We have many words to describe fears. In fact there may well be a word for every fear or phobia. Why is that?
True, many of the names fears and phobias are a little more esoteric. Not in most people’s vocabulary. For example…
Athazagoraphobia – fear of being forgotton or ignored
Chionophobia – fear of snow
Alektorophobia – fear of chickens
Geniophobia – fear of chins
Sesquipedalophobia – fear of long words (ironically)
However there are common examples we are all familiar with; such things as…
Agoraphobia – fear of open spaces
Xenophobia – fear of foreigners
Technophobia – fear of technology
Claustrophobia – fear of confined spaces
Arachnophobia – fear of spiders
Technically we could replace phobia with philia (Greek origin) and turn these into loves or addictions, but we don’t have these in our daily lexicon. How many -philias do you know or use?
Why such rich language for negatives when we don’t have the same plethora of words to describe the love of something?
What does this say about our societal focus on the bad or negative, and how does this impact our human psyche?
That worries me.
How is it that the sun makes us feel good?
I’m ignorant here but I’m sure there are physiological reasons; warmth, light, vitamin creation etc., but also psychological and emotional reasons.
I’ve just been looking out the window at a sun drenched plaza. People are sitting on steps, eating, drinking, standing, chatting, walking purposefully. The trees are showing their first signs of bud. The colours on the brick built cathedral stunning. The shadows evocative. The light glorious. The mood inviting.
I’m inside. I can’t feel the warmth; the sunlight isn’t landing on me directly and the sun isn’t being overly energetic with any chemical in my body… and yet just gazing at the scene makes me feel good. Bring me sunshine…
Eric and Ernie were right.
For many centuries, great sages, such as Aristotle, Bhudda, Confucius and Epicurus have advocated the pursuit of happiness. They have suggested happiness comes from within, from creating an inner peace, from reflection. Happiness of the mind, rather than of things.
Now science appears to be catching up. I have just been reading about a study at Kyoto University. The research, reported here, has identified a part of the brain, the precuneus, which appears to be larger in people who self declare themselves to have meaning in their lives, who report positive emotional and cognitive experiences and describe themselves as happy. This has been correlated to studies into meditation, which show that the precuneus grows in people who make meditation a part of their lives – it seems that calming our thoughts, being present in the current moment can exercise our happy muscle.
The research speaks of psychological training that could increase the volume of grey matter in the precuneus, which in turn may enhance subjective happiness. The report’s summary says…
Psychological studies have shown that subjective happiness can be measured reliably and consists of emotional and cognitive components. However, the neural substrates of subjective happiness remain unclear. To investigate this issue, we used structural magnetic resonance imaging and questionnaires that assessed subjective happiness, the intensity of positive and negative emotional experiences, and purpose in life. We found a positive relationship between the subjective happiness score and gray matter volume in the right precuneus. Moreover, the same region showed an association with the combined positive and negative emotional intensity and purpose in life scores. Our findings suggest that the precuneus mediates subjective happiness by integrating the emotional and cognitive components of happiness
Time to flex the happy muscle?
Now that’s a happy thought…