why we have fears

Why We Have Fears

Most of us have fears. Humans and animals are born with in-built fears for the sole purpose of keeping us safe and promoting survival. It’s believed that during the time of human evolution, those who feared the most, survived the best and therefore reproduced to pass their genes on.

Daniela” (CC BY 2.0) by Julian Carvajal

An interesting study conducted by Voucherbox discovered that people researching fears on search engines increased by 40% during the month of Halloween. While most of us would expect the most common fears to be spiders, snakes and the fear of flying, the UK’s biggest fears also include being judged by others and personal failure. The study proves that fears are based more on a lack of confidence and self-esteem and the worry of feeling restricted in being able to live a normal life. A whopping 48% of us spend on average £100 per year on fighting our fears and combating their power over us.

scared” (CC BY 2.0) by frank drewett

What Are the Most Common Fears?

The most common fears in women include insects (spiders, wasps, creepy crawlies) and for men, it is the fear of being judged and rated by others. A fear of flying and fear of heights are also very common but not necessarily something that we have to face very often. Fear of the dark and fear of death are also increasingly common and can be inherited from our parents. Then there are emotional fears – anxiety of getting close to people is a fear of intimacy, worries regarding someone depending on you is fear of commitment. Something which stops many people progressing in life and taking risks is fear of failure. All these fears can overpower us and stop us from being able to live a normal, happy life.

SNAKE!” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Neil T

Where Do Fears Come From?

Fears, anxieties, and phobias about insects, heights, fear of flying etc are in-built through human genetics, hard wired into us from our ancestral line. They are designed to keep us safe and to protect us from harm, helping us to survive. Of course, this would have been more relevant and important to us hundreds of years ago, but now in modern day, they can inhibit us from leading a normal life. Our hardwired fears would have once stopped us from falling off a cliff, being bitten by a deadly spider or killed by a venomous snake, so they were an essential part of our existence. However, over the years some of these fears have developed into irrational anxieties which do not serve our being and restrict us in operating normally. Fears such as rejection or intimacy stop us from communicating with people and having healthy, loving relationships.


Those who work to overcome their fears can succeed in facing them. It is reported that 37% of people who use treatments such as therapies and self-help books manage to gain power of their fears and phobias, allowing them to live a normal and fulfilling life. This proves that if you can find the confidence to push yourself to face your fears, then it is well worth the effort. You could change your life!

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