Fear is actually a result of the human ability and a habit of deducing things that are going to happen around us. Since humans often think about what will happen next, the adult body reacts back quickly and thus, adrenaline is secreted and heart rate increases. The sudden withdrawal is not fear but as soon as the unknown next comes, the thought process in our brain is what invokes fear. And, fear is not just a sudden surge in your heartbeat or the sweat on your body; instead it’s an emotion/ a feeling and not just your reaction to a particular situation – in layman’s terms, fear is the feeling which comes from your deductions of what will happen next.
At times, fear might be useful because it can act as a survival mechanism that alerts us to dangers and keeps us alive. Your fear, for example, ensures you look right and left before you cross the road. If the human species did not evolve to be afraid, we’d be extinct. On the other hand, when fear increases, it can consume you and hold you back from doing something positive. Like moving, for example!
No matter how stressful or frustrating moving can be, it represents change –changing to a new life/ a fresh start. However, the scariest part of moving is fear of the unknown, also known as metathesiophobia. This phobia prevents people from changing their circumstances and is also closely related to the fear of moving, commonly referred to as tropophobia.
Why Do People Fear the Unknown?
Life is unpredictable and the consequences of the unpredictability are direr. This is the main reason why humans live in a paradox of fear. We fear the known because we know the end result; you know what can happen if you drink and drive or if you jump off a bridge. But, what terrifies us the most is the unknown; what we don’t know makes up deeply afraid. Most people, for example, fear death the most because they don’t know the absolute certainty of what will happen next.
Similar, when it comes to moving, some are naturally wired to fear the change or the unknown. They can’t guarantee the house they would move to matches the online description; they can’t guarantee the movers will keep all their stuff intact; they can either guarantee they’ll like the new neighborhood or they’ll make friends in the new city. In short, moving can bring up a lot of fears that are common to all of us.
Here’s what Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist, has to say about the fear of the unknown:
“When we choose to create a change, such as moving to a new home or shifting jobs, we feel more in control of the outcome. If the change is brought about by forces outside of our control, whether a boss, a pandemic or an accident, we feel disempowered. From an atavistic [aka ancient] perspective, our brains are hardwired to prefer routine and consistency. Our ancestors preferred constancy as they inherently knew that change often brought a lack of safety. When life feels predictable, we experience less stress and anxiety because we know what to expect. When life doesn’t feel predictable, and we are uncertain about what might be around the next corner, we feel stressed and anxious.”
How to Tell if You Have a Fear of the Unknown?
Although being scared of the unknown is quite common among people, how to tell if you are suffering from this fear?
You’ll find below some scenarios that will help you recognize if you have a fear of the unknown.
- You’ve completed everything that was featured on your moving checklist and yet you feel like something’s not right or you are extremely anxious.
- While everyone in the family is happy to move, you seem to be unhappy.
- You experience heart palpitations as soon as you think of leaving your old house and moving into the new one.