Fear is not caused by ghosts, spirits, or even harmful and painful events. Apparently, it's caused by a small organ in our brain called the amygdala.
This small organ triggers certain emotions and reactions depending on the stimuli one experiences.
A Survival Mechanism
The amygdala, an organ that sends signals to trigger certain emotions from the brain, has been wired to be wary and to respond to danger signals.
The amygdala has become sensitive to danger signals after being exposed to certain events.
Down the line, when one hears or sees something related to danger or fear, the amygdala will send fear signals to the brain.
Terror and Horror
Fear can be divided into two kinds: pending and immediate. Worry and anxiety are fears that are triggered when there is a pending harm. On the other hand, terror, dread and panic are fears that are triggered immediately.
Any signs, sounds and sights that are related to a certain aspect of fear may trigger the person to feel anxious without even knowing where the fear comes from.
The hypothalamus controls the hormonal, autonomic, and reproductive functions of the body. When the brain receives fear signals, functions such as breathing, blood circulation, and brain functions are instantly affected.
The signals sent to the brain produce different effects. Pupils dilate, hair stands on end, and saliva is reduced -leading to a dry mouth. The signal will cause sweating and decrease skin resistance. The blood flow decreases and leads to colder hands. The signals make one speed up breathing and tighten stomach muscles.
The amygdala triggers off three different conditions: first, the amygdala fires off when it identifies harmful events based on one's history. The second sensors fire off when it identifies events that accompany painful experiences. Finally, the last set of sensors fire off when the amygdala cannot identify the impact of an incident, causing fear.
When one senses danger, the mind prepares a course of action. This way, fear becomes a process wherein one rattles the mind to search for specific ways to escape harm or pain.
How to Deal with Fear
Self-awareness is the key to dealing with fear. Intense activity of the amygdala, causing fear, can be lessened. Researchers from Columbia University found out that when fear was a conscious experience, a part of the brain called the rostral anterior cingulate cortex reduced the amygdala activity.