What makes us afraid? 什麼讓我們害怕?

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蜘蛛、飛行、看牙醫…… 這些都是可能讓我們感到懼怕的事情。因為無法控制這種恐懼感,久而久之,就產生了恐懼症。本文討論讓人產生恐懼的原因以及應如何控制自己的情緒。

詞彙:phobias 恐懼

What are the things that scare you: snakes, spiders or creepy crawlies? Or maybe you have a fear of heights or visiting the dentist. Although some of us just get scared or a bit nervous about these things, for others it can cause an irrational reaction that can’t be controlled – something we call a phobia. It occurs when someone develops an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object.

Sometimes it’s good to be aware of the possible dangers from things. Our brain alerts us to the risks that might lie ahead, but then we often rationalise the risks and overcome them. Clinical psychologist Warren Mansell told the BBC: 「Our fears are hard-wired into our brains – we don’t need to learn to be afraid of animals like snakes or spiders.」 But phobias are stronger than just fears. Warren says: 「An area called the amygdala in the brain is recognising a threat and preparing your body for fight or flight.」 With a phobia, your breathing gets quicker, your pulse speeds up, you sweat, there’s more glucose in your blood, increasing your energy, and your brain is unable to control these reactions.

But where does a phobia come from? Speaking to the BBC, Lauren Rosenberg, a fear and phobia expert, says: 「Phobias usually are a copy behaviour from a higher authority, like a parent or teacher, or something you have learnt from your own experience.」 Or a trauma from a past event that comes back to haunt you.

There are many different complex phobias some people suffer from, such as agoraphobiatriggered by being away from home, social anxiety disorder – feeling anxious in social situations, and iatrophobia – fear of doctors. But how can they be overcome? Cognitive behavioural therapy is one option, where you gradually get used to whatever it is you fear. Lauren Rosenburg says she likes to work with people to clear their subconscious memory and help them breathe. But if you do have a phobia, continually trying to avoid what you’re afraid of is likely to make the situation worse, so it’s a good idea to find help to overcome it.

詞彙表

scare (使)害怕
a fear of 對…害怕
irrational 不理智的,荒唐的
sense of danger 危機感
rationalise 合理地解釋
overcome 克服,戰勝
hard-wired 根植於,天生的
amygdala 杏仁核(產生、識別、調節情緒的腦部組織)
threat 威脅,恐嚇
fight or flight 戰鬥或逃跑,或戰或退
breathing 呼吸
pulse 脈搏
sweat 出汗,流汗
trauma 精神或心理創傷
haunt 長期困擾,(使)經常苦惱
agoraphobia 恐曠症
trigger 引起,引發(壞事)
social anxiety disorder 社交焦慮症,社交焦慮障礙
iatrophobia 醫生恐懼症
cognitive behavioural therapy 認知行為療法
subconscious 潛意識的

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. What do we normally do to overcome something we might fear?

2. How might we develop a phobia?

3. When we have a phobia, what happens to our breathing?

4. True or false? Social anxiety disorder is a fear of feeling anxious.

5. Why should you not continually avoid what you’re afraid of?

2. 選擇意思恰當的單詞或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. My brother can’t play football because he has an _______ fear of balls.

rational                  hard-wired               irrational                trauma

2. Bad memories of my school days _______ me every time I drive past it.

haunting                haunted                   haunt                     haunts

3. I’m still recovering from the _______ of being attacked by a dog.

trauma                   scare                       anxious                  threaten

4. When threatened by a robber in the street, I didn’t know whether _______ would kick in.

fight or fight           flight or flight           fight or flight           flight and fight

5. My friend has two cats, so when I visited her, it _______ my asthma.

iatrophobia            overcame                triggered                sweated

答案

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。  

1. What do we normally do to overcome something we might fear?
We rationalise the risks and overcome them.

2. How might we develop a phobia?
A phobia can develop from copying the behaviour from a higher authority, like a parent or teacher. It could be something you have learnt from your own experience, or from a trauma you experienced in the past.

3. When we have a phobia, what happens to our breathing?
With a phobia, our breathing gets quicker.

4. True or false? Social anxiety disorder is a fear of feeling anxious.
False. Social anxiety disorder refers to feeling anxious in social situations.

5. Why should you not continually avoid what you’re afraid of?
Because continually trying to avoid what you’re afraid of is likely to make the situation worse.

2. 選擇意思恰當的單詞或詞組來完成下列句子。

1. My brother can’t play football because he has an irrational fear of balls.

2. Bad memories of my school days haunt me every time I drive past it.

3. I’m still recovering from the trauma of being attacked by a dog.

4. When threatened by a robber in the street, I didn’t know whether fight or flight would kick in.

5. My friend has two cats, so when I visited her, it triggered my asthma.