- Do you fear numbers? Here’s everything you need to know about Arithmophobia
- What Phobia Is the Fear of Numbers?
- 22 Real Phobias You Never Knew Existed
- Why Friday the 13th Is a Real Nightmare for Some People
- Fears and Phobias
- What Is Fear?
- How Fear Works
- Fears People Have
- Fears During Childhood
- What Causes Phobias?
- Overcoming Phobias
- Overcome Fear of Numbers Today!
- A fear of numbers can be a real hindrance
- Fear of numbers is instilled – not innate
- How hypnosis can help overcome a fear of numbers
- 5 Ways To Present Data To People Who Are Scared of Numbers
- How Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia Is Treated
- What is Triskaidekaphobia?
- Number 13 – Connotations
- Triskaidekaphobia treatment
Do you fear numbers? Here’s everything you need to know about Arithmophobia
By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 6, 2019 12:33:18 pm Also known as Numerophobia, it is often exaggerated, constant and irrational fear of numbers.
(Photo: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
Fear is something that often inhibits a person, rather than uplifting him/her; and while most of it is insignificant, it can, at times, escalate to scary proportions as phobias are of grave nature, stopping people from performing daily activities.
This can prove to have consequences as one’s professional and private life may get hampered, blurring reality and the exaggerated.
All about Arithmophobia
“Also known as Numerophobia, it is often an exaggerated, constant and irrational fear of numbers that can affect one’s daily routine.
Performing complex mathematical computations becomes a herculean task, with individuals stuttering and sloughing through the ups and downs of number.
In fact, just the thought of doing calculations in day-to-day life could potentially escalate into a meltdown,” explains Dr Preeti Singh, senior clinical psychologist, Paras Hospital Gurugram.
ALSO READ | Scared of spiders? Here’s what you need to know about Arachnophobia
While experts believe that the fear of numbers might have its roots in universal beginnings, it has more to do with the alleged nature and people’s perceptions towards it. It is often believed that numbers and time are complex, unknown, varying and often difficult to grasp, creating an aura of mystery.
“This also has origins from our childhood, often combined with a negative experience with numbers. Math is considered as one of the most important subjects, with parents putting undue pressure on students to excel in the same.
This added stress inculcates a fear of numbers with the implications of failing or performing poorly in the subject being ridicule and scoldings in some cases.
Statements ‘math is hard, you will fail if you do not study’ often do worse than helping the child, triggering Arithmophobia,” says Dr Singh.
Signs to see
It is often believed that numbers and time are complex, unknown, varying and often difficult to grasp, creating an aura of mystery. (Photo: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
No matter how diverse the phobia is, its symptoms are fairly similar in nature and occurrence. Extreme anxiety, dread and anything associated with panic such as shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, inability to articulate words or sentences, and shaking being some common symptoms.
This phobia is especially damaging as one has to involve in a fair number of mathematic calculation in everyday life. Sufferers are often socially inept, as people who are good with numbers consider this issue as an insignificant one. Which is why, it can even lead to stunted social growth and a constant inferiority complex.
ALSO READ | Aerophobia: Everything you need to know about the fear of flying
The cure is near
As symptoms of almost all phobias are same, the cure is similar too — usually the psyche of the human mind. For all phobias, the magic word remains the same — therapy. These are fast and reliable methods, relying on an amalgamation of drugs and psychotherapy — but it is essential to administer caution.
“Drugs are addictive in nature and can often become a crutch for the ailing. Hence these should be considered as the last line of treatment. Mild anti-depressants should be administered only in extreme cases of anxiety.
Secondly, psychotherapy should be administered by someone who is a thorough professional.
One can also apply Neuro-Linguistic programming therapy to overcome this phobia by reprogramming the brain’s response to numbers and increasing one’s confidence,” she says.
However, the will to overcome the phobia should come from within, where understanding the issue is the first step. “Always remember- you are the master of your mind and you can overcome your phobia effectively,” she adds.
What Phobia Is the Fear of Numbers?
Katrina Charmatz/Illustration Works/Getty Images
The fear of numbers is called arithmophobia. This fear is somewhat unusual in that it encompasses a wide variety of specific phobias, including a generalized fear of all numbers and fear of specific numbers. It is also sometimes called numerophobia. It is classified as an anxiety disorder.
