Our Top Five Fears


Table of Contents

Five of the most Frightening Fears

Everyone is afraid of something. It doesn’t matter where you live, the year you were born, your skin colour or creed, our top five fears are a natural component of the human experience. They part of our primeval, genetically determined survival instinct. Without them, our chance of recognising danger and avoiding it or defending ourselves would be considerably reduced. The whole point of those top five fears is to keep us safe.

Fear is a normal emotion but, occasionally, it can needlessly affect our quality of life and wellbeing. In general, fear is a necessary response to a situation we should be scared about. It provides information  about perceived threats so we can take action to protect ourselves.

The top five fears are part of our primeval, genetic makeup, there are five basic fears that are prevalent:


This is an anxiety about death or being dead. We’re born survivors, so it is a completely natural fear of annihilation which is deeply embedded within us all.   Symptoms include an increased heart rate and panicky sensation which put us on ‘red alert’ physically in preparation to defend ourselves or run away from life-threatening situations.

Injury and pain

This fear helps keep our body as perfect and healthy as possible. The way our body performs can have a big effect on odds of survival. When we are scared of certain animals like stinging insects or snakes, this fear originates from the instinctive fear of mutilation.

Loss of Independence

Losing control of any aspect of our lives is frightening because it potentially prevents us from protecting or taking care of ourselves. Anyone who has ever felt helpless and dependent in any circumstances is open to exploitation or even abuse.  Trapped in a state of  anxiety, the only way to restore peace of mind is to take back control.  If this isn’t possible, our very survival is threatened.


Our emotional wellbeing depends on a sense of belonging or community.  Historically, we are tribal, and without the safety and protection of loved ones, we die.  In traditional fairy stories, being ‘banished from the kingdom’ is a fate worse than death. So, fitting in, feeling valued, supported and loved are fundamental to our survival.  This instinctive need means approval and the acceptance of our peers is important and embarrassment and self consciousness, which manifests as social anxiety, makes us fearful and disempowered.


Our ego, or who we think we are, is fragile in the face of humiliation or shame. Self-worth, confidence, authenticity and integrity are essential for mental stability and to maintain core beliefs about identity.  Without these, we become unstable and uncertain, untrusting and confused.  Many self-help authors offer guidance to help with this because it is a challenge we are all confronted with at times and there are no simple fixes.

These five fears are retained deep inside our conscious and subconscious selves. Each and every single one of us are challenged in different ways at different times which make us all ‘works in progress’ throughout our lives.

Tunbridge Wells hypnotherapist Karen Martin said: “Fear and anxiety are really useful.  They’re not the weaknesses, flaws or guilty secrets we often regard them as.  They are information about what is difficult, dangerous or life threatening and help us to survive and fulfil our potential.

“If fear is stalking your wellbeing and making you anxious without good reason, it’s time to get some professional help. Hypnotherapy techniques and strategies are fantastic at desensitising, dissociating and deconstructing the causes of unnecessary fear. It’s often a last resort as sufferers either suffer in silence or work their way through the many an varied means of dealing with the complexities of fear.

“A subconscious response which we have not rational, logical, conscious control over, fear is treated effectively with hypnotherapy at the cognitive level at which is occurs, enabling the sufferer to take back control over emotions they didn’t think they had any control of.”

Karen has many years experience treating a wide range of conditions and disorders. Anxiety in its many forms, from phobias to panic disorders, and behavioural change, like weight management and smoking cessation, are issues she specialises in and has a consistent track record of successfully treating. Karen also teaches hypnotherapy and counselling on university accredited Chrysalis Courses.