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on 03-Aug-2018 (Fri)

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Fear is a basic, automatic response to a specific object, situation, or circumstance that involves a recognition (perception) of actual or potential danger.
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In terms of cognitive therapy, the main characteristic of fear is a thought of imminent threat or danger to one’s safety.
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Anxiety, in contrast, is a much more prolonged, complex emotional state that is often triggered by an initial fear. For example, you could feel anxious about going to visit friends because they live in an older home that might have spiders or about going to the movies because the film might contain a scene with spiders. The basic fear is of encountering a spider, but you live in a state of persistent anxiety about the future possibility of being exposed to a spider. So anxiety is a more enduring experience than fear. It’s a state of apprehension and physical arousal in which you believe you can’t control or predict potentially aversive future events. Thus you might feel anxious thinking about an important interview, going to a dinner party where you don’t know people, traveling to an unfamiliar place, your performance at work, or a deadline. Notice that anxiety is always future oriented; it is driven by “what if?” thinking. We don’t become anxious over the past, what has already happened; rather, we become anxious over imagined future adverse events or catastrophes: “What if my mind goes blank during the exam?” “What if I don’t get all my work done?” “What if I have a panic attack in the supermarket?” “What if I get the H1N1 influenza virus by being around people?” “What if I encounter someone who reminds me of the assailant who attacked me?” “What if I lose my job?” This enduring emotional state that we call anxiety is the focus of this workbook.
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You may be having difficulty identifying the core fear that occurs when you feel anxious, because most of us focus on the feelings of anxiety more than on what is making us anxious. Ask yourself “What is so threatening or upsetting about this situation?” and “What’s so bad about this situation?” Sometimes the core fear in anxiety is simply the fear that you’ll feel anxious. If you’re still having trouble filling in Worksheet 2.1, read further into the chapter and then come back to it later.
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