All our fears—no matter how irrational they may seem to us today—are in some sense survival-based. The instinctive, cautionary behavior that underlies modern anxiety had its roots in the conditions of primitive life, especially as it was lived cooperatively by groups or tribes. It didn’t matter what was being avoided: attention to the subtleties of social interaction had the same survival value as obvious protective mechanisms like fear of heights or revulsion toward rotten meat. These impulses may have helped our ancestors avoid all sorts of unfortunate consequences. But tens of thousands of years later, in a civilized setting, the same impulses appear somewhat neurotic. It appears that …

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Robert L. Leahy ©2016

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