Obey No1kinobe

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Is fear the greatest threat to happiness?

I sometimes wonder if fear is perhaps the strongest factor that detracts from our happiness. Particularly worrying about things that have not yet come to pass. Thinking ahead is often prudent, but rehashing concerns over and over is like living the feared event repeatibly.

What do you think?

Any ideas how to avoid this?

Are some people just more pessimistic?

Is there an optimum balance between concern for the future and living in the moment?

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    Sep 11 2012: It is natural to fear certain things; but what impact does our fear have on us? Some people forge ahead with courage; some dwell on their worries and strengthen hopelessness; some would prepare and plan because of fear; some would be paralysed by fear and become depressed.
    I think our response is the most important.
    Selfishness(which may be a manifestation of fear) and the desperate search for happiness are the greatest threat to happiness.
    It is human to feel down once in a while.
    But we should know that the world is not perfect, and will never be; we should know that we don't have absolute power over people and circumstances; but we should also be aware of the power that we have and make the best use of it.

    The optimum balance between concern for the future and living in the moment is: Maximizing the moment, doing our best with what we have, and not crucifying ourselves for what we don't have.

    Because doing our best in the moment is the best investment for the future.
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      Sep 12 2012: Good Points Feyisayo:
      - life has its ups and downs as do our emotional states
      - It is how you deal with these events or fears that define your life and future
      - I agree perfectionism can be a problem.

      Actually our sanitised comfy lives with medicines and ipads and a decade of growth may help set up unrealistic expectations in some places. So when you get older and more people get sick or die, or you hit your career peak, health peak, or run into financial problems it seems worse.

      I really like:
      "The optimum balance between concern for the future and living in the moment is: Maximizing the moment, doing our best with what we have, and not crucifying ourselves for what we don't have."

      thanks.
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    Sep 11 2012: Rational fear...facing a real danger...can certainly be a threat to happiness.

    On the other hand, most people experience a large amount of irrational fear in their daily lives. It comes from a variety of sources and the person doesn't even recognize it or the "why" it is happening to them. But they are willing to "act" on it, if even unconsciously, to their own detriment.

    1. Advertising: Fear is the great motivator in modern advertising. Critically watch most advertisements and the first thing the advertisement will do is attempt to create a fear in you...your personal health (cable TV infomercials are notorious for this), social acceptance if you don't buy the product ("You gotta have this car if you want to get the girls!"), etc. THEN they tell you why you need their product to resolve that fear. The advertiser is determining what will make you happy in these cases...not you.

    2. "Fear of Failure". Fear of failing is the primary reason of someone having self-doubt about their capability to do something. For instance...public speaking. Most people are scared to death of it. But public speaking is something you have done since you first learned how to talk. But sometime during your lifetime you "learned" that public speaking is dangerous...people will judge you...and you might "fail". Have faith in your own abilities to do things that may make you happy.

    I don't think fear in and of itself is the greatest threat to your happiness. Some fears are rational. But most are not.

    Being able to recognize when a fear is irrational is probably more important. Or recognize when someone ELSE is trying to instill an unjustified fear in you...advertising, political campaigns, "Doom and Gloom" people, whatever. When that happens, they are trying to manipulate you. And it's darn hard to be happy for yourself when you allow someone else to "run your life" for you.
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      Gail .

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      Sep 12 2012: Well put! Thank you
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      Sep 12 2012: Hi Rick. It is amazing how things like adds get in our heads. I guess they don't spend the money for nothing.

      Perhaps in part both adds and fear of failure reflect our heirachical nature, not wanteing to lose status.

      Agree recognition is part of the battle won.

      I guess we own our mind unless we let others own it for us.
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        Sep 12 2012: Hi Obey. Yes, to me many of the advertisements on TV are more comical than factual. I love it when I am told that because someone else got their cell phone text 7 seconds earlier than me, I am "socially deficient" and will be snubbed by all my friends.

        I don't need a new cell phone if that happens. I need new friends.

