We have nothing to fear but fear itself
Franklin D Roosevelt
Did you know almost 9% of the American population suffers with a specific phobia or extreme fear, with spiders, snakes and heights being named front runners as the most common!
When we are unfortunate enough to suffer a phobia it can feel as if everything about it just disgusts you to your core!
Even the mere thought of our phobia can cause a sickening wave of discomfort to channel throughout the body. Its so uncomfortable that we avoid any pursuit or activity which risks us coming into contact with it.
In life we avoid things that trigger negative emotions and pursue activities that bring about positive ones. Its common sense!
When we develop a phobia the exact same principle is applied.
The surprising truth is that we do not actually fear the object or situation that causes us so much distress. Instead its the negative feelings we have conditioned our minds to associate with it!
For many It can be hard to comprehend that we don’t actually fear that slow, hairy, creeping eight legged arachnid , but its 100% true!
Ok so to break it down, a phobia develops when our mind registers a particular object or situation which may have caused us some threat or harm and triggers a negative association with it. Next time we encounter sed object our body and mind is conditioned to go into panic mode and therefore we experience all those nasty negative feelings and remove ourselves from the situation to calm us down.
When we encounter our fear our first instinct is of desperation to seize feelings of panic no matter what. Typically we move ourselves away from the situation to ‘safety’.
Hence the famous saying by Franklin D Roosevelt.
We have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Its a clever response when you really delve into it. its simply evolutions way of protecting our existence and ensuring our safety in a situation the mind has perceived as a threat.
However there are situations where irrational fears develop for no identifiable reason, such as spiders. This can be the result of cultural beliefs, observing parents with phobias and even instinct. Sometimes anxiety disorders can also increase chances of developing irrational fears.
However even fears that seem ‘irrational’ will have been conditioned by the brain as a threat to our survival at some point in our lives.
Many solutions for overcoming phobias stress facing your fears which is correct but many still don’t really understand how this method actually works.
When we face our fear our body goes through several states. We begin by instantly going into fight or flight mode whereby our body becomes flooded with adrenaline. At this point our instinct is telling us nothing but to get the hell away!
However If we remain strong and stay in the feared situation our body eventually runs out of adrenaline and the situation no longer causes us discomfort. Sometimes it can take minuets other times it can take hours.The next time we go into the feared situation the same adrenaline rush is triggered however this time its not quite as intense and descends faster.
Each and everytime we face our fear the quicker our body descends to a calm state. Eventually we get no reaction.
When it Doesn’t Work
The problem for many comes when people remove themselves from the feared situation before there panic has settled down which is what keeps phobias persistent even though people make an active effort to face them.
You become so overwhelmed with panic that you fear you will feel like that forever.However it is not physically possible to remain in flight or flight mode for an extensive amount of time. This is because our body’s adrenaline reserves will eventually run out.
This is why it is important to build up to phobias in stages and start with activities that don’t overwhelm us to the point of flight or serious stress.
The Frustrating part is that even though we consciously know our phobia will not harm us or that we are being irrational, just knowing this alone does not cure us. We still have to do the hard work to convince our brains otherwise. Its that primitive!
However having this knowledge in mind would definitely help us apply the correct tools and practice to see better effective results.
This blog is meant as an informative guide to help people with phobias to understand the subject better.
Anyone really suffering with a phobia should always seek medical advice from a trained professional.
hope you found this blog informal and interesting.
please give my Facebook page a like for all things postive and quirky.