What is the Difference Between Fear and Anxiety?

Updated: May 19

Difference Between Fear and Anxiety and How to Overcome Anxiety

What is the function of fear and anxiety?

The main function of fear and anxiety is to act as a signal for danger or threat.

Our body is adapted to trigger certain responses aimed at escaping from the source of danger.

In a fear response, different parts of the brain are stimulated, compared to an anxiety response, according to The National Centre of Biotechnology Information.

Fear is focused on external danger. Fear was critical in keeping our ancestors alive.

Anxiety is a generalised response to an unknown threat or conflict. A characteristic of anxiety seems to be uncertainty. This is probably to do with lack of control, which makes coping more difficult.

Increased anxiety may be due to:

- a genetic disposition and some types of anxiety disorders are linked to specific genes

- traumatic life experiences

- physical conditions, such as thyroid disorders

How can fear make you feel?

When you sense fear, a signal is sent to the thalamus, and then to the amygdala, in the brain. Neurotransmitters are then released throughout the body.

This causes physical responses including:

- a faster heartbeat

- rapid breathing

- an increase in blood pressure

- skin may sweat to keep the body cool

This response is known as ‘fight or flight’ - fight off the danger or run fast to get away.

Fear weakens the immune system. It can be exhausting to feel intense fear.

How does anxiety make you feel?

Anxiety is what you feel when you are worried, tense, or afraid. You may have these feelings about things that are about to happen, or which you think could happen in the future.

Anxiety is a natural human response when you think that you are under threat. It can be experienced through your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations.

Physical responses to anxiety include the same as those of fear. In addition you may:

  • Have a churning feeling in the stomach

  • Feel dizzy or feel light-headed

  • Feel restless

  • Have problems sleeping

  • Grind your teeth

  • Feel nauseous

  • Have panic attacks

  • Have low mood

  • Be irritable

  • Have poor concentration

  • Have low energy

Tips to overcome fear and anxiety

There are a number of things that you can try to overcome fear and anxiety. Here are ideas of some of the things that may help:

- Allow yourself to sit with your fear for 2-3 minutes at a time. Breathe deeply and say to yourself, ‘It’s OK’.

- Start to understand your fear. Note down each time what you were doing or what you were thinking when you started to feel fearful.

- Start a gratitude journal. Write down 3 things that you are thankful for at the end of every day. Focusing on gratitude helps to relieve stress and increase feelings of overall well-being.

- Exercise on a regular basis. Swimming, biking, brisk walking or dancing may help.

Try to relax. Yoga is great way to relax. Some yoga classes include meditation, which may also be helpful for overcoming fear and anxiety.

- Avoid too much sugar which can cause dips in blood sugar levels. These dips may create anxious feelings.

- Some people find complementary therapies help. Try homeopathy for anxiety. I have had good results with some clients who have mild anxiety.

- A talking therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) may be helpful

Negative fear can hold you back from taking risks.

Positive fear will make you uncomfortable with the status quo, and push you to step out of your comfort zone.

If you would like to discuss homeopathy and anxiety, feel free to book a free discovery call with me or email me.

Is homeopathy for you?

Homeopathy is used all over the world for so many health issues, including anxiety. Whether you have a big health issue that is stopping you from getting on with your life, or niggly health 'annoyances', feel free to contact me if you think I may be able to help.

I am always happy to hear from you.

Naziana x