Fear often arises when something or someone threatens you, someone you care about or something of great importance to you. Fear overrides almost all other emotions and makes you do anything to get away from whatever is threatening you.
It is one of the very oldest emotions we have, and has been critical to ensuring survival, simply because it has helped us avoid and get away from predators and threats. In modern days fear usually deals people who are unpredictable and might hurt you, situations that feel impossible to deal with, illnesses or potential accidents.
The bodily sensation of fear is often increased heart beat, rapid breathing, cold hands and feet, and dryness in the mouth. It can also feel like excessive energy in your body. High activation of fear can also be experienced as dizziness, tunnel vision or even nausea. In milder forms, fear can be experienced as unrestfullness or being alert.
When you feel fear, the affected need is safety, protection, and feeling like you can master your environment. Mastering fear is a very rewarding experience, which might explain why so many people enjoy extreme sporting or scary movies. If the fear seems impossible to deal with or you cannot get away, it is not uncommon to either become aggressive and attack or to give up and submit.
Fear is common as a secondary emotion, meaning you are afraid to feel another emotion. For example, you might be afraid of getting angry, afraid to show sadness and or afraid to show that you are ashamed. Anxiety can also be understood as secondary fear.
Fear is also very common as a part of a problematic emotional memory. For instance if you have experienced something traumatic, grown up in an unsafe home or been left a lot to yourself without someone to protect or sooth you. It can be difficult to distinguish between different forms of fear, but a rule of thumb is that it is a primary helpful emotion when it is a reaction to something that just happened, it is a problematic emotional memory if it is a reaction to something that happened long ago, and it is secondary when there is another emotion you fear or if it’s anxiety.