling these emotions: either succumb to it or overcome it. Fear and anxiety can be scary experiences, but through rationalization, keeping healthy habits, and knowing who to go to for help, the two can have a much smaller presence than one may think.

Fear is a system the body uses to protect and ensure one's safety. It heightens senses and allows for a greater awareness of one’s surroundings. However, too much of the fear hormones adrenaline and cortisol can actually give an opposite effect and render one paralyzed or too in tune with their senses. Fear envelops us and becomes a bane rather than a boon. Another factor that plays a role in these emotions is anxiety.  Anxiety could be described as a fear of possibility. Since so much happens in life, and so much will, anticipation of the future can lead to uneasy feelings. It can become a justification to be afraid that things may not end up in your control or in a way that can be expected. This is where anxiety can creep in and swamp the mind.

These emotions have distinctive physical and mental symptoms that, despite being easily identifiable, do not help to stop the feelings, but  affect us mentally so that it is very difficult to get out of the trapped mindset. Your heart starts racing and your breath quickens and becomes shallower. Your entire body feels inefficient and clumsy. It's hard to concentrate and sometimes you can not help but feel like it is hard to move, or your appetite is not what it once was. Your mouth is dry and suddenly it feels both hot and cold at the same time. These are some physical manifestations of fear and anxiety, and it can be terrifying. The important part to remember is that the physical representations of these emotions are tangible and solvable. 

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether or not to overcome such drastic feelings. A very distinguishable and smart way to go about it is to rationalize the situation and keep task-focused. Analyze the data put in front of you–where you are, what you are doing, and what is happening. Having a grasp on reality makes whatever gives you these emotions of fear more manageable and less other-worldly. It is here when you then ask what comes next and what you can do now? Focus not on what you cannot control, but what you can control. Another way of dispelling fear and anxiety is to maintain  daily activities in order to reduce the opportunity for these emotions to even come to  mind. This includes exercising, eating healthy, and recognizing when to give yourself a break. Sometimes these simple efforts are actually the events in life that bring a sense of self. Not only does it promote self-care, but it also discourages putting matters that may not be associated with us over ourselves. It is to realize that prioritizing yourself  keeps fear and anxiety in check. Finally, if fighting these feelings alone is too intimidating or seeming hopeless, then another solution can come into play: getting help from outside resources. This can mean therapy or support groups. It is essential to know that it is always okay to reach out and believe someone will reciprocate and take your hand. 

In conclusion, fear and anxiety can be overwhelming, and in the heat of the moment, it can feel meaningless trying to fight against it. In reality, by knowing what we can do to overcome these emotions, like being task-focused, keeping healthy habits, and to know there is always help, we have a plethora of ways to deal with the demons that prey on our supposed “weakness.”