Why We Are So Fearful, Ways to Deal with Fear

Ron McIntyre
7 min readMay 8, 2024

Though it may seem overwhelming and pervasive in modern times, fear is often influenced by various factors in our lives and the world around us. By understanding these factors, we can gain a sense of control over our fears. We often talk about how we feel time is going faster and faster, but it ultimately boils down to how self-aware we are and how we choose to react to the things around us.

Fear can indeed take hold of us when dealing with chaos, but it’s a challenge we can tackle. Instead of succumbing to panic, let’s explore practical causes and effective strategies to help us release stress and regain control.

Reasons We Are So Fearful Today

  1. Global Uncertainty: Events like pandemics, economic crises, and political instability contribute to unpredictability. Unpredictability has been part of human existence for eons, but today, we are told that we should control everything. First, that is impossible, so you can only control the things directly in your preview.
  2. Media Amplification: Constant exposure to sensationalized news stories can increase feelings of fear and anxiety. Again, this is nothing new. Sensationalism has been part of news reporting forever. The issue is that the speed of delivery and the breadth of availability continue to grow exponentially. In many cases, the reporters are just average citizens with genuine or no opinions.
  3. Social media: While we usually look at platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, X, and many others that promote comparison and highlight adverse events that can exacerbate personal insecurities and fears, we have come to tolerate them. Yet the more we accept, the more fear rises.
  4. Environmental Concerns: Worrying about climate change, natural disasters, and their long-term impacts can be a significant source of fear. However, it’s crucial to recognize that we, as individuals, can make a difference. Industries may profit from pollution, but our choices and actions can contribute to positive change, reducing our fears and creating a more sustainable future.
  5. Economic Pressure: Job security and financial worries can trigger significant stress and fear, especially in fluctuating economies. We continue to recognize that inflation is a problem, yet we continue to spend as consumers. Corporations continue to claim they are being pressured by higher wages, higher raw material costs, and regulation, so they continue to raise prices rather than innovate to deal with them all.

For example, some credit card companies told consumers the APR would now go to 34.99%. At the same time, conservatives stopped President Biden’s bid to cap the amount they could charge. It seems like a double standard is rearing its ugly head in government.

6. Personal Safety: Increased crime rates or media focus on crime can heighten personal safety and security fears. Crime is everywhere, but we have become callused about it and seem to hide our heads in the sand. I feel for police officers trying to get statements from observers about a crime or trying to get a confederate to turn on a partner in crime. Fear is a huge factor in this attitude.

7. Health Issues: Personal or widespread health crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic, heighten fears about well-being and survival. I often wonder why we are so divided over treatments and vaccinations when the illnesses are real. We want to ascribe other illnesses to treatments to the point we scare people from even considering any proactive approaches. Just look at measles. In the US, it was virtually extinct, but then, as questions about the viability of vaccinations rattle parents, we are faced with several measles outbreaks around the US. Fear is at the core; even though the opponents have not provided accurate documentation to support their side, and greed has impacted the viable treatments in the market, confusion reigns supreme.

8. Isolation and Loneliness: Modern lifestyles, especially post-pandemic, often involve more excellent isolation, fueling anxieties and fears. Much of this is self-imposed, but that does not make it any less fearful. We are so busy trying to discover who real friends are and the fakers we choose to isolate from.

9. Rapid Technological Change: The pace of technological advancement can lead to fears about privacy, job replacement, and keeping up with change. Technology will not stop advancing; if it does, we will return to the dark ages. However, we can reduce fears by embracing technology, learning to use it, understanding its purpose, and identifying the hackers. When it comes to privacy, I am not sure that everyone understands that privacy can be a tool but also a weapon, so we must be careful what we are demanding.

10. Loss of Community and Family Structures: Weaker community bonds and less stable family structures can lead to feelings of insecurity and fear. This is true, but we tend to romanticize the old days of perfect families and quiet, safe communities as we age. With that comes a nasty habit of comparing memory with reality. Sometimes, the memories are tainted or idolized in preference to dealing with what is outside your front door. Fears become exacerbated during this comparison process.

Ways to Conquer Fear

  1. Stay Informed but Set Limits: Consume news from reliable sources and limit exposure to prevent becoming overwhelmed. I wrote an article on verifying what you read and watch. This is the foundation of fighting fear.

2. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation: These practices can help manage anxiety and reduce stress. Although these are buzzwords today, they are required when facing fears, real or imagined. This can be a quiet time, thinking about positive solutions and thoughts. Stay in touch with your mind and body regularly.

3. Engage in Physical Activity: Regular exercise can decrease stress hormones and increase endorphins, improving overall mood. Proven factor when dealing with fear.

4. Establish a Support Network: Connect with friends, family, or support groups to share feelings and reduce isolation. Today, in our busy lives, many are unwilling to commit to meeting for support unless they are at rock bottom. We must eliminate this limitation and engage with people more often rather than less often. Remember, it is your choice to reach out or isolate. It may take some time and work, but it is worth it.

5. Seek Professional Help: Remember, therapists and counselors are there to provide strategies and support for managing and reducing fear. Don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance.

Mental therapy can be an effective tool for addressing and managing fear. Like any approach, it comes with its own set of advantages and potential drawbacks. Here are some of the pros and cons:

Pros of Mental Therapy for Fear

Professional Guidance: Therapists should be trained to help you analyze the root causes of your fears and how to deal with them effectively.

-Personalized Strategies: Therapy provides tailored techniques to cope with specific fears, enhancing personal growth and resilience.

-Safe Space: Therapy offers a confidential and secure environment to express feelings and fears without judgment.

-Skill Development: It helps develop skills for managing anxiety and fear, such as cognitive-behavioral techniques that can alter negative thinking patterns.

-Long-Term Relief: Unlike medications, which often treat symptoms, therapy aims to resolve underlying issues, offering long-term solutions.

-Improved Relationships: You can enhance interpersonal relationships and social interactions by managing fears more effectively.

-Increased Self-awareness: Therapy encourages a deeper understanding of oneself, which can help identify triggers and understand personal patterns related to fear.

Cons of Mental Therapy for Fear

-Time-Consuming: Therapy can be slow, requiring regular sessions over months or years to see significant changes.

-Cost: Depending on the location and insurance coverage, therapy can be expensive and inaccessible to everyone.

-Emotional Discomfort: Delving into fear and underlying issues can be emotionally painful and unsettling, especially at the beginning.

-Finding the Right Therapist: It can be challenging to find a therapist who is a good match in terms of personality, approach, and expertise.

-Stigma: There is still a stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment, which can deter some people from pursuing therapy.

-Dependence: Sometimes, individuals may become overly dependent on their therapist or the therapeutic process for coping with daily stresses.

-Variable Efficacy: Therapy does not work for everyone in the same way; some people might not find it as beneficial as others, depending on their fears and personal circumstances.

Despite the cons, for many, the benefits of therapy significantly outweigh the potential drawbacks, particularly when it comes to managing and overcoming fear. Therapy is potent for achieving a healthier mental state and a more fulfilling life.

6. Focus on What You Can Control: Concentrate on actions you can take rather than circumstances beyond your control. I have discussed this many times and even written articles about it. Check out this article on “Opening the Door to Self-Awareness.”

7. Educate Yourself About Your Fears: Understanding the facts about what scares you can often reduce the fear of the unknown.

8. Practice Gratitude: Regularly reflecting on what you’re thankful for can shift focus away from fears and toward positivity. We have lost sight of two things today: humility and genuine gratitude. In an article I published entitled “How to Trust Yourself,” I discuss the need for both.

9. Develop a Resilience Plan: Prepare for potential stressors with coping strategies, which can reduce anxiety about the unknown. Modeling resilience in adversity can provide a valuable example for your team or family. Show them that it’s possible to keep going, to learn from challenges, and to come out stronger on the other side.

10. Limit social media: Reduce time spent on social media to avoid unfavorable comparisons and anxiety-inducing content. This takes discipline and effort, but it is worth the investment. I periodically take sabbaticals from all online services to reflect on my messages and tone. It also allows me to focus on self-awareness and personal resilience.

By understanding the sources of our fears and implementing these strategies, we can better manage our anxiety and live more confidently. So, why wait? Start implementing these strategies today and take the first step towards conquering your fears.



Ron McIntyre

Ron McIntyre is a Leadership Anthropologist, Author, and Consultant, who, in semi-retirement, is looking to help people who really want to make a difference.