I was thinking today that there is a phenomenon that I am not sure has been specifically named before which I am calling, “hyperbolic anxiety.” Hyperbole can mean “exaggerated statements or claims that are not meant to be taken literally.” Simply, this is the experience of having a sensation or a thought or feeling and almost immediately imagining that this specific sensation is a signal of danger. For example, if someone feels a strange but mild feeling in his stomach or chest, he immediately feels “hyperbolically” that the sensation means has a terminal illness. Another example is hearing about the terrorist attack in Paris or California and feeling that oneself or ones children is in imminent danger of being attacked by a terrorist. Hyperbolic anxiety causes tremendous stress if one emotionally believes the hyperbole. The more we can learn to develop an observing part of ourselves that can create distance and reflection the more peaceful one can be. Psychotherapy individually or in group can help someone develop a another view of the world instead of hyperbolic anxiety.
Seasons Greetings to everyone and Happy 2016.