There are two kinds of fear; the fear of what is righting front of us, like the fear of being run over by a car when we are crossing the road, and the fear of things that may or may not come our way in the future, like an epidemic that is roaring its ugly head on a different continent…
And while the first experience of fear is immediate and related to our ‘fight or flight’ reactions, the second experience of fear has a tendency to creep into our system slowly while at the same time fails to show us a way out. The experience of this type of fear is often accompanied with the sense that we cannot do anything about it, and therefore there is no safe place for us to go, nothing we can do on a personal level to escape impending doom.
The immediate fear is in most cases very helpful to our survival in the world we life in. As long as it doesn’t get out of hand and starts ruling our lives, it prompts an evaluation and reaction that prevents us from doing something that could put us into danger. Like just walking out into traffic. It also comes up right when it is needed and dissipates fairly quickly after that. Granted, in some cases when we have had a ‘close call’ it may take a couple of days for us to overcome that pang of fear. But as long as we celebrate the good outcome, and not keep rehashing the close call in our memories, chances are we are back to being ourselves the next day ~ feeling fine, and hopefully a little wiser as we may have learned from the situation…
The feeling of fear and the associated stress have gone from our systems.
The sense of fear of future events isn’t by any means as straightforward. It is related to the thought that says ‘that could happen to me, to us’. It is a fear that is often fed, not by the threat itself ~ be it economic, violence, an epidemic or whatever ~ but rather by what we see, hear or read about it on the news. It is presented in a way that we need to insulate ourselves from that situation, and in order to do so we need to take big, sometimes worldwide, actions. We need to guard our borders such that this thing we are afraid of cannot enter.
At the same time, we are generally told that there is nothing we can do about it on a personal level. The natural reaction then, is for the fear to linger in our systems, and for stress about this situation that is well outside of our realm of influence to keep building.
So while an immediate fear can help us to stay alive, the fear of future events doesn’t really do anything for us, except for adding stress to our already stressful lives…