Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm. It’s an emotional response induced by a perceived threat, which causes a change in brain and organ function, as well as in behavior. Fear can lead us to hide, to run away, or to freeze in our shoes. Fear may arise from a confrontation or from avoiding a threat, or it may come in the form of a discovery.
Find out it’s origins and out some cool facts while you’re at it!
1. The walnut-sized organ in our brain called amygdala, is encoded with memories of fearful experiences and takes over the brain whenever it recognizes a potential threat. Everything gets suppressed to focus on the correct fear response.
2. Fear is contagious. We don’t actually pick up the feeling but it’s chemical signals.
3. Fears can be passed down to you from your parents and grandparents, just like all your other genetic traits.
4. Fear is mostly learnt. It comes hand in hand with knowledge and experience, which is why almost everyone fears different things. We all encounter different scary moments in life, so we all come to fear different, sometimes very strange things.
5. Fear Is The Opposite Of Love. Not sounding poetic and not kidding at all. Oxytocin, the chemical your brain releases when in love, can help override learned fear. All kinds can help you become a less fearful person.
6. The bed nuclei part of the brain works as a back-up for the amygdala. If they are impaired, the bed nuclei takes over.
7. Brain chemicals called endocannabinoids belong to the same group of cannabinoids that make marijuana such a worldwide favorite. The ones the brain produces possibly exist to overwrite bad memories.
8. A study has found that fear can make a threat look worse than it really is.
9. Sleep is the unique and only state in which select fears can be eliminated.
10. If you can’t calm yourself down after the initial adrenaline rush that comes along with shock, the adrenaline and calcium keeps pouring into your heart and causes it to tremor instead of beat normally.
11. In extremely rare cases, this can cause your blood pressure to drop, cause you to slip into unconsciousness, and ultimately cause death.
12. Basic fears are connected and bond to our survival instincts.
13. Fear can distort reality, making objects and situations more intense and fearful than they actually are.
14. Facing your fears in a safe, controlled environment can help you ultimately overcome them. Sometimes you really just have to be brave!
15. Stathmin, a gene enriched in the amygdala, controls both learned and innate fear. It is responsible for what one might consider instinctive fears—heights, dangerous animals, and the unknown but also remembering fearful experiences.