Fear of the future (futurophobia) is a person’s subjective feeling of anxiety regarding further life events. Fear of the future is actualized as a result of exposure to stressful factors, including subjectively positive events for a person, for example, a desired move, the appearance of a child.
Fear of the future is a doubt about the ability to cope with the presented obstacles and problems. Often, a person realizes the groundlessness of the fear of the future, which is not naturally connected with objective events. Quite the contrary, the more incomprehensible is its nature, the more viscous, oppressed state can provoke them. Attempts to ignore fear are unsuccessful, and fear returns with its former power.
Fear of the future is a symptom, a signal of a violation of psychological homeostasis and it is more efficient to understand what its sources are, what problem indicates what actions are necessary to reduce the impact on an individual’s emotional sensation.
Fear of the Future - Psychology
A number of life situations can provoke a feeling of helplessness and then questions arise before a person, how to get rid of the fear of the future, how to overcome fear of the future?
In fact, the fear of the future is a fear of the unknown. Due to the expected event, its proximity or even the theoretical possibility of origin, the usual environment will change, while the accuracy of the changes and their predictability is unclear. And since it reduces the feeling of security, it provokes anxiety and manifests itself as a fear of the future.
Existential psychology connects the fear of the future with the underlying human fear of death (thanatophobia) . That is why sometimes such a fear can first appear at a fairly early age and thereby cause surprise and its depreciation, since the nature of the appearance will not be clear to an adult.
This fear is most closely related to the unknown. This fear may call a person to somehow explain to themselves the “future after” and take something to form the variant of events after that is desirable. In everyday life, the manifestations of this fear are all sorts of signs, habits and phrases, the calling of which is to reduce anxiety associated with the rituals of a particular tradition, the religious orientation of a person.
The more fears associated with the unknown, the more paralyzing effect it has on the person. Like fear in its classical sense, fear of the future causes a desire to run away, attack and, in certain cases, freeze. To attack, i.e. rushing into the battle with the unknown can be an effective method, since it involves solving the current necessary tasks and since the future is, of course, moving forward, synchronous movement will help “go on the wave” and here it is important not to treat decisions categorically and fatally.
But to escape from the future or to freeze, to “stop time” is impossible and contradicts the nature of a person who needs development along with the surrounding space. In such a situation, the fear of the future prevents one from realizing oneself effectively and taking active actions, as, growing, it provokes the feeling that the fewer actions, the less consequences, the fact that often not taken actions aggravates the situation is not taken into account.
Fear of the future - causes of futurophobia
Provoking fear of a future situation is often - the death of loved ones, sometimes even pets, illness, family and relatives, especially of a hereditary nature, trauma, traffic accidents, closeness of hostilities, moving, instability of economic position, loss and change of job, change of personal situation - divorce, wedding, pregnancy, childbirth. Situations that are not directly related to the person can also be provocative - for example, viewing news, especially those presented in shocking form. We can say that the cause may be an event that will exhaust the supply of psychological resistance, because a sequence of even events of small stress level will potentially lead to the same fear of the future as one significantly tangible one.
Often, fear of the future (futurophobia) is a symptom of depression , post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD ) and treatment of the underlying disease will help solve this problem. And although in some cases a consultation with a psychologist is sufficient, in more difficult situations a consultation with a psychiatrist may be required. It is often difficult for people in such conditions to assess the need for a specialist visit, there may be a denial of the severity of their condition or stereotypes about psychiatry and psychology, and here it is important to support the close circle, its attentiveness and care.
How to live without fear for the future?
Solving everyday tasks and dreaming of big goals, a person can often wonder how to get rid of the fear of the future?
In order for fear for the future not to interfere with the present life, it is necessary to consider what can be done now to strengthen our position and to prevent some kind of “negative future”. Undoubtedly, there are situations that are not directly dependent on our influence. But here it is important that stress resistance is a general quality of the psyche. Those. any actions aimed at strengthening will affect the general condition. For example, increasing physical stamina, you also increase psychological, the ability to overcome obstacles and withstand the load in the work environment will help with personal hardships and vice versa. And here it is important to be able to translate quantity in quality, learning to cope with tasks efficiently, using concise solutions.
Fear for the future takes our time and resources to solve current current affairs, thereby nourishing ourselves and even more selecting the opportunity to influence our condition. It is necessary to disengage this circle, and to direct our attention to everyday worries designed to improve the future.
