This video is well presented and engaging, and I learnt that the four participants who had different kinds of fears and phobias were actually going through an experiment to demonstrate the power of placebo effect without realising it. The man who could look down from a height without experiencing the nervousness and palpitations associated with the fear of heights probably thought the drug and injection he took was working when actually his mind had convinced him that he would not have this fear once he had taken the “medicine”. I think this demonstrates the power of the human mind to calm and heal ourselves when we choose to believe we will be well and peaceful.
I learnt from this article about the well known power of placebo effect.
“Although we may not know exactly how it works, the idea that the mind can affect the body has been around for thousands of years and is well-proven in certain situations. Many ancient cultures depended on mind-body connections to treat illness. Shamans or medicine men would not have viewed their efforts as placebos. But their healing powers may have worked partly through the patient’s strong belief that the shaman’s treatments would restore health. Or it could be that a sick person was going to get better anyway, but the recovery was thought to be because of the treatment — which might have really done nothing for the illness.”
(From “Placebo Effect“)
Overall, I find the documentary fascinating and riveting in learning how far our mind can bring us through to overcome our fears and phobias when we believe we can do what we used to be afraid of, as seen in the examples of how the participants gradually overcome their specific fears, such as fear of speaking to strangers, fear of heights and bridges, and fear of singing in public. The documentary is empowering as it reminds us viewers that we are not alone in dealing with fears and phobias; as a matter of fact, I feel a sense of affinity with the participants and I find myself rooting for them, hoping they would succeed in mustering courage and confidence in doing what they aspire to do. The hypnotist Derren Brown is also helpful and empathetic in wanting his test subjects to succeed as well, such as at one point when the lady decided to try singing in the street as a busker for the first time, he said he understood she would be feeling nervous, and he also felt nervous for her. He also celebrated together with the participants in their eventual triumphs over their fears.
I suppose there are several factors that help people to overcome their own fears: admitting and facing their fears, practising visualisation of how they will deal with the fear, and allowing themselves to be encouraged by their supporters.
I learnt from this article about the power of suggestion and how practising it can be effective in helping me to overcome fears over time.
“One method to enhance the power of suggestion is repetition. Think of advertising, or songs on the radio. So remember to repeat the same suggestions with no less confidence or enthusiasm each time you do it. Of course they can also be amazingly powerful when only used once, as this is often how phobias are caused. Self Hypnosis is something that you can get good at and learn more about the more you practice. It is helpful to practice a few times each day, if only for a few minutes.”
(From “Power of Suggestion“)
I am in the process of facing and overcoming certain fears myself, such as fear of speaking to a crowd (I would say there is some progress compared to say, 20 years ago), fear of creepy crawlies such as cockroaches (as long as they are kept at a distance, I am fine), and fear of seeing too much blood. This video encourages me to accept that having fears may be a normal part of being human and is nothing to be ashamed of, and at the same time, to see that we can help ourselves and one another face and overcome our fears, through self-hypnosis and mutual encouragement.