How can some people live with phobia’s for years and years and then suddenly overcome them? While others can live with phobias for the majority of there lives and never overcome them? The secret to overcoming phobias for most people is through disassociating yourself from the habit. How do you do this you ask?
Imagine Jennifer has a fear of flying, yet she has to fly twice a year for business trips. She spends nights not being able to sleep, thinking about the upcoming trip that is unavoidable. She even considers quitting the job she loves to avoid the bi-annual meeting she conducts for her company. Think of all the time Jennifer wastes worrying about this problem. Time that she could be spending with her family, or on a hobby.
One day a friend helps her realize how much time she has lost over this fear and gets her to do a little exercise. He helps her by getting her to focus on how stupid she feels orchestrating her life around a fear that other people don’t have. A fear that has no basis in reality. He gets her to imagine all of the times, back-to-back, the stupid scenes she has created on the plane, or prior to her trip, and watch them as if she spliced these scenes all together but this time from the perspective of an outside observer. She gets angry! She watches these videos of herself and watches herself in these scenes and says, “This is completely ridiculous.” He gets her to watch these videos a series of five times in a row until she says, “enough is enough, I am not going to live this way anymore.”
Sounds too easy? Well this exercise actually works. Most times that we imagine situations, we place ourselves in the middle of the imagination, which creates a sense as close to experiencing it, as actually experiencing it. When we imagine and imagine from outside of the scenario we are creating a disassociation from whatever we are imagining. This keeps the emotions in check and allows us to see more accurately.
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