Advertisement

Why do fears get worse over time?

Todd Farchione, PhD
Psychology
Research shows that when we respond to our fears by running away and avoiding them, we can actually feed the fear and make it worse over time.

For situations that are dangerous (and should be avoided), this really isn’t a problem. In fact, it can be adaptive. But for fears that are less rational, or appear to be excessive or less adaptive given the nature of the situation, we need to respond differently.

The emotional part of your brain is incorrectly responding as though something is dangerous, resulting in feelings of fear. The fear you’re experiencing is essentially a false alarm. And that’s exactly how you should try to respond to it.
Changing behaviors is an effective way to teach the emotional part of your brain to settle down and ultimately lead to a reduction in your feelings of fear. 

This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com.

Continue Learning about Emotions

Combat Feeling Sad with a Good Memory
Combat Feeling Sad with a Good Memory
Do you ever find yourself feeling sad but don't know exactly why? Tempted to just brush past it? Well, don't. Understanding the source of your sadness...
Read More
What is the difference between emotions and feelings?
William B. Salt II., MDWilliam B. Salt II., MD
From a neurobiological standpoint, emotions are generated in your body when your limbic system (...
More Answers
Who is Phineas Gage?
Discovery HealthDiscovery Health
Phineas Gage was a nice, dependable railroad worker who, in 1848, suffered an accident that sent a r...
More Answers
What Are the Physical Effects of Anger?
What Are the Physical Effects of Anger?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.