You’re Not Stressed… You’re Afraid
By Jennifer Outcelt, Creative Content Architect
I was a bit stressed starting this blog post.
You see, I follow this AMAZING podcast called Ologies, by Alie Ward, which explores the study of anything that can be studied with an -ologist of that field. Their tag line is, “Ask smart people stupid questions.” I’m a huge advocate for lifelong learning and continuous curiosity and this podcast meets all my needs. I was stressed because I wanted to do this podcast (and these specific episodes) enough justice that it didn’t end up buried in the “unsolicited podcast suggestion” graveyard.
The episodes that I want to share with you are called “Fearology” and they cover the nature of fear and our human fear responses. It’s a scary good, two-part episode with the fearologist, Mary Poffenroth.
The most notable knowledge nuggets that I walked away with were:
- There are two types of fear, and your amygdala (which controls your stress response) can’t really tell the difference between them.
- Factual fears – actual threats to your life that are happening in a shared reality.
- Fictional fears – everyday fears that are not actual threats to your life (AKA most of the stupid stuff you stress on constantly).
- There are two categories of fictional fears
- The fear of being not enough.
- The fear of not being in control.
- Researchers analyzed the vocabulary of super successful people and found that they used the terms “fear” and “afraid” most, as compared to less successful people who used the term “stress” most.
I desperately want you to love Ologies for two reasons:
- I want you to be part of the community that appreciates and talks about this mind-blowing content.
- I want your life to be better and if you just listened to this podcast then I swear it would change your life and you’ll have a newfound love for all the wonder of the day to day and please, please, PLEASE, just listen to it!!!
Interestingly, my stress around sharing this post played their parts perfectly within my reasons listed above. I desperately want you to love Ologies because I want my interest to be validated in your eyes, AND I want to exert a small amount of control over what you listen to because I think it’s in your best interest. I was afraid of rejection and lack of control. My stress about sharing this was not stress at all… it was FEAR!
These “Fearology” episodes opened my eyes to how I miss identify fear as stress. They also gave me some great tools for owning and managing my fears. Here’s a yummy slice from the episode to wet your palate. I hope you give the full episodes a listen (or read; episode 1 & episode 2). And heck, while you’re at it… Give all the rest of them a listen too.
“In western society, we have this stress ‘badge of courage’. When you ask someone how they are: “Oh my God, I’m so stressed!” “Like, Oh my God, me too! There’s the kids and there’s the work and there’s the other things!” So we feel confident talking about stress because we can commiserate, but we don’t feel confident talking about the ‘f-word’ because there’s so much shame associated with fear in our society, and we are never taught how to deal with fear in a healthy way. When looking at fictional fears, most fictional fears will fit into one of two categories: either the fear of being not enough, or the fear of not being in control. So if you can kind of go back to that and say, “Okay, which category does this fit in?” Sometimes that will Name it to claim it. Identify it so the power goes away. Just [fingersnap] click you right out of the fear response. [Alie gasps] Yeah, it’s so fun because humans love to pigeonhole. We have an entire store called The Container Store [Alie laughs] because we love boxes so damn much!”
“Fearology” Episode 1: https://omny.fm/shows/ologies-with-alie-ward/fearology-pt-1-fear-with-mary-poffenroth
“Fearology” Episode 2: https://omny.fm/shows/ologies-with-alie-ward/fearology-pt-2-fear-with-mary-poffenroth
ALL Ologies Episodes: https://www.alieward.com/ologies
- Published in Blog