All About Fear

Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn't feel it, we couldn't protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell. Yet exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them.

Recent Posts on Fear

Welcome to "I Got a Mind to Tell You"

Want the facts about mind, brain, mental and mental disorders. Follow "I Got a Mind to Tell You."

It’s Not 'All in Your Head.' It’s in Your Brain.

Current research helps us to understand that some physical illnesses, especially those that are not easily explained, are not made up at all. They are the result of complex neuroendocrine responses due to heredity, trauma and stress. The symptoms are real. They are not all in one’s head.

What It’s Like to Live With Borderline Personality Disorder

"I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder when I was 14. Because I fear abandonment, I instinctually don’t trust anyone. I’m 23 years old, and I have yet to give my trust to anyone outside of my family."

5 Ways Relationships Get Derailed

Relationships get stuck or can't move forward because one or both partners don't feel safe. Here are 5 of the common causes and ways to make it better

Warts and All: Why We Prefer People Who Aren't Perfect

For all those who live in fear of making a mistake, take heart. According to research, making mistakes makes us more, not less, likable.

Berkeley's Harmful Pandering to Fear of Cell Phone Radiation

Berkeley has required cell phone retailers to warn shoppers of a health risk from cell phone radiation, despite overwhelming evidence that no such risk exists. Policy making pandering to fear is dangerous in and of itself

Addressing Your "Laziness"

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 30, 2015 in How To Do Life
Ostensible laziness can be caused by any of five factors, each with its own cure.

How to Stop Choking Under Pressure

By Jonathan Fader Ph.D. on July 29, 2015 in The New You
Every athlete in the world, at one time or another, has choked under pressure. Sometimes, athletes are able to bounce back. Other times, a botched play can haunt an athlete for the rest of his or her career.

Fear and Anxiety Affect the Health and Life Span of Dogs

Research shows that increased levels of certain types of fearfulness in dogs may be associated higher susceptibility to skin diseases and to reduced life span.

Addressing the Fear of Becoming Irrelevant

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 29, 2015 in How To Do Life
A worry that's common among older people.

The Trouble With "Shame On You! You Shouldn't Feel That!"

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on July 27, 2015 in Ambigamy
Some people shun negative emotions to purge them. It doesn't work.

Do You Want More Respect and Recognition for Your Work?

By Allison Carmen on July 23, 2015 in The Gift of Maybe
The desire for appreciation and respect from others often stems from a fear that things are not all right. We are afraid that we're not who we should be or we're not accomplishing enough with our lives. Yet the trap is that we can’t always get from others what we are looking for and must look within in order to find any semblance of stability and freedom.

Behavior Differences Between Smaller and Larger Dogs

Research shows that there are significant differences between the behaviors of smaller and larger dogs. Some of these differences have to do with the behaviors of their owners.

Feeling Insecure vs. Empathy

How can we learn to live with our insecurities

Fears: Staring Straight into the Dark of What Scares You

People have talked sense to me. When you’re frightened everybody tells you things that make perfect sense. That’s when you realize it isn’t sense you’re looking for.

Moral Panic: Who Benefits From Public Fear?

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on July 20, 2015 in Wicked Deeds
Moral panic is a situation in which public fears and state interventions exceed the objective threat posed by an individual or group who is/are claimed to be responsible for creating it. Central to the concept is an argument that public concern or fear over an alleged social problem is mutually beneficial to state officials, politicians, law enforcement and news media.

Can Using Xanax When Flying Cause PTSD?

“We barely made it. After we landed, they closed the airport. Thank God I had my Xanax to get me through it.” Though life-threatening events happen rarely in aviation, they happen routinely in the Xanax-fueled mind of an anxious flier. Threats to one's life, whether real or imagination-based, can lead to PTSD.

3 Reasons We Can't Make Up Our Minds

Indecisive? Some causes and tips for learning to be bold.

How Can We Face a Difficult Time With a New Perspective?

By Allison Carmen on July 16, 2015 in The Gift of Maybe
Many of us lose perspective in the situations we are dealing with in our lives, no matter what they are. A particular situation becomes all-consuming and we start to believe that we need it to work out a particular way for our lives to be okay. How can we create some separation from our problems to gain a new perspective and relieve some of our stress and worry?

Steps to Heal Sex Addiction: The Building Blocks of Intimacy

What's needed is an understanding of the building blocks of intimacy, which when worked on individually and as a whole, will gradually allow the addict to learn a new style of relating to others.

The Anxious Stories We Tell Ourselves

Stop jumping to conclusions.

Sticks, Stones and Video Games: Tools for Imaginary Play

As Andrea Bonier suggests, we need to get over our fears and let our kids play with sticks, jump in mud and climb trees. Getting over our anxieties of the digital world our kids need to learn to navigate is equally important.

The Healing Power of Pets

Abby helped Amanda through anxiety and depression. Abby is a cat.

Cortisol and Oxytocin Hardwire Fear-Based Memories

New research shows that the "stress hormone" cortisol and the "love hormone" oxytocin can create a double whammy when it comes to hardwiring anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress?

Changing the name of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) to post traumatic stress (by dropping the word "disorder") is a movement by government and military to destigmatize this condition. However, this idea misses the point. PTSD is not a normal reaction to trauma which post-traumatic stress implies, but an actual disorder with serious symptoms and disability.

Trauma and the Freeze Response: Good, Bad, or Both?

Almost everyone is familiar with the fight-flight response—your reaction to a stimulus perceived as an imminent threat to your survival. However, less well-known is the fight-flight-freeze response, which adds a crucial dimension to how you’re likely to react when the situation confronting you overwhelms your coping capacities and leaves you paralyzed in fear.

Fear Itself

In Anxiety, Joseph LeDoux, the director of the Emotional Brain Institute at New York University, draws on the latest research in neuroscience to argue that anxiety and fear are best understood not as biologically wired phenomena emerging in a pre-packaged way from brain circuits, but as experiences that have intruded into and become factors in conscious awareness.

Arousal: Must It Mean Fear and Danger?

We can feel fear when safe. We can feel no fear when in danger. It takes more than feelings to determine whether we are safe or not. A sophisticated system hosted in the pre-frontal cortex does that.

What is Your Relationship Attachment Style?

What is your relationship attachment style? Based on the works of Bartholomew and Horowitz, etc., there are four adult attachment styles: Secure, Anxious-Preoccupied, Dismissive-Avoidant, and Fearful-Avoidant. Most people have various degrees of the four attachment styles, which may change over time...

You're No. 1—Act That Way

By Hal Mathew on July 05, 2015 in Unagoraphobic
Doing things in your best interest ain't a bad thing.