React excessively out of fear

Fear of animals is a mechanism designed to protect us from predators, preparing them to fight or flee. But overreacting out of fear – that is, paralyzing or losing control – is a mechanism that benefits the predator.

In humans, things are not particularly different. When we feel threatened by danger, a series of chemical, organic, and behavioral reactions kick in, which we collectively call fear.

This is a response designed to resolve a specific situation and put us out of danger. In fact, it is a healthy reaction which has a paradoxical character in our society. On the one hand, we have suffered from very high levels of fear, but on the other hand, we do not find the danger that we have to flee or with which to struggle, which is experienced as a continuous and contradictory experience of anguish.

    The problem of overreacting and surrendering to fear and anxiety

    The chronification of anxiety and fear of fear, of trying to avoid it anyway, makes us more and more prone to overreact.. To undergo the dramatic experience of panic, which consists of a series of thoughts and chemical reactions that affect the organs leading to disorganization of behavior, incompatible with self-protection, which leaves the subject at the mercy of his enemy, making a series of actions to defend themselves.

    Panic from a psychological point of view involves letting go of the body and experiencing helplessness to perform any protective action or attack.

    There are many reasons for a person to panic in the face of a situation. From the true nature of the danger which is indeed immense and inaccessible, to the mistaken perception of fragility or of its ability to defend itself.

    Panic and chronic anxiety are often associated with unnecessary ritualistic behaviors, such as compulsion or magical thinking, delusions and hallucinations, disorganizing behavior, and the person as a social being.

    But panic is at the same time a good Trojan horse for any virus and therefore something that makes us more vulnerable to COVID-19 and many other viruses that we normally carry, like herpes, for example. And as many others as others can transmit to us, even if we hardly notice them all.

    Taming fear and avoiding panic is a Herculean task. It cannot be solved with a trick or a magic trick, it resides in that area of ​​the brain called the amygdala, which is in charge of a person’s emotional life and is inseparable from it. At most, what everyone could try to integrate into their daily life to improve their ability to take care of themselves would be:

    • Increase self-control in each situation.
    • Improve the feeling of self-efficacy.
    • Increase the freedom to make decisions.
    • Improve the ability to take small risks and be successful.
    • Increases resistance capacity.
    • Increase knowledge about the problem and play an active role in finding solutions.
    • Have support and action groups.
    • Put the notion of fear back in its place, assuming it is designed to trigger escape and struggle responses.

    We must remember that in the animal world, panic is, in many cases, the main strategy of a hunter who seeks to minimize his efforts and risks.

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