Fear and Anxiety: How they can be helpful and how they are different

Why this resource is helpful:

Both anxiety and fear can be experienced in a healthy and adaptive way. Both anxiety and fear serve the purpose of keeping you and everyone else out of trouble and alive.


Fear is adaptive when you are faced with a very real danger.
Fear motivates and mobilizes you to take defensive actionthis is that classic fight or flight response. Everything happening inside of our body and mind during this state is happening to enable us to get away from danger or fight for our lives.

Some of our fearful responses are automatic and do not need to be learned. For example, if something fast is flying near your face you likely will automatically close your eyes and turn your head. We can also learn to respond with fear. For example, it is not universal to react with fear to dogs, but if you are grew up without dogs or know others who are fearful of dogs then you may learn that dogs are scary. Or, you may see someone running and yelling out of fear in a crowded place and it creates a feared response inside of you.

Fear: The present-oriented basic emotion
Fear is an intensely felt alarm response that we all need to have in order to survive. When we need to take action to protect our physical or health or safety our body will do a number of things to help you get moving.

Rapid heartbeat; smothering sensations; increased blood pressure; feel hot, sick to your stomach, or dizzy; or break out into a sweat.

Anxiety and worry can be adaptive when taking appropriate steps to plan for the future.
Anxiety and worry can be very adaptive and it would, in fact, be maladaptive not to worry about future events that could truly threaten your health and welfare.

In the time that I write this we are in the middle of the COVID-19 virus. Likely there is some adaptive, and not so adaptive, anxiety as people have to think about their employment, safety and the welfare of their families. The difference here between what would be adaptive in this case would be anything that helps you take effective action when faced with a threat. For example, one can take appropriate steps to keep themselves well via staying at home as much as possible, engaging in social distancing, and taking the lead from your employer about how to navigate the varying impacts (filing for unemployment, being on furlough, working from home, etc.).

Often time we will lump fear and anxiety into the same category. We also want to see them as unwanted feelings. We look at the adaptive features to develop a healthy relationship with our anxiety and fear.
Quoted From: https://mindfulwellnesswa.com/fear-and-anxiety-how-they-can-be-helpful-and-how-they-are-different/

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