Fears are an innate part of the human experience and can hold us back from accomplishing our greatest dreams. But we can learn to recognize our biggest fears, challenge them and let them go. It’s important to remember that our fears are not irrational and that they can be overcome with daily practices and mindset shifts.
A recent survey from Chapman University highlights the top 10 biggest fears of Americans. The poll also highlights how people’s fears change over time and explains the unique causes of each person’s specific fears. The results show that a number of factors, including personal experience, genetics, upbringing and current life circumstances can shape your biggest fears.
For instance, snakes frighten more women than men — 62% of women say they’re afraid of these slithery reptiles while only 38% of men share their fear of snakes. Mice scare women more than men as well – 33% of women say they’re scared of mice, while only 7% of men are afraid of these rodents. People with lower levels of education tend to be more afraid of public speaking compared to those with higher levels of education. In addition, age plays a role in our biggest fears with younger adults more likely to be afraid of dogs compared to older adults.
The coronavirus pandemic has certainly raised health-related fears. The top two biggest fears on the list this year are the fear of getting seriously ill or the fear of a loved one getting seriously ill. Another factor influencing health-related fears is the political climate where people are afraid of their friends and family being cut off due to different opinions about candidates or political stances.
Lastly, people are still very concerned about crime. The most feared crime is mass shootings followed by identity theft. A surprising entry in the top 10 is the fear of Russia using nuclear weapons, possibly reflecting people’s concerns about the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Some of the most common phobias include claustrophobia (the fear of enclosed spaces), astraphobia (the fear of thunder and lightning) and mysophobia (the fear of germs). There’s even a phobia for each zodiac sign, with Taureans being afraid of spontaneity while brash, impulsive Aries is afraid of being slowed down.
What are your biggest fears? How do you plan to challenge them? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.