MSNBC has posted an interesting article about conquering your fear of dogs. Here’s a snippet:

“To me, big dogs looked like wolves, and little dogs are so jumpy. If I see a big dog, I’m terrified. Little dogs I avoid because they bark and I’m always afraid they’re going to nip,” she says.

Sometimes phobias develop after a bad experience with an animal or simply through lack of exposure to them, but often they originate as a type of panic disorder, for no apparent reason, says David Carbonell, author of “Panic Attacks Workbook.” “This kind of fear can be really powerful.”

I think the most interesting thing about this article is that those of us who deal with chronic anxiety on a regular basis can really relate to the symptoms and responses that are described in this article. Yet, for me, a fear of dogs seems completely irrational. I love dogs more than most humans. In fact, I honestly don’t know if I could’ve made it this far in life without my canine companions. My dogs have helped me through rough patches, and not by being soothing or caring, but by reminding me that they had no idea what was going on and they didn’t really care so long as I continued to feed them and hang out. I think the genuine simplicity of dogs is unparalleled and we could learn a lot from it.

But I’m getting off-topic.

As I was saying, one individual’s fear is another’s love. You may fear dogs but I want to approach even the most ferocious looking animals. So the core problem here isn’t the “trigger.” You’re actually not afraid of dogs per se, you’re actually afraid of your perception of dogs. Perhaps misperception is a more accurate word. When you see a dog, your mind generates thoughts, ideas, and images, and it’s this automatic response that tells the brain “beware!”

Anyway, my point is this: always keep in mind that your fear of dogs or cats or clowns or heart attacks is not actually caused by the trigger itself, but rather by your reaction to it. By changing your reaction, you can significantly alter your perception of the feared object/event.

Check out the article.
It’s not too shabby.

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