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Our threshold to terrifying situations grows with exposure

I'm reading "Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger" right now by Peter Bevelin, which is excellent. Author Bevelin is talking about fear here -

Fear warns us of potential harm and keeps us from acting in self-destructive ways. It helps us avoid threats and makes us act to prevent further damage. Fear guides us to avoid what didn't work in the past. Fear causes worry and anxiety, a normal response to physical danger. It activates hormones like adrenalin and cortisol, which keeps us attentive to harm since we need full attention to escape from a threat.

The degree of fear we feel depends on our interpretation of the threat and our perception of control. The more helpless and vulnerable we feel, the stronger our emotion for fear becomes.

He goes on to give an example of how your body will react if you're walking down a deserted street at night and hear noise behind you. You'll naturally start to breathe faster, grow more aware, etc. - an instinctive response. He continues:

What we fear and the strength of our reactions depends on our genes, life experiences, and the specific situation. You may react instinctively at first, but if the situation is one that you'be experienced before (since our brain is continuously being "rewired" with life experiences), the final reaction may be to calm down. [...] The more we are exposed to a stimulus, even a terrifying one, the higher our threshold of fear becomes.

Awareness of Cycles

On The Awareness Blog

As you might be aware, we all have cycles of specific negative emotions that continue to come up in our lives.

Be aware that you have a need to feel the emotions. There is a part of you that feeds on these emotions, and will die if it cannot be fed.

When the negative emotion arises, be aware that you have a need to feel the emotion. The emotion is not caused by the thing that triggered it. Rather the trigger was the excuse or the catalyst that allowed you to feel the emotion that you are addicted to.

Your need to feel the emotion causes your reaction to the event to be disproportionate to the stimulus. This is what happens when people way over-react to small things. They are feeding the addiction to their own negative emotions.

With awareness you will be able to chose how to react to the stimulus. This way you can stop feeding the addiction by no longer over-reacting,

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