Are your emotions fit? Healthy vs. unhealthy fear.

Hello FR readers!

Do you worry a lot? Feel paralyzed in front of decisions? Then maybe you need to do some “emotions workout”!

Fear serves a great purpose: to make you take action against the cause of your fear. However, there are valid and invalid reasons to feel fearful. Moreover, even when there is a valid reason, there are healthy ways to experience the emotion of fear, as well as unhealthy ones. So how fit are your fears?

In general, healthy fear:

  1. Stems from an actual danger, and vanishes as soon as the danger is gone. E.g., you may be afraid that a fast-approaching car will hit you while you cross the street, but you stop being afraid as soon as you reach the sidewalk.
  2. Requires you to take action. E.g., you start walking to the sidewalk faster.
  3. Does not make you feel ashamed. E.g., you are not ashamed to be afraid of the fast-approaching car. You know that was a valid concern, and that you needed to go faster to avoid the car.
  4. Has clear motives. E.g., you want to avoid the car so you don’t get hit.
That was close! Where do you think you were going you ##$$%@!! (credit: Alex Barth)

Contrary, unhealthy fear:

  1. Stems from an exaggerated danger and can go on forever. For instance, you may be overly afraid of getting fired.
  2. Tends to paralyze you. For instance, instead of looking proactively for another job, or trying to improve your work performance, you keep still, acting as if everything is the same.
  3. Makes you feel shameful or less of yourself. You may understand that e.g., always being fearful is “part of who you are” and “you cannot change”. You may think this is something you should hide from others, or contrary, that you should tell them to show what an unworthy, miserable person you are.
  4. Has vague motives. E.g., you are being paralyzed because you want to avoid dealing with a hard situation at work.
I am so afraid! What if she doesn't like me? (credit: M-n-M)

In short, healthy fear is simple, while unhealthy fear is complicated.

Are your fears fit? If not, how do they affect your exercise? Let me know in the comments in the box below!

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