Why do we have ir­ra­tional fears?

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWOCENTS - By Lisa Linssen

Iam sure I’m not the only one in China that has met for­eign­ers who are ir­ra­tionally picky about their food and con­stantly ques­tion the qual­ity. They are very skep­ti­cal to­ward lo­cal pro­duc­tion and Chi­nese cui­sine. So, in­stead of buy­ing the fresh milk from cows in China, they buy the ul­tra-pre­served milk from Aus­tralia, South Korea or Aus­tria. In­stead of buy­ing the sea­sonal fruits that are avail­able from China, they buy very ex­pen­sive im­ported prod­ucts. In­stead of in­dulging in the lo­cal cui­sine, they only eat what they know from back home. Why? Be­cause they have ir­ra­tional fears about crops grown in China.

I don’t know a sin­gle per­son who doesn’t have ir­ra­tional fears. Some­times they are a bit weird but mainly funny. Take mine for ex­am­ple. I am scared of dy­ing of thirst. That’s why wher­ever I go I have at least a liter of wa­ter with me. But some­times ir­ra­tional fears can re­ally keep a per­son from liv­ing their life to the fullest po­ten­tial. One of my friends is scared of fly­ing that she tries to avoid it as much as she can.

An­other friend is scared of plan­ning va­ca­tions and trips, so she barely ever goes on hol­i­day. Re­cently she de­cided to go on a trip but wouldn’t book her ho­tel and flight un­til the night be­fore. Imag­ine how much money she wasted be­cause of fear? My boyfriend is an­other good ex­am­ple. De­spite lov­ing to ride bikes back in Europe, in Beijing, he re­fuses to use a bike even for a few me­ters. He says he is scared of get­ting into an ac­ci­dent. Sure, the sit­u­a­tion on Beijing’s streets is more chaotic than in Ger­many, but one can get used to it very fast. No mat­ter how many ar­gu­ments I make, his ir­ra­tional fear of get­ting into an ac­ci­dent while rid­ing in the streets re­mains!

But why do we have ir­ra­tional fears and where do they come from? It’s prob­a­bly a com­bi­na­tion of var­i­ous fac­tors. For ex­am­ple, my fear of dy­ing of thirst. Maybe as a child, I once woke up very thirsty and didn’t have any­thing to drink close to me. Com­bined with a movie or a book that tells a story about dy­ing of thirst, an ac­tive imag­i­na­tion can re­sult in ir­ra­tional fears. Our brain can con­nect dif­fer­ent events and feel­ings that have emerged in­de­pen­dently of each other, so harm­less things can sud­denly scare us.

Ir­ra­tional fears can erupt sud­denly in adult­hood, but they are most likely con­nected to some­thing that hap­pened to us as a child that wasn’t pro­cessed. They can also emerge from very stress­ful or emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ences, such as a painful sep­a­ra­tion.

If your fears limit you, there are ther­a­pies to help you learn how to over­come them. Some­times it also helps to ad­dress them slowly. For ex­am­ple, if you fear gro­ceries or cuisines from China, try buy­ing them one at a time. So maybe one day you buy a pack of fresh Chi­nese milk and try it and see that it does not harm you. The next time you could get an ap­ple from a street ven­dor and so on. This way, you could get used to lo­cal prod­ucts and re­al­ize that they are noth­ing to be afraid of.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.