1. What you're scared of: Terrorism
What you should actually be scared of: Antibiotic resistance
Now this is a proper existential threat. "Superbugs", ordinary germs that have evolved a resistance to the antibiotics we use, are already implicated in around 700,000 deaths a year. A review by the UK government estimated that by 2050, that figure will have risen to 10 million.
Even worse, if antibiotics become useless, much of modern medicine will become unworkable. Major surgical procedures such as caesarean sections and open heart surgery rely on the use of antibiotics, as does chemotherapy.
2. What you're scared of: Murder
What you should actually be scared of: The sniffles
Above violence in the WHO's list were diabetes (988,000 deaths), diseases of the genitourinary system (848,000 deaths), and lower respiratory tract infections (3,884,000 deaths). Even the flu might be more of a threat. Influenza kills between 250,000 and 500,000 every year, and you probably don't live in constant fear of the flu.
3. What you're scared of: Ebola
What you should be scared of: Mosquitoes
More than a million people die every year from mosquito-borne diseases. Malaria is the biggest killer, but even the little-discussed yellow fever kills around three times as many people every year as Ebola has in this outbreak: Around 30,000, almost all in Africa. Dengue fever and chikungunya fever also cause large amounts of death and suffering.
4. What you're scared of: Nuclear power
What you should actually be scared of: Coal power
Meanwhile, coal power kills, according to one study, 100,000 people a year in India alone from air pollution. Another study at Tsinghua university found that 670,000 people die in China for the same reason. Estimates vary, because good data is hard to get hold of, but it will certainly be in the hundreds of thousands.
Another way to look at it is how many deaths are caused per unit of electricity created. According to Forbes magazine, for every trillion kilowatt-hours of nuclear power made (the US uses about four trillion kWh a year), about 90 people die. That figure is 170,000 for coal.
5. What you're scared of: Stranger danger
What you should actually be scared of (sort of): Child heart attacks
…for scale, De Becker gives the comparison of heart failure in children. Almost no one worries about their child spontaneously having a heart attack, but according to the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, there are 0.87 cases of "new onset" heart failures per 100,000 under-16s. In the US, that translates to about 600 per year, or about six times as likely as your child being abducted.
"Out of nearly seventy million American children, fewer than a hundred a year are provably kidnapped by strangers. A child is vastly more likely to have a heart attack, and child heart attacks are so rare that most parents (correctly) never even consider the risk," says De Becker.
6. What you're scared of: Flying
What you should actually be scared of: Driving
According to the World Health Organisation, 1.24 million people died on the roads in 2010. That works out as 18 deaths per 100,000 people per year. You are about 2,500 times more likely to die on the road than you are in a plane, and even if you're a frequent flier, the risk is still negligible compared to driving.
Our fear of flying itself has deadly consequences. In the year after 9/11, the number of Americans flying dropped by between 12% and 20%, while the number driving went up dramatically. But because driving is so much more dangerous than flying, one professor of risk, Gerd Gigerenzer, estimated that an extra 1,595 people died that year, in accidents on the roads.
7. What you're scared of: Sharks
What you should actually be scared of: Almost literally anything else
Here is a brilliant list of 20 things that kill more people than sharks. On that list: Volcanoes; texting; deer; hot dogs; bathtubs; and roller coasters. You really don't need to worry about sharks, at all.