How to Get Rid of Fear

Victoria Denney , Reporter

Most of us has something to be afraid about; It may be an upcoming test, and you get sweaty palms just thinking about it. (I am one of those people) heights, or social interactions.

Fear is perhaps as old as life itself-we are wired to experience some level of fear; whether it’s a little cringe when you see the slime of a moist and sticky snail. Or a fear of spiders called arachnophobia.  But humans have fear because it is a tool for survival; we might not be here today if our ancestors did not have a rational amount of fear. Fear as it turns out, is a chemical reaction that starts in the brain and spreads through the body to make alterations for the best way of defense. It starts in the brain known as the Amygdala.

This set of nuclei in the temporal lobe of the brain is committed to detecting emotional influence of the stimuli-how much something stands out to us (

For instance, the Amygdala activates whenever we see a human face with emotion. This attitude is more eye-catching with anger and fear. A threat can trigger such as a predator, triggers a fear response in the Amygdala, which can motivate motor functions involved with fight or flight. This is also triggers the release of stress hormones and sympathetic nervous system. The brain becomes hyper alert, pupils dilate. The bronchi dilate, and breathing accelerates. Blood pressure and heart rate heighten. And organs not so important like the gastrointestinal system, slow down.  

And then there’s the hippo-campus-funny word right?  This is closely connected to the Amygdala. The Hippocampus and prefrontal cortex help the brain decipher and feel a threat. According to Dr. Gregory Burns, a neuroscience at Emory University, says that fear turns off exploratory and the risk-taking functions of your brain, so you’re only able to act defensively, preventing you from making smarter decisions.  To better understand the concept of fear, I asked Mrs. Elsie Turner, a friend and mentor of mine to listen her opinion first hand. ‘“Fear is definitely something you can conquer, and a lot of people go through life living with their fear or trying to find out what they’re afraid of.”’ But there are those who enjoy fear, (like Mr. Robles) we even have a holiday dedicated to fear-yes, you guessed it, Halloween.

Here are two reasons why fear is sometimes  enjoyed. 1) Our brains are good at what they do so if we get a ‘safe’ fright  like watching a horror movie or walking through a haunted house or playing a chilling video game. Our brains will figure out the situation and let us know that we’re free from risk. 2) when we feel scared we experience a type adrenaline and dopamine. This is a biochemical rush in a pleasure filled sense of euphoria. So let me address the title of this article: How to overcome your fears. Be prepared. Practicing or thinking through what is about to happen removes the uncertainty. Take charge. Fear comes from a lack of control so focusing on things you can  control can help lessen your feelings. And finally, relax. Sometimes it’s easier to let go of your fear by doing engaging activities. Like prayer, yoga, meditation or a hobby. This will relax you more than just talking yourself out of fear.