Extinction. It’s a term you might attribute more to dinosaurs than overcoming your fears.
So what is it?
The phenomena where a response to a stimulus is eliminated by repeated exposure to the stimulus.Extinction (psychology)
In other words, by exposing yourself to something, you can eliminate your response to it. There’s much more to it, but you get the gist.
So why is this important? The answer relates to fear. Fear is a common malady that we all face. Life is scary. Fortunately, we have this secret weapon – Extinction.
Arachnophobia is the intense fear of spiders.
Amy was determined to overcome it. Little did she know it meant letting that hairy thing take a stroll right over her face. But neither would she have thought to be cured of her fear in 7 days. That’s the power of extinction. You face your fear without trying to escape it.
The good news?
Extinction works for almost anything, you name it: Public speaking, social phobia, OCD, fear of heights, phobias, fear of fear, fear of thoughts, PTSD. The list goes on.
Now, the results are unlikely to be as fast as Amy. But, with dedication, nothing can withstand the power of extinction.
Two steps to extinction
- Expose yourself to what you fear.
- Do not try to escape it.
When things get hard, remember that without fear, you can’t be brave. Finally, if you’re ever unsure what to do, ask yourself this:
What would I do If I weren’t afraid?Spencer Johnson