II. Nature of Fear
Fear is our reaction to a threat (such as violence) or an unwanted consequence
(such as being found out that one has cheated). It produces unpleasant tension
and an impulse to escape. Small amounts of fear make us alert, and are
harmless when eventually dissipated. But when fear is chronic, it produces
mental, emotional and physical problems.
III. How to Handle Fear
Example: You are asked to speak in front of people, breathe deeply to calm your nervousness.
Fear of mice - Except for diseases that they carry, mice do not harm people. Start by observing white mice in animal stores. If you wish, try to touch them. They are cute and clean. Houshold mice are just darker cousins of these.
Fear of public speaking - Start with small trials: talking in front of a committee, to a family gathering, or joining a toastmaster's club.
Fear of death - Understand the reasons for the fear: whether fear of loss, or dependency, or fear of unknown. If fear of the unknown, then learn more about the facts of the afterlife based on scientific studies.
Fear of failure - Understand that there is really no such things a permanent failure, only temporary defeat. So long as you have done your best, you should be able to accept the consequences.
Example: If fear of death of a loved one is due to dependency, then undertake a plan to be more independent and self-reliant, such as preparing your financial affairs such that if anything happens to either of you, the one who is let behind will not feel helpless.
Example: When you are afraid of the dark, be in touch with your physical reactions and emotional state. Just be aware without trying to fight it. You will notice that in time it will gradually diminish on its own without you doing anything about it.
Example: Scaring children with ghosts in order to persuade to eat will not only make them become afraid of the dark but associate eating with something unpleasant. Hence the approach creates two problems.
Constantly threatening a child with violence (such as physical punishment) will create either inhibition in the child or create aggression, both of which are unwholesome.
Example: a mother who has a phobia of lightning hides under the bed whenever there is a thunderstorm. Her three year child similarly developed this response of hiding under the bed whenever it begins to thunder.
Example: If a child is afraid of spiders, tell them about the difference between harmless spiders and poisonous ones. For tiny, household spiders no bigger than your smallest fingernail, you may wish to demonstrate to your child that the spider can crawl on your arm harmlessly.
If the child is afraid of the dark, play a game in a dark room that you know he will enjoy. Do not force the situation. Do it gradually and without the child noticing that he is already getting accustomed to the dark.
"If five percent of the people work for peace, there will be peace."