They say that sadness can be addictive, but can anyone be afraid of being happy?
Some psychologists and scientists have classified it as cherophobia, a new and strange phobia that prevents us from being happy . We explain what this disorder consists of, its most common symptoms and how it can be treated.
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What is cherophobia or fear of being happy
? Cherophobia or cherophobia can be defined as the inexplicable fear that some people feel of reaching a positive state . This concept of “fear of being happy” may be difficult for some to understand, but it seems that patients shy away from all those positive thoughts that make them feel better. This can have multiple explanations.
Every day we are subjected to multiple stress situations, whether in the family or work environment, and therefore we have less and less space for well-being. It is not the feeling of happiness itself that cherophobics fear, but the fear of being happy and then losing everything. It’s like being constantly worried about what can go wrong, believe that happiness is the prelude to something negative.
As some experts point out, a more realistic view of life does not always imply a pessimistic view . Sometimes, we must recognize that we are better than we think and share that happiness with others to create a more pleasant climate. In short, it is about losing the fear of being happy.
The blogger Stephanie Yeboah points out in an interview with the newspaper ‘Metro’ that “the fear of being happy does not necessarily mean that you are constantly sad. In my case, my Cherophobia is triggered by traumatic events. Even things like celebrating a success, overcoming a difficult task, or landing a new client make me uncomfortable.”
What are its symptoms?
UsuallyIntroverted or perfectionistic people are more likely to suffer from this strange phobia. In the case of introverts, they prefer to focus on individual activities and can feel intimidated in a group, while perfectionists tend to conceive of happiness as a characteristic of lazy or unproductive people.
Some experts link the fear of being happy with mental disorders. In this sense, patients suffering from depression experience this type of rejection of positive emotions. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not include cherophobia as a disorder in itself, but some health experts point out what are the usual symptoms of the fear of being happy.
- Anxiety at the thought of a joyous social gathering, such as a concert or party.
- I reject opportunities that can trigger positive changes.
- Aversion to participating in activities that most consider “fun”.
Is there a treatment?
If you present these symptoms and you want that to change, you should know that there are a series of suggested treatments to overcome the disorder. These treatments do not include medications or specific processes, but they are effective in the medium and long term.
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is based on teaching the patient to recognize the thoughts that can make him reach unhelpful conclusions . In the case of cherophobia, these thoughts can be of the type “I feel that I do not deserve to be happy”, “when someone feels good they let their guard down” or “if I am happy, a misfortune will come that will ruin everything”. CBT has, as its ultimate goal, to eliminate those thoughts.
Relaxation exercises can help the patient understand that a feeling of well-being is not always followed by a negative event. We talk about exercises like deep breathing, journaling or hypnotherapy .
3. Exposure to “happy” events
Like relaxation, continued exposure to events that most people consider “fun” or “happy” will help the patient understand that positive emotions don’t have to have adverse effects.