The disease is frightening - they will be distracted by sports, dispensary preventive examinations, interest in their health in general, economic instability actualizes the need to improve their professional skills, interest in the current requirements of their position, the ability to correctly organize life, and spend resources economically.
Also, by reducing anxiety, you will be attentive to your information field. Maintaining conversations about instability, fear, panic , watching grotesquely presented news (or constantly reading them, but the visual picture is more real) traumatizes even if it does not relate to events directly occurring nearby and is a source of constant stimulation of anxiety. If relevant information is necessary for the work, it should be obtained in the form of dry numbers by reading.
If the condition is serious, then it is advisable to also pay attention to feature films. Comedies are sometimes advised, but the contrast of fun, especially primitive humor with your sensation, can cause irritability . Therefore, the best way would be to watch your favorite movie, stories, where the characters cope with overcoming life situations, directing them to philosophical thoughts. It is important to understand that this is not a complete lifelong ban, but a careful attitude to one’s current state. Drawing an analogy with somatic problems, in some conditions it takes several days, or even weeks, of a diet before you can switch to heavier foods, and even professional athletes gradually recover the load after injuries or overstrain.
A complete disposal of this sensation is achievable only with time and it is not worth considering a similar result. A significant criterion for successful overcoming is the ability to effectively and efficiently live in the current moment. A certain, positive, stress, like a slight hunger, is useful for boosting the development and cognition of the world around us, actualizing interest in life.
How to overcome the fear of the future?
One of the most frequent requests to specialists is the question of how to overcome fear of the future. A long-term strategic plan will be the replenishment and increase of the stock of psychological stamina and confidence in one's ability to adequately and successfully respond to the demands of the future. The word "reserve" well reflects the moment that the talk about a resource that can be either replenished or used up and everyday steps and thoughts affect it.
Analyze what kind of situation causes fear, what sphere of your life it is connected with. It will be relevant here to recall when such thoughts were first visited. Is this fear based on real danger or subjective? The task is to give fear a certain form. It can frighten and cause concern, but the unknown scares more. Therefore, it is better to write down all arguments and conclusions, it will also help not to concentrate on one thought - it makes no sense if everything is written down and thinking from all sides has already been voiced on paper.
At this stage, it is good to somehow visualize the fear by drawing it, albeit in an abstract form. It does not matter the quality and intelligibility of the picture to others. The goal is to see the source of fear, symbolically "give it a name." It’s also an eco-friendly way to throw out your worries.
Abstract and look at the situation from the side. It is sometimes reassuring to clarify how statistically real the situation is. Dry numbers can say that everything is more than distant. Writing and speaking out the fear can be soothing, in the sense that for an intelligible and adequate reproduction the drama should be removed, and fear without emotions is a task, sometimes with an asterisk, but potentially solved.
It is important not to discuss the emotions themselves with others. It is permissible to express them as a personal sensation, this will reduce the general tension and if the situation causing fear is connected with other people around, this will provide an opportunity to express one’s concerns and unite to solve the problem. But you should not involve others in a lengthy discussion as far as possible the occurrence of a problem. Firstly, the goal is to formulate the problem, and not to remind yourself how unsure of the ability to solve. Secondly, emotions are contagious and the more we inspire the interlocutor, the more chances to inspire fear in him. Actually, the fears of the masses arise because they are transmitted and each is fed by them at the expense of the total number of people around him who are the bearers of this fear. It is unlikely that relatives would suffer from this fear, so you should not risk them. This may be permissible in consultation with a psychologist or other specialist who professionally helps to cope with a negative emotional background.
Consider advising your loved one in this situation. Imagine that your hypothetical daughter or son would come to you with a similar problem. Here, their real presence is not significant, it is important to imagine a situation in which you will be in the position of an adult who can solve the problem. List, speak, and better write down the solution step by step, as if writing a cheat sheet. The solution involves certain actions and the next step will be their consistent and systematic implementation. This is an essential and difficult stage, requiring the use of will and determination, but it is also very significant, since it is the actions that completely remove the paralyzing and numbing effect that the fear of the future imposes on a person.
If the fear of the future has haunted you for a long time, does not allow you to live normally, perhaps you can associate its occurrence with a certain situation, and also feel that the condition is getting worse, then the best solution would be to consult a specialist. In some situations, some medication may be necessary. A prolonged depressed state is the same reason for treatment as any other chronic disease, when consultation and supervision of a specialist, a psychotherapist, is required.