Is coronavirus invoking fear of happiness in people?

Coro Danger Dr. Annie Gaisie

Wed, 13 May 2020 Source: Dr. Annie Gaisie

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means that life is changing for all of us for a while. It may cause you to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely or frustrated.

It's important to remember it is fine to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently.

Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass. It is okay to be happy through the pandemic. Nothing tragic will happen just because you have found reason to be happy. Being afraid to be happy doesn’t bring you any benefits or positive outcomes.

Some psychologists describe happiness as the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.

It is easy to create your own happiness and choose positivity over negativity.

Choose to be happy with who you are right now and allow your joy to shape your present and your future. Do the things that make you happy more often, spend time with those who bring out your smile and create your own happiness.

Many people are developing Cherophobia. A new form of phobia, where a person has an irrational aversion to being happy. When a person experiences cherophobia, they’re often afraid to participate in activities that many would characterise as fun, or of being happy.

Symptoms of cherophobia (fear of being happy):

Some medical experts classify cherophobia as a form of anxiety disorder. Anxiety is an irrational or heightened sense of fear related to the perceived threat. In the case of cherophobia, the anxiety is related to participation in activities that would be thought to make you happy.

Someone who has cherophobia isn’t necessarily a sad person, but instead is one that avoids activities that could lead to happiness or joy.

Examples of symptoms associated with cherophobia could include:

• rejecting opportunities that could lead to positive life changes due to fear that something bad will happen.

• Refusal to participate in activities that most would call fun.

Some of the key thoughts a person who experiences cherophobia may express include:

• Being happy will mean something bad will happen to me.

• Happiness makes me a bad or worse person.

• Showing that l am happy is bad for me or for my friends and family.

• Trying to be happy is a waste of time and effort.

Possible Causes of cherophobia:

Sometimes cherophobia can stem from the belief that if something very good happens to a person, or if their life is going well, that a bad event is destined to happen. As a result, they may fear activities related to happiness because they believe they can ward off something bad from happening to them.

This is often the case when someone has experienced a past physical or emotional traumatic event. It is the believe that Covid-19, is being a trigger and high risk situation for some people.

An introvert may be more likely to experience cherophobia. An introvert is a person who typically prefers to do activities alone or with one to two people at a time. They’re often seen as reflective and reserved. They may feel intimidated or uncomfortable in group settings, loud places, and places with a lot of people.

Perfectionists are another personality type that may be associated with cherophobia. Those who are perfectionists may feel happiness is a trait only of lazy or unproductive people. As a result, they may avoid activities that could bring happiness to them because these activities are seen as unproductive.

Is there any treatments for cherophobia?

Because cherophobia hasn’t been largely detailed or studied as its own separate disorder, there aren’t approved medications or other definitive treatments that a person may pursue to treat the condition.

However, some suggested treatments include:

• Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a therapy that helps a person recognise better ways of thinking and identify behaviors that can help them change

• Relaxation strategies, such as deep breathing, journaling, or exercising

• Exposure to happiness-provoking events as a means to help a person identify that happiness doesn’t have to have adverse effects.

Not everyone with an aversion to happiness necessarily needs treatment. Some people feel happier and more secure when they’re avoiding happiness. Unless cherophobia is interfering with their own personal quality of life or ability to maintain a job, they may not require treatment at all.

However, if the symptoms of cherophobia are related to a past trauma, treating an underlying condition may help to treat cherophobia.

Cherophobia often comes when people try to protect themselves, stemming from a past conflict, tragedy, or trauma. If cherophobia is affecting quality of life, seeking treatment with a doctor can often help.

Although it can take time to change the way you think, with continued treatment, you may be able to conquer your fears and remember that, Covid-19 is only temporary. Surround yourself with happy people, happiness can be contagious too.

By: Dr. Annie Gaisie, Psychologist - Addictive Behaviour.

Email- dovewomen@gmail.com

Columnist: Dr. Annie Gaisie