“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown” – H.P. Lovecraft
Lovecraft’s not wrong here. When it comes to fear, everyone is afraid of something, real or imagined. It can be anything from death to an unexpected BANG! to a butterfly. (Lepidopterophobia – yep, it’s a real thing!) No matter what someone is afraid of, one question remains: Do we bring fear on ourselves?
Picture this: you’re laying in bed and you hear a sound. Is it just the house settling? Or is it a ghost? A demon? Ax murderer, zombie, serial killer, vampire… a CLOWN? Relax… it was just the cat coming up the stairs. The human mind is so creative that it can create a sense of impending doom out of an ordinary sound. But most times, the truth is, there’s nothing there.
Granted, the state of the world can make it feel like there’s death and destruction around every corner. And unfortunately, a few minutes online can convince anyone that it’s the end of days. It’s when we begin to dwell on things that it gets dicey, and potentially unhealthy. I’ve done it myself. Even the most logical and rational person can be sent off the fear-deep-end given the right circumstances. Our minds do love playing tricks on us, especially when we’re alone.
Although it can send us spiraling, fear is generally a healthy emotion to have. It makes us careful and can keep us safe. General rules of thumb such as looking both ways before crossing any street, always being aware of your surroundings, and not taking candy from strangers (which I know I totally would if it was the right candy!) aren’t there to make us too terrified to leave the house — they’re there to keep us alive!
Did you know that the brain’s first response to fear is to shut down as the rest of you gets ready to high tail it out of there? Which could be a problem if you’re looking for the best way to escape the masked guy with the machete (hint: going into the attic or the basement is NOT an ideal solution). You need to keep your wits about you folks! Take some deep breaths and think a minute. It could help control the panic that causes you to make a bad decision when you’re afraid. And hopefully help you find the nearest exit instead of the attic stairs! (here’s a link to a more technical explanation: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/crisis-center/200807/the-anatomy-fear
What’s your opinion? Is the world just a scary place or do we create fear on our own? Let us know what your brain does to you when things go bump in the night.