A generalized fear of numbers, that is to say, a fear of all numbers can seriously affect the ability of a person to do math. This limits both educational and professional opportunities. The fear of particularly large numbers is usually much less limiting, allowing the person to perform basic computations.
Some people with arithmophobia may fear specific numbers. In cases these, arithmophobia is usually rooted in superstition or religious phobias. The best-known example is a fear of the number 13, which is also called triskaidekaphobia.
This fear has been linked to early Christians, and the number 13 appears in a lot of Biblical traditions. (There were 13 people at the Last Supper, for example, and Judas is said to be the 13th person to join the table.
) But the number 13 is also an unlucky number in other cultures. Loki, the Norse god of mischief, is also said to be the 13th god of the pantheon.
Today, many hotels omit the 13th floor and room 13, and the fear of Friday the 13th (which is called paraskevidekatriaphobia) combines the fear of Friday as an unlucky day with the fear of the number 13.
The number 666 is another number that's widely feared in Western cultures. It is said to be the “number of the beast” as translated into English versions of the Book of Revelation verse 18. For example, former President Ronald Reagan had the street number of his home in Bel-Air, Los Angeles, changed from 666 to 668.
In Asia, 4 is considered an especially unlucky number in countries China, Vietnam, and Japan because it is something of a homophone for the word “death” in the local languages.
Just in the west, hotels are prone to leaving the number 4 their floors and room numbers, and corporations have even followed suit: the serial numbers of Canon cameras don't include the number 4, and Samsung phones no longer use model codes with 4 either.
These kinds of arithmophobia have real-world consequences, even if the fear is what might seem harmless suspicion.
A 2001 study in the British Medical Journal, for example, found that Asian Americans in California were 27 percent more ly to die of a heart attack on the fourth day of the month.
It was hypothesized that the psychological stress of an unlucky day can tip the superstitious over the brink.
For this and many more reasons, if you find yourself that fear of numbers in general or specific numbers is creating problems in your life, it's a good idea to seek advice from a trained professional in mental health. Your problem may be addressed with talk therapy, anti-anxiety medications, or a combination.
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22 Real Phobias You Never Knew Existed
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It’s an uncomfortable feeling for everyone, but the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth is a full-blown phobia for some.
Some people can handle eating small amounts, but others avoid peanut-based products peanut butter sauces and ice creams.
It can be rooted in a broader phobia the fear of sticky textures or choking, or it can occur independently.
Plus: Here’s Why the PB&J Ever Became a Thing
Your favourite garlic bread recipe could cause a panic attack to someone with an extraordinary fear of garlic. Far from a dis of the potent vegetable’s taste, people with alliumphobia might start to shake or feel unable to breathe when around garlic, or other pungent plants onions and chives.
Here are five cancer fighting foods worth adding to your diet.
Unfortunately, people with this condition are fighting a losing battle: the fear of acquiring a phobia.
Read this to learn more about generalized anxiety disorder.
Beware: If you have sesquipedalophobia, you might not want to hear your diagnosis. With twisted irony, it is the morbid fear of long words.
The most complicated English word is only three letters long.
Cut some slack to that odd-smelling person in line ahead of you—she might have the fear of bathing and cleaning, which is more common in women and children than in men. It often stems from a traumatic past event, and can lead to social isolation.
Plus: 8 Showering Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making
With a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, some people can’t stand to have objects at the right side of their body, which could make it hard to drive in the fast lane with vehicles to the right. On the flip side, levophobia is defined by fear of things to the left side of the body.
You might enjoy stargazing on a clear night, but not everyone gets that same awe-inspiring feeling. Those with siderophobia have a fear of stars, and might keep their curtains closed to avoid getting overwhelmed by how vast and uncontrollable the universe is.
These moon facts will make you look at the night sky differently.
You might have hated math class in grade school, but multiplication tables could give genuine anxiety to people with the fear of numbers.
Check out these corny math jokes, puns and one-liners.
People with the fear of words function fine in conversation, but when shown written words, they could become breathless, shaky, or paranoid. Most people with logophobia don’t know how to read, and refuse to try to learn.
