Fear. One of the strongest four letter words in your vocabulary. Take a guess which fear listed below is the most common. Come on…do it before you read the rest of the post. I have a surprise in store and I am not publishing the results of this one. You will find out what all the cryptic messages and scary poetry has been about for the last three days.
Clowns Barely Rate
Despite some notable celebrities with aversions to face paint, only about 8% fear clowns. Many more dislike them, but the debilitating phobia strikes fewer than one in ten people. Did you guess this one thinking it was the trick player?
Although many a movie has been made with giant spiders ravaging cities and dormitories, only 14% of people have arachnophobia. Another 35% are ready with I hate spiders, but they are not paralyzed at the sight of eight hairy legs. Was this a dislike of yours?
Things That Slither
No legs rates higher than eight legs. The fear of snakes cripples 15% of the world’s population. This is another animal which gets a huge vote of dislike with an additional 25% saying they would prefer not to meet cool and scaly in a well-lit aquarium. Are you one?
Flight 77, Now Boarding
Another phobia with many notable members, the fear of flying grips 16%. These are the people taking the bus, train or boat where they are going. Another 17% get the butterflies (or Samsonite gorillas) in their stomachs before take off, but medication, meditation or a good double Scotch helps them get off the ground. Which one is your ticket?
The Grim Reaper
22% of all people fear death. Ironically, (and many parents are convinced otherwise by their teenagers) younger people fear death at as much as double the rate of older people. Before you go to thinking these numbers are nothing to write home about, consider the phobes from above…all of them fear death from their fear producer.
Essentially, the percentage is lacking because others in the grasp of a phobia are also afraid of death. To add to the malnourished numbers, when asked What do you fear? many other things come to mind before death. On the other hand, when you ask, Do you fear death? more often than not, the answer is yes.
Grow Out of It
Many people do grow out of it. More younger people are willing to admit they fear death, but not the youngest. 18-24-year-olds are not as afraid to die as those 25-44, which is the group most afraid to die. Those over 65 were the group with the smallest fear of death, but only by a tiny margin. To a small degree, as we age we get less afraid of the end, but we never truly shake the fear.
Nearly a quarter of us have a crippling fear of death which stops us from taking chances which we (irrationally) feel could kill us. Simple things:
- Reading the obituraries
- Crossing the street
- Traveling (vacation, business)
- Eating certain foods
- Home repair
- Climbing ladders or trees
- Attending funerals or burials
Merriam says fear is an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger, an anxious concern. When fear stops us from doing other things, it becomes a problem. No one surveyed said they did not have fear. Makes you wonder where the fear of death originates.
Remember, all the numbers are talking about people who fear death, not merely those who dislike death (as in those who did not fear the creepy animals, but did dislike them). These are people, when you talk about death, their:
- heart rates
- breathing rates
- blood pressure
- brain activity
- adrenaline levels
- body temperatures
…all go up. These are people who have physical manifestations of fear…even those who claim just a heart palpitation.
Now, I want to hear from you. Think about your own answers. Think about the answers of people you know. You can admit to your own or pawn them off on my friend, but I do want to hear from you.
And thank you for your patience in waiting for this post. Barring a catastrophe, I am nowhere near the computer when this goes live on Tuesday morning.
Why do people fear their plane is going to fall from the sky? Why are people afraid to die of a snake bite? What makes people fear death?