People’s Biggest Fears
If you want to be happy and successful, it’s important to confront your biggest fears. These irrational anxieties may be keeping you from living your best life, and you can work to overcome them with daily practices and mindset shifts.
People’s biggest fears can change year-to-year, but the top 10 tend to remain consistent throughout history. This is due to the fact that some fears are very common, such as fear of public speaking and fear of heights, while others vary more widely depending on personal experiences and social anxiety. Some of these fears are rooted in childhood trauma, while others are more of an evolutionary response to specific threats that could potentially harm us.
One of the most commonly shared fears is a fear of heights, which can be triggered by the fear of falling or simply the thought of jumping off a high place like a roof. The irrational nature of this fear makes it difficult to overcome, but many people find that working on their confidence and practicing overcoming this fear helps them build the courage to take steps that they would otherwise be afraid of.
Similarly, fear of enclosed spaces, also known as claustrophobia, is widespread and very real. It’s not hard to understand why so many people are scared of confined areas given that our ancient ancestors likely faced real dangers from animals, insects, and other creepy crawlies. Even though there are only a few spider species that pose any type of serious threat to humans, millions of people suffer from the irrational fear of these creatures, and many movies are filled with gross-out scenes starring these bugs.
Another common fear is a fear of flying, which is often associated with a fear of heights. For most people, however, the real reason they’re afraid of flying has more to do with what they think will happen during a flight than actual physical risks. For example, a person’s biggest fear may be that they will be ill on the plane or that the airline will lose their luggage. Others may have nightmares of turbulence or a plane crash, or they might worry that they will become trapped in a seat with someone else’s vomit.
With COVID-19 a distant memory, illness and death are at the top of the list when it comes to Americans’ biggest fears, with 65 percent of people worried that a loved one will die from a medical condition and more than half fearing that a loved one will get cancer. Other issues that worry many people are the threat of nuclear weapons, AIDS and other diseases, inequality, and religious or ethnic hatred.
As you might expect, political differences make a big difference in the kinds of fears that people have. For example, those with more conservative political views are more frightened of socialism and communism, while those with more liberal leanings are more concerned about the possibility of police brutality and fascism.