Fears: everyone has them. As discomforting as they can be, having deep-seeded fears is a part of the human experience, and they’re simply something we all have to conquer — or at the very least, live with.
Now there are plenty of what people call “irrational fears” out there. Mine, for example, include clowns (thanks to the great Stephen King) and sharpened pencils. These might not have any bearing on real life since it’s unlikely that these things will ever actually cause me pain or discomfort, which is why they might be categorized as “irrational.”
But then there are “common fears,” which have to do with things we have to deal with in our day-to-day life. These might include a fear of talking to strangers or claustrophobia, a fear of confined spaces.
Millions of people suffer from these aversions, and the only way you can attempt to overcome the fear is first by identifying which ones you suffer from. Here’s a good place to start: the Top 10 most common fears shared by all of humankind.
Do you share any of these fears? Read on to find out what they are and just how many people also share these phobias.
1. Fear of Heights
This fear of being high off the ground can be triggered by anything from hiking to reaching for a canned good too high up in your pantry. Being put in these “heightened” situations can cause immense fear, anxiety attacks, and strong feelings of vertigo.
Fear of heights, a.k.a. acrophobia, reaches around 5% of the world’s population.
2. Fear of Violent Weather
Another common fear is a fear of extreme weather. Those that suffer from this fear get restless at the slightest sound of thunder rumbling or sight of thick clouds. Fear of storms, lightning, and thunder can cause a hyper-awareness of the forecast and anxious feelings as soon as there is a noticeable change in the weather.
1 in 10 people suffers from lilapsophobia or fear of storm and severe weather.
3. Fear of Bugs, Snakes or Spiders
While fear of a specific animal or type of animal is incredibly common, the most typical are insects, snakes, and spiders. Research indicates that this strong aversion develops because these creatures are so different from our species, mammals.
This fear is clinically referred to as entomophobia and while we don’t know just how many people suffer from every variety of this fear, we do know one in ten suffer from arachnophobia (fear of spiders) specifically.
4. Fear of Flying
They say you’re more likely to be attacked by a shark than be stuck in a falling airplane, but statistics like that can’t necessarily calm the fear of someone suffering from a fear of flying.
This fear causes discomfort at the thought of taking a trip on an airplane, or any flying vehicle. It’s thought that the lack of control in regard to your safety is usually what stems this aversion.
A fear of flying affects almost a third of the global population.
5. Fear of the Dark
Although this fear might be especially common among kids, a fear of the dark follows many people into their adult lives. It’s important to recognize that being afraid of the dark isn’t about the dark itself, rather it’s more the fact that there could be something unknown and dangerous lurking out of sight.
This is a classic sign of fearing the unknown, but it can often be brought on by more obvious traumatic experiences; i.e. watching a horror movie when you’re young.
5% of adults claim they’re severely afraid of the dark worldwide, and 73% of kids admit the same fear.
6. Fear of Getting a Disease
We’re not talking about the zombie apocalypse (although that is another common fear) but rather individuals who are frightened of the common cold or any average illness/injury. People with this fear will often go to great lengths to prevent exposure to germs or situations that could cause illness, mainly out of the fear it could lead to their demise.
Often, this will turn people into hypochondriacs, or people who believe they have contracted many different ailments out of deep-seeded fear.
7. Fear of Blood
This fear is more about the fear of having to see blood, whether it’s the person’s own or someone else’s. Fear of blood is related to the fact that blood represents serious injuries and the risk of death, with similar anxieties relating to fear of illness.
Thousands of people suffer from hemophobia worldwide, often resulting in fainting episodes, severe anxiety, and an accompanying fear of needles.
8. Fear of Dying
An all-encompassing fear, the fear of death often results in many other phobias (such as the previous two examples). This fear can be so intense that it prevents them from leaving home for fear of something putting them in harm’s way. It’s also common for this fear to cause tense reactions when the person hears about anything related to death, even when it’s about other people.
Necrophobia is the #2 most common fear in the world.
9. Social Phobia
Also known as social anxiety, this fear is widespread, affecting one in five Americans. It’s actually the most common fear in the entire country, ranging from interacting with strangers to chatting socially with co-workers and even speaking in front of others.
10. Fear of Closed Spaces
This well-known fear is called claustrophobia and makes being inside small spaces, like elevators or rooms without windows, unbearable. The person feels a sensation of compression, as is the room was getting smaller and smaller.
However, the space doesn’t have to be small to feel this anxiety, either. People often experience a variation of claustrophobia in large crowds, like at concerts.
Research shows 5-7% of the world’s population is affected by this phobia.
For more information on these ten common fears, make sure to check out the video below.