How Our Imaginations Can Help Us Fight Against Fear

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How to Use Your Imagination to Overcome Your Fears
Anything is possible if you use your imagination. Is it possible to ride a dragon? It’s as simple as that. Imagination is what permits us to be creative and come up with novel solutions. According to new research based on brain scans, our imagination can also assist us in overcoming our anxieties and concerns.

You can use your imagination as a strong tool to help you overcome your anxieties.
Our imagination is a fantastic resource. It has the ability to comfort us at difficult times and to assist us in solving issues, creating new things, and considering alternative courses of action.

Some academics believe that our imagination, which allows us to imagine various situations, lies at the heart of what distinguishes humans from the rest of the animal kingdom.

Furthermore, previous research suggests that what we envision has a very real impact on our minds and bodies.

For example, a 2009 study published in the journal Psychological Science discovered that when we envision doing something, our thoughts and body anticipate it as if it were an actual activity.

Another study published in Current Biology in 2013 found that thinking we are hearing specific noises or seeing certain forms can alter our perception of the world in real time.

According to new research from the University of Colorado Boulder and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY, what we think might appear just as genuine to our brains as real experiences.

According to the researchers, we can use the “magical powers” of our imagination to help us overcome chronic anxieties and anxiety disorders, as they describe in their study paper published in the journal Neuron.

Prof. Tor Wager, co-senior author of the study, states, “This research indicates that imagination is a neurobiological reality that can alter our brains and bodies in ways that matter for our wellbeing.”

The power of your imagination

Psychologists may propose “exposure treatment” to assist people overcome their phobias or anxiety disorders. This method involves regularly exposing a person to fear-inducing stimuli in a perfectly safe environment in order to desensitise them to them.

This can aid in the dissociation of those cues from a sensation of threat and imminent negative effects.

Researchers employed functional MRI to scan participants’ brains and analyse brain activity in both real and imagined circumstances including unpleasant triggers in the current study. The goal was to discover if and how imagination could assist us in letting go of bad associations.

The study’s lead author, Marianne Cumella Reddan, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, says, “These innovative findings bridge a long-standing gap between therapeutic practise and cognitive neuroscience.”

She continues, “This is the first neuroscience study to show that envisioning a danger can actually change the way it is represented in the brain.”

In the current investigation, the researchers enlisted the help of 68 healthy volunteers who were trained to link a specific sound with an uncomfortable but non-painful electric shock.

The participants were then divided into three groups. The researchers played the sound that the individuals had come to connect with an unpleasant physical feeling to those in the first group.

Those in the second group had to imagine hearing the same sound instead, while those in the third group — the controls — had to envision pleasant sounds like bird trills and raindrops. There were no more electric shocks for the contestants.

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