|Most people want to experience a happy life but some avoid it at all cost believing that something bad might happen afterwards / Photo by 123rf.com|
Most people want to experience a happy life and some even spend their whole lives pursuing it. Many individuals may devote their time to giving others happiness which causes them to feel good in return. Conversely, there are people who avoid it or anything linked to it at all costs.
These people who try to stay away from things that could make them happy suffer from Cherophobia.
Cherophobia is a mental health condition that causes its sufferers to be reluctant to feel happiness because of their belief that afterward, something bad might come out of it.
Even though it is a condition that needs to be explored further and is not officially listed in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), Healthline says it is considered as an anxiety disorder.
It is said to be a rare condition and is also stated to be curable.
What is Cherophobia?
Cherophobia is derived from one of the Greek terms “chero” meaning “to rejoice”
It is defined by Goalcast as simply the fear of happiness.
Experts say that being afraid of happiness may be a result of a past trauma that happened right after they a happy event. In effect, it makes them believe that happiness always comes at a price or that anything associated with it will just cause them pain and suffering in the end.
People who suffer from Cherophobia are described by Business Insider as those who are fearful that if they attempt to have a carefree and happy life, tragedy will soon come upon them.
Although not much is known about Cherophobia, there are two traits that experts believe that can cause this:
Since introverts are known not to socialize frequently. Since social activities often perceived as potentially fun and happy activities, which they tend to avoid, this can result in loneliness. This loneliness can cause anxiety and depression which can be connected to Cherophobia.
However, it is clarified that it does not mean that a majority of introverts suffer this. It just means that there may be a tendency for them to have this.
A perfectionist might be made to believe that people who tend to engage in fun activities are individuals who are lazy and are unproductive.
Basically, they view happiness as something that would hinder them from maintaining their perfection.
It is also further elaborated that this may come from a happiness/punishment relationship during their childhood years, being afraid of having a conflict with a loved one or an experience that is linked to a certain event. If a person becomes used to something tragic happening straight after a happy event, they may not want to try going again.
A person having Cherophobia does not mean they are always said. It denotes that they tend to avoid situations that could give them some sort of happiness that may eventually cause them pain.
Signs that a person is affected by this condition, as stated by Procaffeination includes:
1. Feeling anxiety when someone invites them to a fun gathering
2. Refraining from joining fun events and activities
3. Avoiding events that could make their life happy or positive with the notion that something negative will happen afterward
4. Quick beating of the heart and fast pulse
5. Feeling intense nervousness
6. Shortness of breath
7. Unreasonable sweating
Can It Be Treated?
There are no known treatments specifically aimed to cure Cherophobia. However, it is recommended that they can undergo therapy and make use of self-help techniques.
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Under this therapy, the therapist can help the person deal with their issues by guiding them on how to change their manner of thinking and behaving. It can aid them in determining mental blocks and pointing out their unconscious beliefs that trigger their fear.
It is a therapy used to help manage mental problems such as breaking an individual’s bad habits.
This involves the individual using relaxation techniques which include:
1. Deep breathing
|Meditating is one way for self-help treatment of cherophobia / Photo by 123rf.com|
Cherophobia is explained by Carrie Baron, a psychiatrist, to be a defense mechanism that was developed because of a problem or trauma. Trying to change their negative thoughts about happiness may lead them to recover from this phobia. He said that treating Cherophobia the way depression is treated not going to help the patient. However, psychotherapy may benefit the individual with this mental health condition greatly.
Besides undergoing therapy and learning relaxation techniques, it is also advised that they try journaling their thoughts. Together with this, they must try to find the root cause of their fear and aversion for happiness. Reflecting on past experiences that could have lead to this can teach them not to think that being happy has negative consequences.
Cherophobia patients are also advised to be more open in exposing themselves to happy activities so that they would not equate happiness with pain.