Fear...The 600lbs Monster in the Room
Most people are familiar with the definition of Arachnophobia: the fear of spiders.
It’s the most common phobia. Followed by Ophidiophobia: the fear of snakes, Acrophobia: the fear of heights, and Aerophobia: the fear of flying.
In fact, if you search for phobias, there are literally hundreds of listed phobias from which people suffer. Below are a few I found that you might not have heard of before.
What exactly is a phobia?
A phobia is known as an irrational or extreme fear of something. The something can be caused from a particular situation, a certain place, an object, or an animal.
What happens to people who suffer from a phobia?
A person can experience a long list of symptoms, some of which include: a rapid heart rate, nausea, sweating, crying, and dizziness. These physical manifestations can even be experienced by just the thought of their phobia.
I empathize with people suffering from debilitating heath issues, including those struggling with phobias. And I would hope they would seek out professional medical treatment if possible.
For people who do not suffer from a phobia, hearing about someone fearful of gravity or the fear of the figure 8 seems can seem irrational. To the person who suffers from the particular phobia, the sense of fear is real, so real in fact, that they experience a physical response.
As a financial professional, I appreciate how even people who do not suffer from a phobia can still be conditioned to be fearful of all sorts of things the financial media anoints as the current 600lbs monster in the room (see the picture above). We have 24-hour news channels filling us with all sorts of anxiety laced financial news; we carry little devices in our pockets that continually provide updates with everything that is going wrong, could go wrong, or in an alternate universe, did go wrong. All of this needlessly feeds our fears.
And most of the time our fears are misguided, caused by the incessant outside noise we all experience every day.
What can we do to combat this onslaught we endure?
While, I won’t ever claim to be a medical expert, there are some basic steps you might try to claim a bit of calmness and balance.
Remember, the media will ALWAYS find something you should be worrying about.
Right now, the two big media stories are:
What do you think the media will focus on in 2022, 2023, or even 2030?
Why do I ask this? Because the misgiving media will never run out of scary things to push on us.
Almost one hundred years ago, FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
And he was right.
-Paul R. Rossi, CFA
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