Try these simple tricks to improve your vocabulary.
Some of us might almost wish we had this problem: the fear of money. This phobia can manifest as dread around money itself, the chance of getting rich, or wealthy people.
Tennis superstar Milos Raonic shares the secret to saving his money.
Those with extreme distrust or fear of reason or ideas have ideophobia. Maybe that explains why your competitive co-worker keeps shutting down your ideas.
People with the fear of laughter—not to be confused with gelotophobia, the fear of being laughed at—might hate chuckling or the sound of others’ giggles. Some just feel slightly uncomfortable, but others could start to hyperventilate.
Check out these mind-blowing facts about laughter.
People with the fear of belly buttons try to avoid touching their own, even in the bath, and might cover their belly buttons with a bandage or avoid going to places full of exposed navels, the beach.
Plus: 8 Strange Body Parts and Their Surprising Purposes
A school bus could be deeply uncomfortable for someone with xanthophobia, the fear of the colour yellow or the word itself.
Help your kids succeed in school with these stress management tips.
People with the fear of freedom generally can’t do anything without taking an order from someone else, making them much more inclined to be followers than leaders. They might be scared of the increased responsibilities that come with more freedom.
Saying this one word instantly makes you more trustworthy.
Whether their own or other people’s tresses, those with chaetophobia have the fear of hair. They might hate running their fingers through their locks, or even be immobilized by a clump of hair on the floor.
Plus: 13 Home Remedies for Dry and Damaged Hair
Experts think the fear of the number eight it could be rooted in superstition, with octophobics afraid of the inescapable—flip the number on its side and it looks an infinity sign. That could translate to fear of the symbol for eight, or objects in groups of eight.
A perfect circle is not the friend of someone who’s afraid of symmetry. They might think of symmetry as perfection or extreme beauty that they aren’t worthy of being around. People with asymmetriphobia, on the other hand, have the fear of asymmetrical things.
While you look forward to sinking into a comfy chair after a long day, some people experience the fear of sitting down.
Plus: 10 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Start Walking 10,000 Steps a Day
A fancy new necklace won’t impress everyone—especially those with the fear of gold. They could have panic attacks with nausea, sweating, or an irregular heartbeat when they see someone else wearing the metal.
Home might be where the heart is for some, but others have the fear of returning home. These people might have experienced abuse there, or be afraid of shame if coming back is seen as failure.
Also known as venustraphobia, the fear of beautiful women goes way beyond nervousness or intimidation around someone pretty. Those with a phobia might feel chest pain, get numbness in the extremities, or faint when around attractive women.
Plus: The Real Reasons You’re Attractive, According to Science
Originally published as 22 Real Phobias You Never Knew Existed on ReadersDigest.com.
Why Friday the 13th Is a Real Nightmare for Some People
If the number 13 scares you, you’re not alone.
Millions of people in the world, including prolific horror writer Stephen King, have an irrational fear of the number 13. The phenomenon is so widely reported, it even has its own hard-to-pronounce name: triskaidekaphobia.
Those who suffer from triskaidekaphobia associate the number 13 with bad luck or danger due to superstitions. They may avoid staying at hotel rooms with the number 13, going up to the 13th floor of any building or sitting in the 13th row in airplanes — if such floors or aisles even exist.
People with more deeply rooted triskaidekaphobia, King, might also skip the 13th step on staircases, get anxious watching Channel 13 or, while reading books, make a point not to pause on pages in which the digits add up to 13, page 94. “It’s neurotic, sure. But it’s also . . . safer,” King wrote about his phobia in 1984.
It’s hard to quantify how many people in the world fear the number 13, since the phobia often goes undiagnosed and untreated, according to Reid Wilson, a clinical psychologist and adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine who specializes in treating anxiety disorders phobias. But the phenomenon has had clear economic implications in at least the real estate, airline and entertainment world. “We have such a cultural sense of trepidation about that number,” Wilson told TIME.
You won’t find a row 13 on any Ryanair plane, the Dublin-based carrier confirmed in a tweet to a customer in 2014. And many other airlines and airports avoid slapping the number 13 on aisles, flights and gates — sometimes logistics and other times because of triskaidekaphobia, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The two largest elevator makers in the world, Otis and Kone, say they both offer building owners an option to omit a number 13 button in elevators.
