If you or someone you know has an intense fear of moonlight, then this brief guide will help you understand it. Selenophobia is an irrational fear of the moon or its light. The word Selenophobia is derived from Greek Selene which stands for moon and phobos meaning anxiety or aversion. For the sufferer, even talking or thinking about the moon can trigger intense fear or anxiety and lead to a full blown panic attack. Let us study this phobia in detail.
Causes of Selenophobia
Like with most phobias, the intense fear of the moon or moonlight can stem from superstitions about the moon. Full moon is often linked with werewolves; folk tales and pop culture has stories abound about mythical creatures that turn vicious, blood thirsty animals on full moon nights. Since time immemorial, the moon has been associated with human behavior. Moon affects tides on the earth and is linked to the water element. Since human body is made with nearly 70% water element, it should not be surprising that the moon can impact the human mind, body and spirit. Studies show that crime rates tend to go up during full moon. In women, the menstrual cycle and subsequently the pre-menstrual behavior is often thought to be linked to the moon. With it come mood swings and feelings of depression or negativity in some women.
Selenophobia can also have its roots in one’s childhood. A traumatic event that has occurred during full moon could lead to lifelong fear of this celestial object. In some people, the fear goes away with time while in others it simply keeps on rising.
The moon is also linked to spiritual and mystical elements. People with a sensitive mental disposition or nature can get easily influenced by tales or anxious humans around them. Emotional learning at a young age occurs to protect us. The conditioning done by a grown up, a movie, book or simply an event can cause this phobia to protect the mind from further trauma. However, this emotional learning becomes inappropriate and bypasses the rational or thinking brain causing panic attacks and full blown phobia.
Symptoms of fear of moonlight
- Refusing to attend an event or for going out on full moon day
- Shortness of breath
- Racing heart, pounding chest and chest pain
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Numbness or tingling
- Hot or cold flashes
- Trembling, shaking
- Sweaty palms
- Disturbed eating or sleeping
- Persistent unreasonable fear of the moon or moonlight
- Closing windows, using the curtains to prevent moonlight from entering
What can you do if you are afraid of the moon
Treating Selenophobia is fairly easy; one only has to change one’s experience at an unconscious level. Simply explained, you need to treat the moon like you’d treat any other object. The best way to do this is to achieve a relaxed state of mind whilst imagining the object of one’s fear, in this case moon or moonlight.
- Meditation, positive visualization and deep breathing exercises are known to help.
- Daily physical exercise is important as it helps release feel-good hormones. This is especially useful for people who have the phobia due to a chemical imbalance. A healthy, supportive diet can also help.
- A process called de-conditioning is also beneficial. It helps change the association the mind may have formed with the moon or moonlight.
- Hypnosis or hypnotherapy has helped thousands of people overcome various phobias. An experienced therapist puts the phobic at a relaxed state and dives deep into his/her mind to determine the root cause of the phobia.
- Keeping a daily journal of thoughts and feelings can also help.
- One can also join a support group online or in person nearby. Understanding there are others like you can greatly ease your mind and help you rationalize your thoughts.
- Reading all about various phobias can also help.
- A combination of de-conditioning, cognitive behavior therapy, ongoing relaxation, and gradual exposure to the object of the fear can also help in some cases.
To learn more about phobias and how the human mind works, visit the other resources on this website.