Fear is a primal emotion that evolved as a survival instinct. When you feel fearful, your brain kicks into high gear, and your body prepares to fight, flee, faint, or freeze. But what if this paralyzing emotion is negatively affecting your life?

Worrying about everything can put your life on hold. This adverse emotion can stand between you and fulfilling your dreams. Do you long for a meaningful relationship or a rewarding career and are too scared to take the first step?

What are some of the things that make you a bundle of nerves? Are there any ways that you can overcome these emotions? Your first step is to understand what causes you to be afraid, and then you can learn how to deal with them effectively.

Twelve Reasons That Explain Why People Live in Fear

What makes one person afraid may be nothing to another individual. While everyone can be fearful, some people are imprisoned by it. Here are twelve reasons why many people live in fear and how you can fix it.


1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses. Fortunately, mental health specialists help people recover every day. You may fear simple things like going to the store when suffering from this condition. Some folks find that their anxiety controls them and may engage in routines like locking and unlocking the door.

How to Fix It:

If you’ve been diagnosed with GAD, several lifestyle changes can help. Staying physically active and following a healthy diet can make a difference. Also, consider relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and visualization.

2. Fear Due to Job Stress

Whether you’re an employer or work for yourself, you’ll always have stress. The constant push to deliver a superior product or service makes your customers happy. In that sense, job stress can be a positive motivator to urge you to do your best.

However, pressures from work can also turn to overthinking and anxiety. Perhaps you become fearful that a project will fail, your clients will leave, or you’ll be fired. The pressure snowballs, and you’re afraid you’ll lose your income and can’t support your family.

How to Fix It:

It’s a given that some jobs are more stressful than others. Try to keep a healthy balance between work and leisure time. You may consider another career path if your career becomes so stressful that it affects your well-being.

3. Financial Struggles Can Cause Someone to Feel Fearful

The fear of financial ruin is just as natural for wealthy people as for poor ones. Recent statistics published by USA Facts say that 11.4 percent of Americans live in poverty. Rising living costs and substandard pay are enough to keep your nerves frazzled.

Worrying and overthinking finances can contribute to anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. It gets even worse if you are straining under a mountain of debt. You fear losing your home and everything you’ve worked hard to obtain.

How to Fix It:

If you’re not making enough money, maybe you need another job. Consider furthering your education and learning new skills. Many social service organizations offer free credit counseling, tips on living within a budget, and job training opportunities.

4. Perfectionism Causes Fear

You might be constantly worried if you strive to ensure everything is perfect. It’s scary to think about rejection or not being good enough; if these thoughts rule your head, then so will fear. The downside of perfectionism is that it’s not reality, and you may never get anything done if you can’t do it flawlessly.

How to Fix It:

You want to do your best and gain more knowledge and skills. Realize that everybody makes mistakes, and if you’re worrying or overthinking about being perfect, it wastes time. Smother your unrealistic expectations and fear; you must be proud of your accomplishments.

5. Fear and Control Issues

Deep down, those with control issues fear losing control of their lives. One of the dark sides of perfectionism demands order in your personal and professional relationships. Unfortunately, this fear-based control can alienate family, friends, and coworkers and worsen your anxiety.

How to Fix It:

There’s a relief in knowing that if you died tomorrow, the sun would still rise, and the world would continue as always. Concentrate on the things you can control in your life, and stop worrying about everyone else.

6. Abandonment Worries

Some of your basic human needs are to be wanted and loved. Many people develop abandonment issues because of trauma in their childhood. Divorce, the death of a parent, or being taken from your home as a child can cause abandonment fear for a lifetime.

Children in the foster system often don’t bond appropriately with others because they’re afraid of being hurt. It’s called reactive attachment disorder, or RADS.

Many adults are fearful of abandonment because of a past toxic relationship. Maybe a partner in the past suddenly left, and you’re afraid to trust anymore. You may feel any prospective love will also abandon you, so you build walls in your heart for protection.

How to Fix It:

There’s no easy fix for abandonment issues and being afraid to trust a relationship again. Your first step is to identify when someone abandoned you, in childhood or as an adult. Once you identify the pain, you can learn coping tools to help you have loving relationships today.


7. Fearful About Relationship Troubles

It’s not unusual for people to fear that their relationships will sour. Overthinking what your partner says or does can easily make you uneasy and paranoid. Are you constantly worrying that they will find another and leave you on the curb?

How to Fix It:

Countless issues can jeopardize a relationship. If you spend every moment overthinking and worrying, you’ll lose quality time with your lover, family, or friends. No relationship is perfect, but you can still enjoy the beautiful imperfection.

8. Fearful of Rejection

Since acceptance is a basic human need, being fearful of rejection is understandable. Overthinking other people’s opinions and people-pleasing habits often develop because you want to be “liked.” The repercussions of these habits are that they only hurt you in the long run.

How to Fix It:

Your best weapon against fear of rejection is building healthy self-esteem. You are beautiful and complete in yourself. If somebody doesn’t like you, they are the one with the problem, not you.

9. Fear of What Other People Think

Many folks spend so much time worrying about what others think that it causes chronic anxiety and depression. While you should put your best foot forward, it’s impossible to please everyone, and you needn’t try. Overthinking people’s thoughts and reactions can stress you to give up on everything.

How to Fix It:

At the end of the day, you are responsible for your happiness. If you are doing your best to be a compassionate and moral person, you answer to yourself. If something or someone in your life brings you joy and makes you a better person, it’s nobody else’s business.

10. Overthinking Causes Fear

Worrying about forgetting something or making a mistake can cause you to overthink. No matter how hard you’ve worked, you’re afraid something is missing. Do you toss and turn at night, replaying every action and every conversation in your mind?

How to Fix It:

Sometimes, you need to take a deep breath and know you’ve got this. Consider meditation or mindful exercises like yoga to give you peace and clarity. Don’t allow overthinking to interfere with your relationships and daily activities.

11. Chronic Sickness

There are a plethora of reasons that can make you feel sick or develop a disease. Worrying about your health and the fear of death is universal. Chronic sickness can exacerbate those feelings and maybe make the condition worse.

How to Fix It:

When you’re sick and in pain, it’s understandable that you’re afraid for the future, especially if it’s a terminal illness. Talking to a trusted friend or spiritual leader can be comforting to you. Learning to cope when you’re afraid may help ease your mind and the symptoms of your illness.

12. Fear Resulting From Past Failures

If you research some of the most successful people in history, you’ll discover they made many mistakes. Worrying about failing can prevent you from achieving your goals. You can’t go forward and be successful if you’re stuck in the past.

How to Fix It:

Use them as teaching tools instead of beating yourself up about your past blunders. Learning from your mistakes can prevent you from repeating them. There’s no shame in admitting that you made a mistake; just let it be an incentive to improve.


Final Thoughts on Living in Fear and How to Break the Cycle

It’s only human to be afraid occasionally. However, you can use that negative emotion as a ladder to succeed and bring joy to your life. While unsettling, fearful feelings will come, you needn’t allow them to control your mind. You can put fearful feelings in their place to live life to the fullest.