Metathesiophobia – the fear of change. Change can be an intimidating prospect for anyone. Human beings have preferred to live lives controlled by a routine, which created a feeling of comfort for them. We create a comfort zone for ourselves, and stepping out of it is sometimes a step too far.
Fear of change, or metathesiophobia, is an extreme fear of change that prevents us from trying new things and getting out of our comfort zone. It’s completely normal to be intimidated by the unknown that change can bring. But it’s when this fear is getting in our way and it prevents us from achieving our goals and living our life fully that it can be obstructive.
Studies from 2019 shows that many young people and young adults are afraid of change, but many adults and the elderly are also unwilling to change, but to a lesser extent. Some fear is normal. But someone who is excessively afraid of change will feel like they’re controlled by life and they will prefer to live in the past rather than move on. This can bring on a plethora of mental problems, such as depression, anxiety, as well as physical symptoms when one is exposed to a possibility of change.
Fear Of Change – Causes
Metathesiophobia often has underlying mental disorders that prevent people from changing and become afraid of change. Past experience with change can also bring an irrational fear of it, while our human nature is not used to a lot of changes in a short period of time to start with.
- Fear of the uncertainty that change brings. Our brain is hard-wired to become used to a routine, and it wants to make sure everything is certain and clear. And change is the exact opposite of that – we want to feel in control, and change can bring on chaos and uncertainty. Someone might start to panic just based on stories they make up in their mind. They start to imagine how it would look like if they changed and get scared of it as a result.
- Past experiences with change. Fear of change can also be the result of constant changes in the childhood of a person that’s afraid of change. It requires us to adapt to the chaos. If someone has moved around a lot in childhood as a result of death, financial difficulties, or other factors, they become afraid of change.
- Underlying mental problems or weaknesses. If someone’s insecure or anxious or depressed, the last thing they’ll want to do is make a drastic change. Social anxiety, for example, prevents people from meeting new people and thus making changes in their lives. In these cases, we need to diagnose and solve the underlying problems first before accepting change.
- Being stuck in the past. It’s not easy to get over a relationship, for example. We can easily start ruminating about what could have gone differently, and how things have gone so wrong. We don’t move on, and this makes us afraid of the future – we’re afraid of “more of the same”. While that’s normal sometimes, it’s vital that we learn that everything is not so black-and-white.
Fear of change manifests itself in several symptoms that range in severity. Life with this phobia will become very difficult; options will seem limited, and people suffering from this phobia will prefer to look back to the past instead of moving forward. These are the most common symptoms.
- Panic or anxiety attacks when change is possible. If the possibility of a change is becoming a more and more possible option, then someone who suffers from this phobia will start to feel intimidated. They might start to panic, and this panic can be either mild or severe. In that case, several symptoms of panic attacks will start to develop – heart palpitations, fast heartbeat, sweating, nausea, shaking or trembling, dry mouth, confusion, and dark thoughts of death.
- Rejection of all new things. Someone with a fear of change will reject anything new, or anything that appears to be new and requires them to change. This new thing would threaten their comfort zone, and they reject it instead.
- Cutting social ties is also common. They will start making excuses not to try new things and meet new people, as well as cut existing social ties. This can lead to loneliness and depression. The person knows this fear is irrational, but they can’t overcome it.
Fear Of Change – Treatment
If change makes you feel uncomfortable, uneasy or unsafe. You want to be more at ease with new experiences or when outside your comfort zone but can’t. If your reluctance to change is holding you back then you need to take action.
The good news is that a fear of change can be beaten … you CAN get over it.
Apart from the usual forms of traditional therapy and, in particular, CBT there’s one highly effective treatment program which avoids the need fr costly and time consuming face to face therapy. It’s aptly called the Overcome Fear Of Change program and is a self-hypnosis audio session. At less than $15 it represents remarkable value for money. Not only that but it comes with a full money back guarantee so you’ve really got nothing to lose.
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