Among all negative emotions, fear is the most dreaded enemy of the living beings. Interesting feature is that more evolved species experience it more intensely and in that context humans being the most evolved, intelligent and resourceful among species are the most vulnerable too. Fear is usually induced by a threat perception impacting brain and organ function causing behavioral responses like freezing or hiding or running away from the scene.
Some of the more common fears are fear from spirits and ghosts, evil powers, thieves and robbers, lizards, snakes, spiders, rats, cockroaches, height, depth, tunnel, water, fire, closed spaces, darkness, bridges, sharp objects, social rejection, examinations, failure in interview or examination, public speaking, death, loss of a close relative, …and the list is countless.
In social arena, one of the most common fears among human beings is the fear of public speaking. While one may have excellent knowledge and understanding of the subject, he or she may excel in indoor meetings but the same person is found to be giving dismal performance when required to speak in a public gathering in an open forum. Usually the person loses confidence and fear dominates in the form of doubt if he or she is spelling right or wrong while speaking and this fear spoils the person’s speech. Most people are too scared of death. They fear own death, fear death of a close relative, fear of the unknown after death, and even fear of the slow or painful death.
Fear could be rational on account of some real threat but in many cases it is irrational too due to an imaginary or unsubstantiated cause. The most common being the fear of unknown due to which they might avoid a path, are fearful of opening a box, avoid certain act lest misfortune or curse will fall on them or avoid touching objects with a feeling of uncleanliness, and so on so forth. The later cases fall under the category of phobia which in the worst form leads to various obsessive compulsive disorders and neurotic problems. Such situations cannot be remedied without expert advice and medical consultation.
In day to day social life, fear is also acquired by watching or experiencing certain frightful and traumatic incident. For example, if a boy accidentally falls into deep water and he does not swimming, he struggles for life before someone rescues him to safety. Such a boy is likely to develop fear from water which is called aqua-phobia. Similarly fear from heights is called acrophobia and fear of closed space is called claustrophobia.
When come across a fearful situation, people have a natural tendency to confront it or flee to avoid it. We usually call it as the fight-or-flight response. According to threat perception and own strength to deal with it, if the person is in a position to face it, he or she tries to fight it out else tries to run away from the scene to avoid the situation or save life. In extreme cases, where fear comes as horror or terror, it leads to a freeze response or paralysis of the individual jeopardizing survival.
When encountered with an imminent danger or threat perception, people are ceased with sometimes rational but very often irrational fear which is perhaps worst enemy because it suppresses or takes away their logical and rational thinking leaving weak and vulnerable. In such situations, the need of time is to keep cool, endure it and get rid of irrational insecurities while handling the real threat or danger. Irrational fear is perhaps the worst enemy which one needs to endure and ward off. For illustration, a large number of deaths on account of snake bite are due to shock out of fear and consequent heart failure rather than deadly venom.
Therefore, it is of vital importance that a person tries to remain calm and cool when threatened with any kind of danger or insecurity (fear). This allows him a rational and logical application of mind which increases chances for finding ways to fight or escape from difficult situations, including life threatening ones and thus enhancing chances of survival.