And at least in New York City, less than 5% of residential condo buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn had a 13th floor in 2013, the Journal reported at the time.
“I’m not particularly superstitious myself, but not having a 13th floor is a no-brainer,” building developer Izak Senbahar told the newspaper. “You don’t want to preclude anyone, a buyer who happens to be superstitious. It boils down to that.”
For “triskies,” as King calls them, the number 13 is scary. But when the date falls on a Friday, it’s horrifying. Such a double-whammy of fears has its own name: paraskevidekatriaphobia.
Millions of Americans may suffer from fear of Friday the 13th, according to Saybrook University psychology professor Stanley Krippner.
Hollywood capitalized on that by spawning the Friday the 13th horror movies franchise, in which the ominous day is associated with a nightmare-inducing serial killer.
Naturally, fears could worsen when a Friday the 13th falls in October around Halloween, which it does this week. “We as a culture have established Friday the 13th as something that could be dangerous,” Wilson said. “All day long they can be on edge.”
It’s a mystery how such fears became rooted in modern culture, folklore historians say. Dr.
Phil Stevens, an associate professor of anthropology at the University at Buffalo, told TIME last year that many believe the superstition originates from the Last Supper, when 13 guests sat at the table with Jesus on the day before the Friday on which Jesus was crucified. Other historians and evolutionary psychologists chalk it up to people needing a scapegoat when life doesn’t go their way.
“People are hard-wired to find meaning in various patterns, connections and perceptions,” Krippner said. “They need someone or something to blame when stuff goes wrong, and numbers are an easy target.”
The good news is this week’s Friday the 13th is the last one this year. The next one won’t happen until April 2018 and then later that July.
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Fears and Phobias
The roller coaster hesitates for a split second at the peak of its steep track after a long, slow climb. You know what's about to happen — and there's no way to avoid it now. It's time to hang onto the handrail, palms sweating, heart racing, and brace yourself for the wild ride down.
What Is Fear?
Fear is one of the most basic human emotions. It is programmed into the nervous system and works an instinct. From the time we're infants, we are equipped with the survival instincts necessary to respond with fear when we sense danger or feel unsafe.
Fear helps protect us. It makes us alert to danger and prepares us to deal with it. Feeling afraid is very natural — and helpful — in some situations. Fear can be a warning, a signal that cautions us to be careful.
all emotions, fear can be mild, medium, or intense, depending on the situation and the person. A feeling of fear can be brief or it can last longer.
How Fear Works
When we sense danger, the brain reacts instantly, sending signals that activate the nervous system. This causes physical responses, such as a faster heartbeat, rapid breathing, and an increase in blood pressure.
Blood pumps to muscle groups to prepare the body for physical action (such as running or fighting). Skin sweats to keep the body cool. Some people might notice sensations in the stomach, head, chest, legs, or hands.
These physical sensations of fear can be mild or strong.
This response is known as “fight or flight” because that is exactly what the body is preparing itself to do: fight off the danger or run fast to get away. The body stays in this state of fight–flight until the brain receives an “all clear” message and turns off the response.
Sometimes fear is triggered by something that is startling or unexpected ( a loud noise), even if it's not actually dangerous.
That's because the fear reaction is activated instantly — a few seconds faster than the thinking part of the brain can process or evaluate what's happening.
As soon as the brain gets enough information to realize there's no danger (“Oh, it's just a balloon bursting — whew!”), it turns off the fear reaction. All this can happen in seconds.
Fears People Have
Fear is the word we use to describe our emotional reaction to something that seems dangerous. But the word “fear” is used in another way, too: to name something a person often feels afraid of.
People fear things or situations that make them feel unsafe or unsure. For instance, someone who isn't a strong swimmer might have a fear of deep water. In this case, the fear is helpful because it cautions the person to stay safe. Someone could overcome this fear by learning how to swim safely.
A fear can be healthy if it cautions a person to stay safe around something that could be dangerous. But sometimes a fear is unnecessary and causes more caution than the situation calls for.
Many people have a fear of public speaking. Whether it's giving a report in class, speaking at an assembly, or reciting lines in the school play, speaking in front of others is one of the most common fears people have.
