Does Facing Your Fears Help You Get Over Them? - Deepstash

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Does Facing Your Fears Help You Get Over Them?

http://www.brainfacts.org/thinking-sensing-and-behaving/emotions-stress-and-anxiety/2018/does-facing-your-fears-help-you-get-over-them-080118

brainfacts.org

Does Facing Your Fears Help You Get Over Them?
Whether it's large crowds or air travel, most of us avoid the source of our fears like the plague. We'll pass up the chance to see our favorite musician play a packed concert venue or we'll opt to drive cross-country rather than hop on a plane. But should we do the opposite?

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What fear is

Fear is the body's alarm system — it’s an innate emotional response to a perceived personal threat. 

 There are two different types of alarms, panic and anxiety, both of which are adaptive. Immediate threats activate the panic alarm, while anticipating a threat sometime in the future involves the anxiety alarm.

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Our brain when we're afraid

Our brain when we're afraid

A perceived threat sends information to the brain's emotional processing and learning center, called the amygdala. The amygdala sorts out the data within tens or hundreds of milliseconds. If it registers the threat, then it fires off a series of physical changes. Heart rate, breathing, and sweating increase in the fight-or-flight response because the body is preparing to flee or to fight if escape is impossible.

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Best way to get over fears

Best way to get over fears
A healthier way to cope involves facing the fear.

Getting over a fear is an active process that requires learning and retraining the brain. Essentially, you are training higher-level brain areas to overcome signals from areas like the amygdala so that you can put threats into a more realistic context.

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental health disorder that begins after a traumatic event. Events may include:

  • A natural disaster like a tornado
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Words, sounds, or situations that remind you of trauma can trigger your symptoms. Symptom categories:

  • Intrusion: Flashbacks, where you relive the event. Clear, unpleasant memories or nightmares about the incident and intense distress when you think about the event.
  • Avoidance: Avoiding people, places, or situations that remind you of the event.
  • Arousal and reactivity: Trouble concentrating, easily startled, feeling of being on edge, irritability, moments of anger.
  • Cognition and mood: Negative thoughts, feelings of guilt, worry, blame, trouble remembering parts of the event, reduced interest in activities you enjoyed.

PTSD treatment

If you're diagnosed with PTSD, you will likely be prescribed therapy, medication, or both.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or "talk therapy" helps you to process the traumatic event.
  • Exposure therapy lets you re-experience elements of the trauma in a safe environment. It desensitizes you to the event and lessens your symptoms.
  • Antidepressants, anti-anxiety drug**s, and sleep aids** may help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

A Child's Mental Health

A Child's Mental Health

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Antidepressants And Opioid Epidemic

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Smartphones and Social Media

Across age groups, social media is potentially hazardous, with its tendency to amplify the social divide.

There is a strong relationship between anxiety/depression and the use of smartphones, particularly social media usage among kids, though the data also seem to show the positive effects of staying connected with their peers. Online distractions also make youngsters give up their offline life, leading to isolation and further depression.

Not backed up by science

Not backed up by science

While popular, researchers say there is a serious lack of evidence to back up mindfulness apps, even though they are increasingly perceived as proven treatments for mental health. 

Seeking scientific validation

A handful of studies have been published on the efficacy of mindfulness apps, thanks in part to Headspace, one of the most popular apps in the field. In hopes of getting its app scientifically validated, the organization has partnered on more than 60 studies with 35 academic institutions. In the meantime, in lieu of research proving that apps work, marketers tend to draw misleading, but attractive claims.

The paradox of mindfulness apps

Mindfulness disrupts unhelpful habits. If you get distracted easily or have addictions, mindfulness helps curb these habits. But, in contrast, apps become popular and profitable by getting users lightly addicted to repetitive use. So, can an app really treat addiction, or is it inherently part of the problem? As of now, we don’t know the answer to that question.