What makes us scared of some things and not of others?

I’m confident. I share my experiences with you people. Everyone I know has access to my blog and my inner deepest thoughts. I grab opportunities with both hands. I’m writing a book without even contemplating if it might fail, I work and have meetings with new people every week and I’ve recently started an online PR internship from a magazine when I have all these other issues going on in my life.

So why am I scared to walk out of my front door? The most simple and least scary thing on that list.

What in our brains determines a threat and what determines safety?

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45 thoughts on “What makes us scared of some things and not of others?

  1. everywordyousay says:

    I have anxiety too, and I ask myself this all the time. How frustrating is it to be able to share your most personal secrets to hundreds of people, but meeting with friends makes us physically sick? I don’t know why it happens. But I think it’s because deep down we know we shouldn’t be afraid, and we know we’re acting illogically and I think we start worrying because we couldn’t be worrying. Maybe the easy things become hard because we think they should be easy, and we try to be perfect when we’re not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lizziecarver says:

    Lauren – you are confident in your own abilities and that is fantastic and quite right. Understanding why it’s hard to be in a situation where your hands aren’t on the steering wheel may help unlock the cycle of fear and avoidance. Baby steps. Lx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. bazzabaz says:

    I think it’s about comfort zones. The things you’re comfortable with like writing blogs and books are comfort zones… writing is an isolated process – nobody else is involved whilst you’re doing it. You’re on your own. However, outside the front door is a world full of people, problems and stress.

    I have the same issue and that’s how I see it. Locked in at home, I’m safe. Nobody can harm or hurt me. The moment I step outside, I’m open and vulnerable… and that’s where damage is caused.

    Liked by 1 person

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      I have no problems with people though that’s what’s strange. I can meet new people fairly confidently for business meetings or whatever else. It’s very strange! But it is still true with comfort zones. Mine are just a bit warped!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. prideinmadness says:

    I am have been reading a book (off and on) that talks about how traumatic memories are made. Something happened that created a memory that now tells your body, “No! Don’t go outside.” Some of us also seem to be hyperaware of risks (hence anxiety) and our body doesn’t know the difference between bog stressors and little stressors. Stress is stress in our body. The good thing is that we can rewire our brain and control our next steps after the initial stressor. That’s when skills come in!

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  5. celtics345 says:

    I relate I can write 9 stories in a day yet I find it difficult to make myself a sandwich for lunch or take a shower sometimes. With my sandwich all I have to do is put pb and jelly on it yet its hard for me to do it/

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  6. Heidi says:

    I don’t have an answer, but I totally understand. I often ask myself similar questions…Like why can I go to work and be confident and in control…but then I can’t go in the grocery store without intense anxiety and sometimes panic attacks? The incongruity is so frustrating!!

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  7. anantakasainlife says:

    When you feel an anxious thought coming, try this: watch it but don’t judge it. Allow it to be there. This way, you are cutting the link between your thought and emotion. You free yourself from your mind and are able to feel the space within you. Out of this awareness comes the solution or right action. Namaste.

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  8. juliawinnacker says:

    Anxiety is a beast that does what it wants without caring about one’s feelings/wishes etc. This is not really an answer, I’m sorry, and I don’t want to say I know how you feel because I don’t. (I just know how it feels like to be afraid of men)
    Seems like a lot of positive things are happening in your life. I’m really happy for you! 🙂 and I hope they give you the strength to pass by that damn beast and walk out the door. I cross fingers for you and send you some positive energy this way 😉

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  9. Kriswasp says:

    I have a fear of failure, which I’ve nurtured from a young age. Now I’ve turned 30 I’m trying my best to start taking opportunities, looking at ways I can help myself. This is one way, bizarrely, finally putting my writing out into the public domain, if for no other reason than it is my outlet.
    On a slightly less cerebral note regarding yourself, I can’t imagine that anyone wouldn’t want to see you walk past them on the street.
    I know that won’t help much, but take the compliment anyway!

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  10. tracihalpin says:

    I’ll tell you what my shrink says. He reminds me that my brain works differently compared to a normal brain. So it’s not our fault. I know what you mean…you are accomished yet you have these fears. I get it. I too feel confident and strong but it can scare me to ask for something. The more we do it, the better we will feel.

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  11. The Parent and Pupil Coach says:

    What I can offer, if it’s any value to you, is that it’s often what it means to you. The meaning you’re giving to these situations creates the emotion, the anxiety, the stress. In the same way, for some, that to describe their perfect holiday they’d feel happiness and relaxation. You imagine the situation and the thoughts cascade in of danger, anxiety or stress (or whatever combination of emotions you feel).
    So, when you think of ‘x’ it means ‘y’ for you. ‘X’ can be seeing a friend, remembering a happy time, or seeing yourself walking down the street. They all mean something to you, and so the brain goes off and makes the chemical response to match that meaning.
    As has been suggested, this is about re-wiring, and certainly the ideas of just noticing, being aware, of this sequence is a great start.
    I hope this helps a little. It’s challenging to reduce a rather large idea and make it accessible to all, so please forgive any big generalisations on my part.

    I’m no expert but I have had clients who had been on medication for panic attacks, anxiety, stress who’ve seen massive improvement in their quality of life.

