Everybody has to make decisions while feeling fear and anxiety. But the fact is, 60 percent of what people fear will never happen, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Most fears are not justified or rational. However, fear and anxiety can lead to poor decision-making.
“Fear can be paralyzing to some and actually motivating for others, just like the flight or fight response we all have when facing with danger or fear,” PSUC Mental Health Counselor and adjunct instructor Kristina Moquin said. “Chronic fear or stress can be very damaging mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually.”
There are actual physiological responses that can occur such as higher blood pressure, poor sleep, which can lead to depression, social withdrawal and anxiety, according to her.
“We don’t do so well when we are scared about things because we are focused on the fear and the anxiety instead of focusing on the problem,” PSUC psychology adjunct lecturer Kenna Laporte said.
She also referred to most of fear as “something that has not even happened yet.”
“We are not at our best because fear doesn’t allow us to have a rational response,” Laporte said. “Then people ended up with automatic thoughts, which is often negative.”
For example, she said if one student is worried about a test that he or she does not spend enough time studying, he or she will fail the test. However, acting on that energy rather than worrying may change results.
“It’s really about being able to focus on what you have to do, not worrying about what you have to do,” Laporte said.
She believes that anxiety has a negative effect on people. Fear does not move them forward, but it holds them back from success, according to Laporte.
“People always have unrealistic fear about the situation,” she said. “They overestimate the negative things, and they don’t look at the positive.”
Laporte said people often underestimate their ability to cope with fear as well. It is possible for people to modify the negative thoughts.
“Our fears and worries tend to dictate our actions in life,” junior public relation major KahMun Lee said. “We stop doing what we think are important to us.”
Lee said many decisions she has made were based solely on fear. As a result, she said she would make decisions out of her insecurity.
“I’m turning 21, and I have never ever ridden on a roller coaster before,” Lee said. “I missed out so much because of my fear.”
Being scared about some negatives that may or may not happen in the future can make people worry a lot but take little action to deal with them.
“Some people are naturally more optimistic or resilient than others,” Moquin said. “It can come easier to some than others.”
Many studies show that if people try to see the positives in situations, not just the negatives, they tend to be happier and have more fulfilling relationships.
“If we don’t have a positive view going into something, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Laporte said. “It means that it will become a negative things because we make it negative instead of focusing on the positive.”
She also recommended people should be more realistic and more proactive in any situations because fear cannot solve the problems.
Because fear cannot solve problems, she also recommended people should be more realistic and proactive in situations.
“For some people, it means they have to limit social media exposure; for some it means scheduled social or hobby time; for some it means regular exercise and eating right,” Moquin said. “Find out what makes you healthy and happy and make yourself make it a priority.”
Email Hilly Nguyen at email@example.com