        And please...DON'T get me started talking about "Colon Flow" on cable TV....... ;-)
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    Gail .

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    Sep 12 2012: Fear is either a weapon or a tool, and the choice of how it is used it up to the individual. We live in a culture that tells us to fear our fears. There is another way to look at them.

    I can say that I am afraid of public speaking, and recognize that it is time to join a Toast Master's club or other group where I will force myself to learn how to do that well. OR, I can tell myself that given my fear, I should not bother with public speaking, and thus ensure that my voice will never be heard, no matter how important the issue is to me.

    I can say that I am afraid of going to that job interview because I am not fully qualified or experienced, and take that as an indication that I should improve my qualifications so that I will not be afraid. OR, I can tell myself that I'm not sufficiently qualified and I should therefore aim lower in my career objectives, even though I would love to do that job.

    I can say that I am afraid of that "enemy", and choose to learn how to live with inner peace (thus stripping the "other" from its position of enemy in my own mind - while learning that peace is a POWERFUL defense mechanism. Or I can fear my fear and cause great harm for me and those who do not know the power of peace.

    Fear is your "mind" knocking at your door offering you opportunities for growth of self-esteem and self-awareness. When you fear your fears, you block your own growth and diminish yourself in your own mind.

    I think it's time for our culture of fear to be transformed, but it's hard to do that when so many fear their fears.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uygzBO29GR8&list=PLxNAh7QGXuiKPlScdf2d4ycmSrNlXWqNd&index=14&feature=plpp_video
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    Sep 11 2012: Fear is healthfull, most of the time. With retrospect it is often a lot of fun. People should read scarry stories to their kids, it's part of how they learn how to cope with it. We're also evolved to enjoy risk as much as we're evolved to enjoy, say, bathing. Men, mostly, have been naturally and sexually selected to be risk-takers.

    What is a threat to happiness is chronic fear. Anxiety, when your stress response is halfway activated, preventing you from real sleep, disturbing digestion and screwing with the immune system.

    Fear and happiness are actually real in the endocrinological world.
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      Sep 12 2012: Hi Gerald

      You raise an interesting perspective, that for some risk taking or adrenaline junkies, experiencing fear gives them a thrill. Like most things I suggest if excessive this can be detrimental.

      Having parachuted, I've never felt more alive. But once was enough for me.

      Agree the chronic fear is the big problem
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    Sep 11 2012: There are some things that you fear more than you love, and other things you love more than you fear.

    @Ehis
    "Fear is the strongest emotion there is"

    Perhaps fear is stronger in the short term, but in the long run, it's love.
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      Sep 12 2012: Simple but powerful - Love and Fear
      Both Primal and Reasoned
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      Sep 11 2012: Good point Karen. Concern about immediate threats and ongoing oppression take precedence over concerns about what if's.

      I guess the fear I'm talking about may be a bit of a luxury in a way. Not immediate threats but worrying about things that are either going to happen or not.

      You can have your health, wealth, family and friends but worry about losing your job, your health, loved ones etc. Which may be psychologically painful but is not on the same level as real immediate oppression, starving etc.
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    Sep 10 2012: Obey,

    Fear is the strongest emotion there is - nothing compares to it - and yes, fear is mostly a threat to happiness. The worst kind is fear of things we cannot change . .see fear of death.. Fear of failure is another silly kind . .

    An understanding of the emptiness and meaninglessness of life would lead to happiness. Yes it would. . then you'd stop taking yourself way too seriously (which is what brings fear) and remove yourself from social pressure and petty competitions. Then no need to claim you are right and the other man is wrong. . you then have no choice but love everyone you come across. No more white and black, xtian and muslems . . if only we understand the emptiness that is life. And that is when you get everything you never actually needed.
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      Sep 11 2012: Ehis, I think you have identified a key consideration, your ability to influence or control a situation.

      Losing a job, getting sick, losing loved ones are things we may not have as much ability to change as other things.

      I guess our raw emotions love and fear and part of our common humanity that cross all boundaries and religions etc.

      Thank you for your insights.