Recently, I learned how fear affects our mental health. Okay, so maybe this wasn’t a recent finding, but let me share what I did learn just this month.
Babies are born with two fears: the fear of being dropped and the fear of loud noises.
Did you know that? The only engrained fears that we start out with are loud noises and being dropped.
I actually think that this ‘being dropped’ feeling is different from the fear of falling.
For example, a baby might crawl around until he reaches the top of a set of stairs, be curious and start crawling down – without actually knowing how to go, he’d fall.
If he had the fear of falling prior to that moment, he’d not attempt the stairs.
The only fear a baby has, apart from loud noises, is that of being dropped. This means that when held, he has a fear of being let go.
Isn’t that crazy?
I mean naturally, I get it. You’re fragile and have no control and you’re literally putting your life into someone’s hands, so the fear of being dropped is a natural fear.
But to be born with it? To already know that that should be something to fear?
At birth, those are the only two fears we have. That’s it. Two fears. We acquire everything else.
Why are we so afraid of EVERYTHING?
Let me share what else I learned about the brain and fear.
How Fear Affects Our Mental Health By Association
There is no difference between the fear you have when you see a grizzly bear, and the fear you have of social gatherings or public speaking.
How is that possible?
Apparently it’s a chemical thing. The brain produces the same hormones in both situations.
It’s a survival instinct – fight or flight.
Except I don’t understand how, when, or why we developed this reaction to social settings. I’d still like to learn about this.
I doubt back in hunter/gatherer days there was a need for public speaking, so why did our brains evolve to react the same way?
How has this fear affected our mental health? That’s the big question, isn’t it?
What if we could make a speech in front of a large audience without fear?
Imagine being able to hold a meeting at work without those nerves. Not just that, but imagine leading up to that meeting, not having all that anxiety.
For those of us that suffer from anxiety, we walk around like there are grizzly bears around every corner, waiting for us to stumble onto their paths.
We’re afraid that we will be attacked by bears. That’s how fear affects our mental health.
Now, most of us don’t actually think there are bears waiting to eat us, but our brains are producing the same chemicals that they would if there were bears.
That saying “it’s all in your head” – well, yeah, but your brain controls everything you do, and everything you fear.
We were only born with two fears; we acquired the rest. For those of us who suffer anxiety, we fear just about everything.
We continue to gain new fears each and every day.
It’s like our brains are in constant fight or flight mode. Most of us are just prepared to run because the fight is gone.
For those who don’t suffer from anxiety disorders, please try to understand what it’s like before saying, “it’s all in your head.”
Think of the bears. Think of those chemicals and hormones being produced to protect you…
All. The. Time.