Why the dread is often worse than the damage

Yesterday, I clamped my teeth down on a small gray piece of plastic and waited.

Two white wands slowly moved around my head.

I was getting X-rays.


That’s a long story that I’m not going to get into today.

The important thing is that I don’t like X-rays.

In fact, I dislike them so thoroughly that I feel sick and out of it for about a day after receiving them.

Sure—this may be due to the radiation, but I don’t recall ever hearing about anyone else having similar post X-ray experiences.

In my case, I think it’s largely “mind over matter”.

I’m a pretty big stickler when it comes to “staying healthy”, but I think that this can go too far. In some cases, I think that my fear of potential negative health consequences is actually more harmful than the negative health consequences themselves.

And it makes as to why this might be the case.

When we’re stressed out, our body secretes a bunch of stress hormones, like cortisol, adrenaline, etc.

In the short run, these chemicals are really helpful. They actually mobilize and enhance our immune systems, allowing them to more effectively fight off invaders. These chemicals also allow us to perform impressive physical feats (even when we’re in a lot of pain). In short: they protect us.

However, if the stress response goes on way too long, it can have corrosive effects on our bodies and minds—and it can actually inhibit our immune systems.

This is why worrying about that unhealthy meal you had, or the X-rays you were just exposed to, can actually result in real, biological harm. Your thoughts are actually causing robust hormonal changes to occur.

Interestingly, you can learn how susceptible you are to worrying excessively about things like this by taking a good personality test; specifically, the Big 5 Inventory. One of the 5 personality traits it measures is called “neuroticism”, which is an indicator of how sensitive your brain's threat detection system is.

If you’re interested in learning more about this, I recommend you check the test out. If you want, I also can do an analysis of your personality based upon your test results. In fact, I’ll do more than that—I’ll also give you specific strategies that you can use to accomplish your current goals; all based on your unique personality. I call it a “Habit Blueprint Report”.

In the report, you’ll learn:

  • How you compare to others across every personality trait
  • Where your personality is weak and where it’s strong
  • The aspects of your personality that are likely going to bring you trouble… and strategies you can use to minimize the damage
  • The three key things you need to do in order to use your personality to accomplish one of your current goals
  • General principles you should follow, no matter what goal you have in mind, to have a better chance of succeeding

To purchase a report, go to the following link: https://www.thebehavioralscientist.com/products/your-habit-blueprint

Until tomorrow,

PS: If you want to learn more about the mind-body connection, you should check out the work of Firdaus Dhabhar.

Jason Hreha