BHP Shorts: Fear vs. Anxiety

Fear vs. Anxiety is an excerpt from F*ck Your Feelings, as well as a segment of my presentation at Tony Blauer’s SPEAR Camp in Las Vegas last summer.

In our ongoing efforts to become our best selves, it is crucial that we understand the difference between Fear & Anxiety, and develop an awareness to how each plays a vital role in our safety and our behaviors. Are they controlling us, or are we controlling them?

Fear Vs. Anxiety

Fear = presence of threat
Anxiety = anticipation of threat (threat is not present)

Multiple studies show “pathological anxiety interferes with the ability to cope successfully with life challenges”

Fear also changes behavior, not just in individuals, but in offspring and can impact an entire species.

One studies saw rabbits (well known for their reproductive prowess) experience a 40% reduction in reproduction after exposure to threat.

The RATIONAL response would have been the opposite; to INCREASE reproduction to increase chance of species survival.

They didn’t. They allowed anxiety (not fear, threat was no longer present) to negatively alter behavior and potentially jeopardize the survival of the species.

We must understand and master anxiety + fear response to prevent them from derailing our performance, decision making, and ultimately, our goals.

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Ryland Hormel