The epidemic, closed borders, isolation – all this not only endangered the physical health of a person, but also worsened his mental state. New fears have appeared, old ones have intensified. However, most often they are unrealistic and are created by the person himself, and the media fix them in consciousness and scale. When will the next lockdown happen? What will happen to the economy? Who should provide security? Many of us ask ourselves these and other questions. T&P talks about the nature of fear and explains what modern people are afraid of and how to deal with it.
Why are we afraid
In psychology, fear is referred to as one of the basic human emotions, which has a protective nature and is based on the instinct of self-preservation. American psychologist Carroll Izard in his book “The Psychology of Emotions” noted that this is an innate process associated with a specific subjective experience. It refers to either a real situation or an imaginary one. In the second case, the person himself creates attitudes that lead him to a restless state. Fear mobilizes the body and increases activity, helping to find a way out of unforeseen situations. At the same time, the constant stay in fear negatively affects a person’s mental health. In particular, during a pandemic, most experience stress.
Fears are often confused with phobias – they refer to mental disorders and are associated with situations that are not potentially dangerous. A person may be afraid of familiar things. Phobia is irrational, it is a more stable experience, in contrast to the usual fear, which is associated with a real or potential threat. In order to cope with phobias, you need the help of a specialist.
The study of psychologists from Slovenia “Fears of Modern Society” notes that fear is a manipulated perception of a threat, and not a real danger. American security expert Gavin de Becker confirms that fear is often the result of imagination. “Confident people have fewer worries than people who are unsure of their ability to face their fears. Nevertheless, modern man faces many threats that make him feel helpless, ”the authors note. Fears increase in conditions of uncertainty, and in the new unstable realities more and more risks arise, therefore security is one of the main priorities of modern society and the state.
The fears of modern society
Fear of epidemics
In the new realities, human health is constantly under threat. For example, according to Statista, residents of the USA, Germany and the UK during the quarantine were most afraid for the health of their families. In second place was fear associated with economic instability, and in second place was one’s own physical condition.
You can deal with this fear through constant self-care. In addition to observing safety measures, it is also necessary to take care of mental health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises taking breaks from watching, reading or listening to news, including on social media, follow a regimen, get enough sleep and eat healthy, balanced meals, exercise regularly, and not be afraid to talk about your concerns. to others: they may experience the same. This way you can provide mutual support.
Fear of financial instability
In Russia, one of the main concerns during the pandemic was the fear of losing a job and facing problems with paying salaries and pensions, as stated in the HSE sociological survey “Social well-being of Russians”. Also, their own economic instability scares the inhabitants of other countries – the USA, Germany, Great Britain.
The labor market continues to change rapidly, and the digitalization process is actively promoting this. In order to remain in demand as a specialist, it is necessary to constantly develop not only hard skills, but also flexible skills that help to navigate new circumstances and master new professions.
Fear of being alone
In the conditions of forced isolation, people faced loneliness. Fear of him is called autophobia – anxiety about isolation from other people. Other names for autophobia include eremophobia, monophobia, and isolophobia. However, this is not the same as being alone. It refers to negative emotions that arise when a person feels that they have too few social interactions or meaningful connections. People can feel lonely even when they are with others. Autophobia is a fear, including the idea of spending time alone.
Yet there is no official definition of autophobia. It can be difficult to distinguish from separation anxiety, fear of abandonment, attachment disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Fear of the unknown
In conditions of instability and rapidly changing reality, a person is afraid of change. Neophobia, fear of new things, strongly affects everyday life. Some people make a conscious decision not to achieve great results at work, refuse to try new places to relax, and avoid making new friends. Neophobia can be associated with a double fear of success and failure.
This fear stems from the feeling that you don’t have enough information to plan. One way to counter this is to expand your knowledge of the current situation.
For example, if you are afraid of an area you are not aware of, you can explore it before moving. Another reason for this fear is a lack of control. To regain your sense of free will, start by analyzing your circumstances and listing what you can and cannot control, thereby reducing uncertainty.
Fear of technology
In the context of rapid digitalization, a new fear of technology can emerge, which has permeated all areas of life. This is due to the reluctance to completely immerse yourself in the digital environment, as this can negatively change everyday life. The digital divide has become a real problem for the part of the population that has limited access to education and technology due to the unfavorable economic situation.
At the same time, those who live in a digital environment may have this fear as well. In particular, it can be caused by the increasing frequency of cyber attacks – they occur on the Internet every 39 seconds. One way to reduce this anxiety is to keep your data secure.