Why We Fear The Dark And How To Overcome It!
No matter the age, we all know that feeling of fear when walking into a dark room. If you find yourself a little uncomfortable when the lights go out, your not alone. Many people are terrified of the dark, wondering what horrible things are lurking out of view. Today we are looking at scotophobia, exploring what it is that makes us so afraid of darkness and what we can do to overcome it.
Why do we fear the dark?
The origins of this fear are somewhat complex. The fear of the dark is, at least in part, a reaction to the evolution of early humans. We have in us a fundamental genetic memory of a world without artificial light, where our ancestors were truly vulnerable to the darkness and dangers beyond their peripheral vision. The dark used to be the domain of big cats and other predators that hunted at night. So, back in those long gone-days, being wary of the darkness wasn’t only an emotional reaction, it was an essential survival tool.
To survive, we decided to build a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, one that involved spending less time in the shadows, and more in the warmth and safety of a campfire. But what is it we fear in modern day darkness?
In a world where we spend the dark hours of the day tucked safely in bed, there’s not much to fear. Darkness, despite being for some a manifestation of the terrifying unknown, has nevertheless held on to its place in our psyche as a place of vulnerability. For many, it’s more likely a fear of the unknown and the endless potential of the things out of sight. Whilst it’s highly unlikely that ghost and ghouls are hiding in the corner of your rooms, the fear of prowlers and burglars is highly justified reason to sleep with the light on.
How to Overcome Fear of the Dark
The fear of darkness, is not just of the dark itself, but of what is in the dark. Many people have a preconceived idea of the dark, or at least a poorly formed one, and their mind can create a whole host of creepy, scary things for them to be afraid of. A lot of this is down to our genetics and our early experiences, but also our development as children. The key to overcoming this fear is to first recognizing it for what it is, an irrational reaction to something.
When we look at the world around us, we are always creating ways to protect ourselves from danger. It is in our nature to discover and fix the things that are perceived as being dangerous, and yet, the only way to fix an irrational danger is with an rather rational reaction, to avoid it. That is why many who suffer with scotophobia choose to sleep with the light on.
The problem comes in how we perceive that world. Most of us don’t actually know the true extent of the threats that are lurking out there, if in deed they actually are out there. That is why it is important to take a closer look at the world around you and understand fictional threats from those very real ones, especially when the lights go out.
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