Understanding Fear – Causes, Effects and Overcoming Fear Techniques and Advice


Fear is a state of mind, a state of extreme emotion originated by anxiety of imminent menace, or of anxiety of loss of dear person or thing. Generally, it is transitory and unexpected which is very natural. The history of fear is as old as that of human history that is we can say that fear takes birth with us. Right from the day we start understanding our ambience, we fear. We fear of numerous things around us, we fear of people, we fear of animals, we fear our emotions as well and there is absolutely no end to our fears.

Classifications of fear with respect our life and relationships:

However fear can also be of two types, one that is momentary and the one that is our inner fear, which is endless. Momentary fear is mere feeling of fretfulness that is usually caused by the presence of danger around us, or by assumption of it. It is a transient fear that lasts as long as we experience the danger or remain in supposition of it. Quite generally it is caused by inanimate things. We cannot actually classify it to be a fear rather we can call it to be a fright. It may be caused due to lack of consciousness or due to the feeling of being weak in front of someone. In fact panic can also be categorized in the same category. Panic is usually an unexpected frenetic fear which is unjustified in most aspects. Quite generally, it is stronger than fright as to impede the analytical thinking of the subject. Many times several people experience it together that is, in a group.

Another category of fear is one that is to an extent constant and causes behavioral changes in the one experiencing it. Often such fear is groundless and roots somewhere within the subject, that is the one experiencing it. This is in fact the inner fear of the person and it reflects the weak inner strength of that person. Such fear is the spin-off of recognition. It comes along with us on this earth. This is the fear of unknown that is there is no real cause of this fear still it persists to destroy the ease of the person. We all love our near and dear ones. But, with this love comes the fear, because we love them we fear to lose we start imagining our life without them and wondering our life would be a torment without them. And the more we think about it, the more our fear deepens. And this is not the end to our love comes the fear of failure, we fear becoming a failure in front of them. We love them and we wish to fulfill their expectations and we work hard for that. But deep inside we fear what if our hard work did not bore fruits and we start fearing our failure.

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Also as a byproduct comes the fear of not coming up to their standards or not matching up to them. This specially the case when a couple works in the same field. We wish to be successful, as successful as our partner. This is because we fear that if we fail to do so then we may lose the one whom we love. We set a standard for us not according to our competencies but as per our partner’s competencies without realizing that by doing so we are harming our competencies. There is no end to human fears, the more we think the more we fear.

Fear v/s anxiety:

As per the dictionary, fear is something that is realistic in nature and anxiety is just s state of mind where we assume several happenings and we fear. This can be explained better with an example. Say you passing by a street late at night and you start assuming that someone is following or that someone would pop up from a nearby bush and would loot you then you being anxious. On the other hand if actually one of two things happens that is, say someone pops up from the bush and asks for all your belongings on the edge of a knife then you fear. We can say that anxiety is basically groundless and is a consequence of our thinking of possible futuristic dangers. While fear has a perfect ground and is a consequence of present situation. With this respect we can say that among our two classifications to an extent, the former one is fear while the later one is anxiety. This however, is purely in dictionary terms. If we talk spiritually, our classification of fear places the later one in the category of inner fear. That is the fear that originates from the thoughts of person and is largely a consequence of past experiences.

Causes of fear:

Fear arises from the lack of awareness. We fear because we are not aware of our ambience, of people around us, of future, of this world, and of everything around us. Our conscience is trapped in the clutches of materialism and of worldly emotions still it is ignorant and so it starts making suppositions. Is supposes numerous things, about everything around us, for every person whom we know or whom we love. These suppositions cause fear. The more we suppose the more we fear because we only imagine. And we imagine because our empty mind. Our mind is empty when we come to this world but we fill it our thoughts. These are the thoughts about the things and people around us and our suppositions about them.

Humans are trapped in the clutches and shackles of desires. Desires are endless. With the fulfillment of one desire arises another one and this goes on. And with desires comes the fear. If you love someone you desire to keep that person with you always. But we know that change in the nature of life. And this causes fear within us, fear of losing that dear one. We know that the person is with us because he/ she have rejected the company off others. However we also are unable to deny the fact that the way he/ she denied the company of others for you so can he/ she deny your company some day and this creates fear within us. There is no end to our desires and so is the case with our fear because fear arises from the desires. If there were no desires there can be no fear. The root cause of fear is materialism. We fear of bankruptcy, we fear of being alone, we fear of being rejected, we fear of change and we fear of death. These worldly magnetisms entice man keep him away of getting freed.

