An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
Thanks to a chat with my dad over the weekend, I now realize different kinds of fear affect different aspects of life.
Irrational fears vs rational fears.
Let’s start with rational fears. REAL fears– things that’re physically or emotionally terrifying that could probably kill you i.e. bungee jumping or hopping into a tank with frenzy feeding sharks in your underwear.
Everyone can pretty much agree that these are effing scary, even Evil Kinevil must’ve had a little fear prior to some of his stunts
And then there’s the irrational.
These stinkers may seem just as disturbing as the rational to your brain, but in reality, they kind of sound dumb. They’re not life threatening, but your mind makes them seem like they are.
Personally, I find it very hard to distinguish the two. For instance, someone’s irrational fear may sound like– “OMG I’m going to get SO fat if I eat that!” or “If I have a lick of that high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden ice cream, I’m going to be poinsoned and die of heart disease.” Those kind of thoughts can warp your mind into thinking you’re in danger from something as innocent as ice cream.
The media doesn’t help much either. One second there’s a study on how drinking coffee will shorten your lifespan, and then a few weeks later, someone discovers that coffee is actually beneficial to your health. WTF?!
All of the conflicting messages + highly impressionable brains = irrational fears and unreachable standards.
The reason why I’m addressing this is because I’ve been having some mental struggles as the O-chem stress piles up. Struggles about nutrition, about self-worth, and a lot of other crap I don’t really feel like getting into.
When my dad and I started to flesh out the differences between some of my rational and irrational fears, I realized that a lot of it is unnecessary fret I conjure up, like:
- worrying about passing O-chem 2 during the next summer 5 week term
- worrying about my O-Chem 1 final exam this Friday
- worrying about if my training plan is beneficial to my goals
- worrying about spending too much $$ on food
- worrying if I’m doing paleo right for a weight lifter
- worrying if I’m eating enough since I’m avoiding measuring and counting food
- worrying about moving out of my apartment by the 15th
You can see there’s a lot of worrying about POINTLESS stuff.
All of the above are irrational fears. It’s not like my life is in peril with any of them– no wild howler monkeys are about to burst out of my closet and maul me to death.
Sure, this stuff means a lot to me in my life right now, but will it matter in the big picture? Will I die tomorrow if I don’t eat x amount of calories? Will the apocalypse come if I fail a test?
These sneaky irrational fears are clogging up my brain and inflicting wounds.
So. How to combat this.
I’ve been doing a lot of praying, talking, and online researching the past few days. This article grounded me and got me back on track. (Even if you don’t struggle with counting calories, you should totally read it.) But I think the thing that has helped me the most– distinguishing my fears and realizing that while they may seem scary to me, they don’t matter in the big picture.
What are some of your rational fears? Irrational? How do you combat both types?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!