Exploring Cherophobia: The Fear of Happiness
An aversion to happiness, cherophobia is a version of an anxiety disorder that halts sufferers from participating in activities that may bring joy or happiness.
By definition, cherophobia is an irrational aversion to happiness. It’s not the activities that are terrorising, it’s the fear that if you let go of your worries and troubles, and are happy and carefree, then something terrible will happen.
People with cherophobia have problems to allow themselves to feel the slightest form of joy or pleasure as they feel undeserving of it. The belief is that happiness is not constant and only bad luck will follow, so there’s little point in experiencing happiness in the first place.
Recognising Cherophobia – Symptoms
Some symptoms associated with cherophobia include:
- Refusing to participate in activities that would be joyful.
- Assuming that being happy means something bad will happen.
- Refusing opportunities that could lead to positive changes due to anxiety around something bad happening afterwards.
- Increased anxiety at the thought of social events like parties.
- Thinking that trying to be happy is a waste of time and effort.
While these symptoms may indicate cherophobia, certain people are more to experience the aversion to happiness such as survivors of physical or emotional trauma. They may reject partaking in joyous activities due to the constant anxious feeling of something terrible happening. Trauma survivors also have the tendency to surround themselves in comfortable and familiar environments as it gives them a sense of control over what will happen. Introverts may also be more prone to experiencing cherophobia as they are more reserved, and may feel irritation and discomfort in groups of people and loud places. Perfectionists who tend to hold firm beliefs that happiness is a waste of time and activities that exhibit happiness are a waste of time, diverting one from productivity may also be victims to cherophobia.
Although cherophobia hasn’t been extensively researched, approved and effective medications to treat are not yet available, therapists and psychiatric experts have conducted some research and have provided therapies that may help in coping with the disorder.
research suggests that cherophobia is innate. However, that does not mean that people cannot overcome it with strength. Those missing the so-called “happy gene” do not have to surrender to their fate. Experts suggest that certain therapies such as Cognitive-behavioral therapy, Hypnotherapy, Exposure Therapy and relaxation techniques can help in battling cherophobia. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for those suffering from cherophobia. However, there are sources of happiness from which everyone can draw.
Seeking help from a mental health professional is imperative to gain more clarity and to also receive proper treatment and guidance for cherophobia. However, before doing so it’s important to question your perception of happiness more accurately and ask yourself some basic but important questions such as: what is happiness for me? Who or what helps me to be happy? How do I want to find happiness? The answers can lead you to escape cherophobia and your fear of happiness.
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