Disadvantages of fear:

Fear is the biggest enemy of us. It impedes our growth. We can never grow until we face our fears and learn to combat them. In fact many of the problems exist in our life only because we fear. Our suppositions make us so much unstable and at times wild that we fail to face the reality and accept it.  We tend to live in our castle of illusions and never want to come out of it.

Once upon a time, a samurai happened to go to an island with his wife. While on their way, in the middle of the sea, a storm came. The storm was very dangerous and their boat was too small and they carried with them no life saving tools. The wife was too scared started to panic. She looked all around her and prayed to God to save their lives. When she turned to her husband she was surprised to see him sitting calmly. She asked her husband if he was not scared by this storm. His husband quickly took his sword out of the sheath and put it near the throat of his wife. His wife looked at him in amaze and began laughing. When asked upon whether she was not scared by the sword, she replied she was not scared because she trusted the hands in which it was held. Then sumo replied quite similarly I am not scared by this storm because I trust is in the hands of his God.

Sadly we lack this faith in our relationships and spoil them with our hands. When there is fear there cannot be trust and when there is not trust the relationship cannot survive for long. We wish to hold back everything for ourselves and in this race of ourselves we forget other. In fact fear is all about others. It starts from others and leave us alone in the end. We focus on others at places we should focus on ourselves and fear of them. We focus on us when we should focus on others and we lose them. In fact there is no need to be confused where to focus and where not to, just be the way you are and everything will be at place automatically.

Combating fear:

Fear is pessimism because it keeps faith away from us. It has to be understood in depth in order to remove it. Have you ever wondered what darkness is? A simple answer would when nothing is visible it is said to be darkness. But if think upon a little more then you will understand that darkness is nothing but non existence of light. Darkness is an illusion because it only appears to be present but actually it is absence. Similar is the case with fear. It appears to be presence of fear but in actuality it is absence of faith. If we take away faith, we fear. But we cannot take away fear because it is only an illusion we can only deal with our faith and not fear. We try to overcome our fear, we try to combat it and defend it. But we cannot however hard we try because we cannot defeat anything which does not exist. We try and we try but we fail and we take fear to be supremacy and ourselves to be weak. But in actuality, it is the fear that is weak.

The best way to deal with your fear is not to fight with it but to increase your faith. Meditation can work wonders to help increase your faith by increasing your inner strength. If you have ever noticed when you fear your pulse rate increases. Therefore try some exercises to calm yourself whenever you face fear. Breathing exercise is the best way to bring back your pulse rate and breathe to normal. The best part of it is that it can be done any place, any time. But it is especially beneficial if practiced early morning for a permanent and long lasting effect. Light physical exercises are also advised that increase focus and courage. For this try the candle exercise. Light a candle in front of you and concentrate upon it for few minutes. After that close your eyes and watch that flame diffusing within you. Place all your fears in it and let it diffuse along with the flame. Some relaxation exercises may also help.

When things go wrong:

You will experience fear at every phase of your life and sometimes you will find it to be so powerful that you get drowned along with it. At times of distress remember one thing, life is not stable, neither happiness nor sadness is. Time changes and it is important that man changes with time. However lost things can be fixed at right places with firm determination. And this firm determination can only be gained by defending your all fears. According to Osho, “Fearlessness is the total presence of fear,
with the courage to face it”. Try live up to the experience of fear to face it with courage and then you will realize that you are free. You do not have to practice any exercise for that neither do we have any shortcut for that. It can only be achieved with faith. And once you have regained you lost faith you become free.


Do not restrain fear, face it and analyze its depth. Keep doing that until you reach the centre of your heart, that which is untouched. When you analyze your fears you will be able to rise above it. Ever noticed that the centre of a cyclone is always unaffected by its speed, by its velocity or its direction or anything; because it is the untouched point and you have to reach that point. Once you are able to do so, no storm can affect you.





1 Comment
  1. netismila7 December 7th, 2022

    Unfortunately, fear haunts me constantly and I do not know how to deal with it.

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