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  12. The Parent and Pupil Coach says:

    Lauren, my apologies. I had to intention to imply that you should consider medication. Clearly I poorly worded a sentence. I am not an advocate of medication. I have had clients who had been on medication but the medication hadn’t helped. I’ve then worked with them and they’ve then seen greater improvements through techniques and exercises I’ve introduced them to.
    Hope I’ve been a little clearer.

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  13. Rebecca says:

    Fear is strange, indeed. When I was in preschool, I dreaded going. Then, one night for a Christmas pageant, the soloist was sick and they needed someone to sing the song. The teacher asked if anyone knew it. I raised my hand, got on stage, and performed my little heart out –with no fear at all! My parents about fell out of their chairs when they saw me! To this day, I don’t know why I wasn’t afraid to do it! It ‘s great that you have many things in your life that you are able to do with ease and be successful at! Continue to dwell on those and celebrate them! Hugs!

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  14. jesusridesthebus says:

    I’m a salesman and the majority of my time is spent acting super confident whilst pitching products to clients. I keep this face on for nine hours a day.

    The rest of the time I’ll be at home. In joggers. Slouched out. I don’t want to do anything. I feel like I can’t. It’s a horrible feeling to have.

    I don’t know how the little things end up becoming the most fearful.

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  15. unsaid3401 says:

    Excellent question. The things that I’m most afraid of are things with little-to-no chance of actually harming me, and even though I KNOW that, I’m still paralyzed by them. I’m slowly working on talking about my fears with my therapist, and attempting some very slow exposure exercises. (For example, I am afraid of mushrooms so I started by looking at some photographs of them.) The steps you are taking to get out of the house are essentially the same process — and eventually when you build up confidence in your ability to survive being outside despite your fear, you will stop being afraid. But in the meantime be patient with yourself.

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  16. David M Zuhars says:

    In my case, I think it’s because I can centre myself in my own place and build up positive energy. The minute I go out the door, I can feel the sometimes negative energy from other people and the city pulling at my centered mind which means I have to work to maintain my mood. This takes energy so it starts making me feel tired. I use meditation techniques to keep my energy elevated when I go out. This drop in my energy level can come across as fear but I know that when I raise my energy again, the feeling of fear goes away.

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  17. thesilentprotagonist says:

    “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.”

    Maybe it’s possible some of us are afraid of having that freedom, which in turn causes the anxiety itself; the idea that the brain is afraid of its own potential is certainly an interesting one. Why do I fear life more than death? I couldn’t tell you honestly.

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  18. infiniteelegance says:

    The things you aren’t afraid of seem harmless in a way. You know how to handle the situations that might happen and they won’t threaten your life. Walking out of the house, however, is a different story. Anything can happen. Situations you cannot deal with can negatively impact you. So I think on some level it is why you are afraid to walk out of the house while you can jump into other things that could be scary for somebody else without thinking twice about it.

    I have my own fears that I ask myself why I’m afraid of these things, but no matter how hard I work to try to not be afraid of them I am still afraid of them. With deep introspection I could probably figure out the “why” of the situation but how to fix it is a completely different animal.

    Best wishes to you. Fear is not easy to overcome.

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  19. OnceUponAMommysTime says:

    Our brains are very powerful, almost more powerful than I would like it to be that it has the ability to take over our thoughts and cause this kind of torture over the simplest things. Hope it gets better for you !

    Like

  20. The Anxious Dragon says:

    I wish I knew the answer to this one. I think for me personally, my brain overworks, thinking of all the possible scenarios that could happen if I went out, especially all the negitive ones.

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  21. iain carstairs says:

    That’s a really good question. We’re all afraid of some things – bad experiences in school left me with a fear of people watching me, for a long time! But I think we can break down fears by making new memories and reinforcing them: this is where we can use our intelligence and willpower. I got over that particular fear by performing in a band. I dreaded it at first, but as my skill increased, so did my confidence.

    Remember we’re always going to have some fears, and so we always have the opportunity to grow a little, when we feel up to it. Friendship is probably the best resource for all of this effort – when a friend believes in us, it’s easier to start to carry that belief around inside of us.

    I saw a fabulous film on Friday (it’s on NetFlix) called Maiden Voyage, about a girl named Laura Dekker who at 14 wanted to sail around the world single handed. In Holland the courts tried, as a result, to have her locked up away from her family. She fought them in court for a full year – through eight court cases. The media spat at her for all this time, saying she should be locked awya, she was a hazard to herself, a menace to others and so on – one even said they hoped she would sink.

    She won, and then she set out in her small boat, becoming the youngest person to ever sail around the globe. Now there’s a useful example for every one of us!

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  22. edennomore says:

    In many ways, I’m jealous. I have no idea what it’s like to truly be successful. I’ve always been my own limiting factor. I’m not just afraid of the outside. I’m afraid of the people. I’m afraid of the animals. I’m kind of afraid of everything.

    I don’t know how much I can offer beyond support. I know that something must have happened to react in such a way. You have to associate going out with something that’s left you scarred, and until that wound can truly heal, you’re going to struggle. I’m confident you can do it (if for no other reason than if you can, I can too!) I wish you luck in your journey!

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  23. Under the Guise of Glitter says:

    Validation, judgement. You know how you at yourself c but you know how others look at you and that’s the scary thing. I could be standing in a store just fine, and then panic. I duck my head leave a cart full of stuff and head out the door. No one knows yet what covers it. That’s why we have to advocate for ourselves to unravel the mysteries of the mind.

    Like

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