Are You Afraid?

How much is fear a part of your life? The scientists are discovering a lot about fears and a really fine collection of their findings was put together by John E. Gibson in an article titled, “What You Should Know About Fear.”

Everyone is plagued with his share of problems – fears and anxieties. But fortunately, it seems that the older we get the fewer fears we have. Do you know what most Americans worry about?

A study was made of a cross section of middle-class Americans. It was conducted by the Illinois Institute of Technology and showed the most common fear to be anxiety over financial matters. Save your money and you can eliminate this one.

Other chief fears included anxiety about health, concern over making the right impression on business and social contacts, worries over marriage problems, fear of personal inadequacy, and lack of confidence.

It was also found that fear is highly contagious. At the University of California, 22 psychiatrists participated in a study which showed fear to be more contagious than most people suspect. Just being near a fear-ridden person can cause you to be vaguely fearful without even knowing why.

It has also been established that mild anxiety can hamper your ability to think and reason clearly. And extreme fear can paralyze your thinking processes completely. It can literally, as the saying rightly goes, “scare the wits out of you.”

University of California researches have reported that women are more fearful than men. They not only have more fears, phobias, and anxieties, but they are more profoundly affected by them than men are.

But a man’s fears and anxieties follow a definite trend according to his age. From age 25 to 30, Mr. Gibson reports, man’s chief anxiety concerns his impressions on others. In his early 30’s most of his worries arise out of conflicts and/or temptations involving sexual morality. Between 33 and 35, worries over philosophical or spiritual convictions become most pronounced. In his middle 30’s, financial fears take the center of his fear stage. As he approaches his 40’s, his anxieties shift their focus to his health, his job, and domestic difficulties. After his mid-40’s, his fears tend to resolve themselves, with no more pronounced upswings. Maybe this is why they say, “Life begins at Forty”.

And fears and anxieties make a person more subject to physical pain. Tests show that up to 75% of the pain which is felt when a person is tense and jittery, vanishes entirely when he relaxes.

And here’s a good one! Do you think that if you were a psychologist, you would be better able to cope with your fears? The odds are you wouldn’t. Tests at the Illinois Institute of Technology comparing psychologists and businessmen, showed that the psychologists worried just as much about their jobs and marital difficulties and more about money. They have also proved that the more honest and sincere you are, the less subject you are to fears and anxieties. People who are frank, open and sincere definitely have fewer fears. And people who score highest on mental tests tend to have the fewest fears.

But what do you do with fears once you’ve got them? The one method researches at the University of California Medical School found most effective, is simple. Don’t try to conceal your fears; don’t keep them secret. Fears and phobias multiply and magnify when you keep them bottled up. Get them off your chest.

Bertrand Russel claims that: “Our instinctive emotions are those that we have inherited from a much more dangerous world, and contain, therefore, a larger portion of fear than they should.”

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