Specific Phobias

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Persistent Fear Of An Object Or Situation

A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that causes a person to fear a certain object or situation. It’s not known why phobias occur in some people but not in others, but it’s safe to say that genetics and the environment are at play once again. Genetics dictate our personality traits, so if your parent had a specific phobia towards spiders, there’s a good chance that you will too.

The environment plays a role as well. For instance, if you were bit or startled by a spider as a child, the environment has now conditioned you to be afraid of spiders from that point on. There are many different types of phobias:

  • Pteromerhanophobia: fear of flying
  • Claustrophobia: fear of enclosed spaces
  • Trypanophobia: fear of needles
  • Astraphobia: fear of storms
  • Gynophobia: fear of dogs
  • Agoraphobia: fear of places and situations that might cause panic, helplessness, or embarrassment

. . . and the list goes on. But just because you have a phobia does not mean that you cannot get rid of it. Therapy such as exposure and response prevention is exactly what it sounds like: a person is exposed to their phobia and are refrained from their ritualistic or compulsive behavior that functions to decrease their distress.

It’s also known as “flooding”: the person is placed in a situation that causes them to encounter their fear without escape. An example is a flight simulation room for people who are afraid of flying. The person is exposed to the flight simulator, causing them excessive fear and anxiety, but they are not allowed to leave the room until their fear and anxiety have dissipated.

Many people can have a fear or general discomfort to the most common phobias, but they do not allow them to affect their lives. But someone with a phobia cannot function when it comes to their fear. For instance, if a person is required by their job to fly to different conferences around the world, they will request from their boss to be reassigned another position.

Or worse, they will attempt to fly and have the worst panic attack of their life, possibly requiring a medical evaluation and disruption of public affairs. After one or two awful experiences, they will most likely quit their job. But someone with a general discomfort towards flying will continue to fly if need be, with no adverse effects.

That is the difference between a person with a general discomfort towards something and someone with a specific phobia. It almost always comes down to perception: how you view yourself and your surroundings dictates how you will interact with your environment. The best medication is you! You have the power to change how you think, and the objective almost always comes down to, “what can I do to change my perception of my reality?”

If you can figure that out, then you’re on the right path to defeating your phobia.

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Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Negativity Breeds Negativity

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Negative Blackholes

The more time that you spend around negative people, the more you will become like them; negativity is contagious. There is something magnetic about negativity; it spreads like wildfire through everybody that it touches. And the more that you expose yourself to it, the more that you inhale its toxic fumes!

People do not seem to realize that once they enter a state of mind that circles around negative topics, complaints and bleak outlooks, they end up attracting more negativity into their lives. At the unconscious level, negativity attracts more negativity because you become comfortable in this state of mind.

Negative comfort” is when you start feeling remorse for yourself because of the situation that you are dealing with. By feeling bad for yourself, it paradoxically becomes soothing and comforting, but in a negative manner. You start to believe that you are the victim fighting against the “bad guy” or “the system.”

To make things even worse, when other people start feeling bad for you and join in on your negativity, the energy exponentiates itself; groupthink can have a very powerful effect! Now you are receiving more “negative comfort” from others around you, which feeds more into this negative cycle that has entered your life!

The solution is to not partake in negativity and back away as soon as you sense it. Do not let it creep into your life; it is very easy to fall trap to negative forces. Whenever you are feeling negative, allow the emotions to marinate for a few hours at most, and then transition into a positive state of mind. Brush it off and move forward by staying positive!

In addition, do not partake in the group negativity that may surround you at certain times in life. If you have no choice and you have to be surrounded by negative people (i.e, your co-workers) then let them be negative, but do not add gasoline to the fire. Show them the opposite: that you portray positivity and high spirits!

Be a leader by demonstrating high moral grounds and a positive attitude!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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