Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Domesday as self-therapy?

Daisy Yuhas discusses the psychology of looking forward to the End Of The World in Psychology Reveals the Comforts of the Apocalypse Scientific American Observations 12/18/2012:

"Apocalyptic beliefs make existential threats—the fear of our mortality—predictable," [University of Minnesota neuroscientist Shmuel] Lissek says. Lissek, in collaboration with National Institute of Mental Health neuroscientist Christian Grillon and colleagues, has found that when an unpleasant or painful experience, such as an electric shock, is predictable, we relax. The anxiety produced by uncertainty is gone. Knowing when the end will come doesn't appeal equally to everyone, of course—but for many of us it’s paradoxically a reason to stop worrying.

This also means people can focus on preparing. Doomsday preppers who assemble their bunker and canned food, Lissek believes, are engaged in goal-oriented behaviors, which are a proven therapy in times of trouble.
I love this quote from psychiatrist Steven Schlozman from talking to a child about what happens after the Zombie Apocalypse: "I talk to kids in my practice and they see it as a good thing. They say, 'life would be so simple — I'd shoot some zombies and wouldn't have to go to school.'" I can understand that!


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