Seneca

“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”

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Rethinking Fear

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Being afraid won't keep us safe

We misunderstand the value of fear when we think that being constantly hypervigilant will keep us safe.

Being afraid all the time doesn’t keep danger away from us. Instead, we need to learn to recognize key signals that could predict risk, in order to actually feel calmer and safer.

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When we walk around terrified all the time, we can’t pick out the signal from the noise.

If you’re constantly scared, you can’t correctly notice when there is something genuine to fear
. True fear is a momentary signal, not an ongoing state.

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Anxiety (as opposed to fear) is always caused by uncertainty - the uncertainty of ultimately, by the forecasts we make, but in which we have little to no confidence.

Forecasts with high confidence free you to respond, adjust, feel sadness, accept, prepare, or to do whatever is needed. Accordingly, anxiety is reduced by improving your prediction capacity, thus increasing your certainty.

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We’ll be in a better position when we'll be able to approach potential dangers with a calm mind, very vigilant to our internal signals but not anticipating every possible bad thing that could happen.

We don’t need to live in fear to stay safe. A better approach is to be aware of the risks we face, accept that some are unknown or unpredictable, and do all we can to be prepared for any serious or imminent dangers.

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