How much stimulation is enough?

Posted by Rex Alexander on Wed 17 Apr 24 in Anxiety, Cognitve (Behavior) Therapy, phobias |


Do you find roller coasters and “thrill rides” to be stimulating and exciting or frightening and enervating? 


Do you feel panicky or dull when you do not get your usual dose of stimulation? Me thinks we are all becoming just a little bit “faux-ADHD” in the modern, digital world.

Disney is putting virtual reality on it’s new roller-coaster to enhance the experience. My gawd! Isn’t the reality of the roller coaster experience stimulation enough already???


Takabisha at Fuji-Q Highland in Fujiyoshida, Japan. OMG!


Hulk, Universal Orlando Resort, Florid


The takeaway, from the REBT standpoint, is that the quality of the experience we have on a thrill ride–pleasant or unpleasant–is largely determined by how we interpret that experience, that is, what we tell ourselves about the experience.

(A) The the activating event at “A” is a combination of three interwoven events: 1. the roller coaster itself,  2. the experience of height, then of various g-forces alternated with zero-g, and then the sensation of falling, and 3. physiological reaction to them such as heart pounding, stomach churning, sweating, etc.

(B) At the level of belief or “B” we tell ourselves about the experience, which reduced to its essence, is probably something like either  “How horrible!” or “How exciting!”  

(C) At the level of emotional consequences or “C” we may experience terror or exhilarating, depending on what we are telling ourselves.

Not that one is usually able to just wiggle his or her nose and change what we believe about being on a roller coaster, but it decidedly can be done. The “cure” for this “phobia” would be largely the same sort of desensitization/exposure program as for any irrational fear or phobia. Let’s face it, the fact is that riding on a roller coaster is very safe. And while you may choose to indulge or never to indulge, the fear associated with it is not in response to an actual threat, but rather to an imagined or manufactured threat.

So we have a coaster lover and a coaster phobic taking the same roller coaster ride in the same roller coaster at the same time.  Lover is having the time of his life, Phobic is in five-alarm panic mode: Same roller coaster.  Identical g-forces. Presumably, similar physiological reactions: Two completely different and opposite experiences.

It is not events “out there” that determine how we feel, but rather the interpretations we give to those events. 

And that’s the truth!









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Originally posted 2016-05-18 21:55:56.

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