Fear and anxiety are two of the most paralyzing emotions and can literally bring your life to a screeching halt. The simplest example I can think of is when I see a centipede. I usually stop, scream and run in the opposite direction. I refuse to go into the room where the centipede is until someone else goes and kills it. If it gets away, that room is off limits for a few hours. It does not matter if I need something in that room or have to take another route to get to another room. I let that little centipede (with all those legs!) stop me from doing what I wanted or needed to do.

Fear caused by trauma, failure, rejection and loss in our lives can do the same thing on a much larger scale. It manifests as anxiety, which may make us avoid someone. It may make us sabotage wonderful opportunities that come our way. We start to believe we are unworthy of success, unable to make a good decision or achieve happiness. We develop a psychic ability to know the future is doomed without any knowledge of the future. Fear takes over and overwhelms us, putting us in survival mode. Under duress, not trusting our ability to do anything, we ultimately make really bad decisions or simply stop making them. We lie to others because we know they won’t like us if they really know us. All of this snowballs, leading to more distress, despair and psychological paralysis. Life stops moving forward.

For many people, anxiety is a serious psychological problem that includes physical symptoms such as shortness of breath or panicking. Different situations trigger it. It is critical that you consider therapy and medication. Psychiatrists and psychologists can help you understand the root causes of your anxiety and help you develop the tools needed to manage it.

You can rein in the fear and take control of your life. The blog roundup this Tuesday looks at what we fear, how it overwhelms us, how we can control it and even how we can use it to our advantage.

Best of Our Blogs: July 16, 2013

What Does Google Autocomplete Tell Us About Anxiety
(And Our Relationship With It)? (Panic About Anxiety) – While this blog post does not delve deep into the root causes of fear and anxiety or how to treat it, it’s an interesting look at what people worry about. This blogger goes to Google and types in different phrases that lead to a dropdown menu full of anxieties. And if Google Autocomplete is capturing these phrases, that is a sign you are not alone in your anxieties.

Fearing the Future
(Living with Chronic Pain) – Fear often arises after a negative event such as a serious illness. This blog presents the fears of a young woman who is living with chronic pain. She is worried for the future and she presents very good questions about what the future will hold for her as she learns to live with the pain.

(Anxious) Life After College Graduation: The Lies
(Panic About Anxiety) – If there is one life event that can cause anxiety, it’s college graduation. No longer is life divided up by semesters (with breaks in between), exams, house parties and your favorite soap opera. And thanks to a shaky job market, many college grads have lots of loans to pay back and few prospects for a good job. This guest blogger shares her thoughts about how quickly life has changed and her fears about it.

How to Prevent Anxiety Avalanches
(Psychology of Success in Business) – This blog illustrates the snowball effect — actually the avalanche effect — of fear and anxiety. The negative thoughts that build up as fear takes over drown you in doubt, distress and despair. But you can stop that snowball of negativity from barreling down the hill by changing the course of your thoughts.

Happiness: What’s Fear Got To Do With It?
(Cultivating Contentment & Happiness) – Is fear the key to happiness? This may seem crazy when you think about what fear can do. But when this blogger lays out the ideas in the book Embracing Fear: How to Turn What Scares Us into Our Greatest Gift, you learn how fear can be used to help you succeed: It’s not the end result that matters, but how you respond to the situation.