All humans experience fear, whether it is fear of crime, the stock market collapsing, flying…or you can fill in the blank. Fear is a natural human emotion on a spectrum from anxiousness to terror, showing that fear can be in a matter of degrees. This emotion can be useful. For example it protected the Stone Age men and women from man-eating beasts. Today we may have little fear of man-eating beasts, but we have new things to fear – fear as it pertains to refugees and our borders, fear of the tragic loss of life to terrorists.
The world has always been a scary place and with the technological ability to know what is happening instantly, serious events now come into our lives and forces us to figure out how we feel and what we can do about such emotions. While fear can be useful in protecting us from harm, it can also be unproductive and harmful. Fear can paralyze us from moving forward.
With recent world events and the media around it, we may be experiencing many thoughts and emotions. Thoughts like “Is it safe for me to travel?”, “Is my family safe?”, or even guilt-ridden thoughts like “I shouldn’t be so stressed about my life”, or “I’m not doing enough to help”. The most important thing about fear is that we understand and acknowledge it and how it impacts our lives. We can then learn to cope with it so that it does not paralyze us.
As parents it is important that we explain such fears and be honest in our ability to do everything within our power to protect ourselves and our families. It is important to realize that fears are normal, and everyone has them. When these emotions become problematic we can seek assistance through a professional counselor. Discussing feelings can allow us to manage them in a healthy manner.
As a counselor I work with people to understand and manage fears both large and small so that they can lead normal productive lives.