Glamour – It’s Not Just You: Lots of Adults Are Afraid Of The Dark
Not many of us admit it, but lots of adults are afraid of the dark. And it doesn’t mean you are crazy or never grew up. Like most other sorts of anxiety, this fear can be adaptive if you are willing to listen…
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That’s because the fear comes from a very logical place. “Darkness impairs our vision, quite literally, and this is inherently uncomfortable,” explains licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D. “We aren’t afraid so much of the dark as we are afraid of what is in the dark we can’t see.”
It’s not necessarily bad to be a little nervous in the dark, since Clark points out that it motivates you to protect yourself. “Walking down a dark alley at night should make us feel uncomfortable so that we sharpen our self-protection skills should they be called upon,” she says. “Likewise, avoiding walking down a dark alley alone is being smart. Being uncomfortable can prompt us to do something about it, and this is a good thing.”
If you find that you struggle with being in the dark, Clark says, “be curious about what is actually frightening you, and use your fear to take action against these threats, making sure that there is nothing is in the dark that is threatening.” For example, if you’re scared of someone breaking in to your place, considering fortifying locks on your doors, getting an alarm system, or taking a home safety class to learn what you can do to make your place safer. “Knowing you have done what you can to protect yourself can calm your fears when they kick in,” she says.