Feeling frightened? Say so. A new study finds that speaking your emotions out loud can help you confront your fears.
People who fear spiders are less distressed upon approaching a large, hairy tarantula when they say, out loud, that they’re afraid. Voicing fear was a more effective tactic at banishing it than the soothing self-talk (“That little spider can’t hurt me”) more often used when people confront their phobias, researchers reported.
“This is unique because it differs from typical procedures in which the goal is to have people think differently about the experience — to change their emotional experience or change the way they think about it so that it doesn’t make them anxious,” study researcher Michelle Craske, a psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a statement. “Here, there was no attempt to change their experience, just to state what they were experiencing.”
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