People tend to avoid the situations or things they fear. But this doesn't help them overcome fear — in fact, it can be the reverse. Avoiding something scary reinforces a fear and keeps it strong.
People can overcome unnecessary fears by giving themselves the chance to learn about and gradually get used to the thing or situation they're afraid of.
For example, people who fly despite a fear of flying can become used to unfamiliar sensations takeoff or turbulence. They learn what to expect and have a chance to watch what others do to relax and enjoy the flight.
Gradually (and safely) facing fear helps someone overcome it.
Fears During Childhood
Certain fears are normal during childhood. That's because fear can be a natural reaction to feeling unsure and vulnerable — and much of what children experience is new and unfamiliar.
Young kids often have fears of the dark, being alone, strangers, and monsters or other scary imaginary creatures. School-aged kids might be afraid when it's stormy or at a first sleepover. As they grow and learn, with the support of adults, most kids are able to slowly conquer these fears and outgrow them.
Some kids are more sensitive to fears and may have a tough time overcoming them. When fears last beyond the expected age, it might be a sign that someone is overly fearful, worried, or anxious. People whose fears are too intense or last too long might need help and support to overcome them.
A phobia is an intense fear reaction to a particular thing or a situation. With a phobia, the fear is proportion to the potential danger. But to the person with the phobia, the danger feels real because the fear is so very strong.
Phobias cause people to worry about, dread, feel upset by, and avoid the things or situations they fear because the physical sensations of fear can be so intense.
So having a phobia can interfere with normal activities. A person with a phobia of dogs might feel afraid to walk to school in case he or she sees a dog on the way.
Someone with an elevator phobia might avoid a field trip if it involves going on an elevator.
A girl with a phobia of thunderstorms might be afraid to go to school if the weather forecast predicts a storm. She might feel terrible distress and fear when the sky turns cloudy. A guy with social phobia experiences intense fear of public speaking or interacting, and may be afraid to answer questions in class, give a report, or speak to classmates in the lunchroom.
It can be exhausting and upsetting to feel the intense fear that goes with having a phobia. It can be disappointing to miss out on opportunities because fear is holding you back. And it can be confusing and embarrassing to feel afraid of things that others seem to have no problem with.
Sometimes, people get teased about their fears. Even if the person doing the teasing doesn't mean to be unkind and unfair, teasing only makes the situation worse.
What Causes Phobias?
Some phobias develop when someone has a scary experience with a particular thing or situation.
A tiny brain structure called the amygdala (pronounced: uh-MIG-duh-luh) keeps track of experiences that trigger strong emotions.
Once a certain thing or situation triggers a strong fear reaction, the amygdala warns the person by triggering a fear reaction every time he or she encounters (or even thinks about) that thing or situation.
Someone might develop a bee phobia after being stung during a particularly scary situation. For that person, looking at a photograph of a bee, seeing a bee from a distance, or even walking near flowers where there could be a bee can all trigger the phobia.
Sometimes, though, there may be no single event that causes a particular phobia. Some people may be more sensitive to fears because of personality traits they are born with, certain genes they've inherited, or situations they've experienced. People who have had strong childhood fears or anxiety may be more ly to have one or more phobias.
Having a phobia isn't a sign of weakness or immaturity. It's a response the brain has learned in an attempt to protect the person. It's as if the brain's alert system triggers a false alarm, generating intense fear that is proportion to the situation. Because the fear signal is so intense, the person is convinced the danger is greater than it actually is.
People can learn to overcome phobias by gradually facing their fears. This is not easy at first. It takes willingness and bravery. Sometimes people need the help of a therapist to guide them through the process.
Overcoming a phobia usually starts with making a long list of the person's fears in least-to-worst order.
For example, with a dog phobia, the list might start with the things the person is least afraid of, such as looking at a photo of a dog.
It will then work all the way up to worst fears, such as standing next to someone who's petting a dog, petting a dog on a leash, and walking a dog.
Gradually, and with support, the person tries each fear situation on the list — one at a time, starting with the least fear. The person isn't forced to do anything and works on each fear until he or she feels comfortable, taking as long as needed.
A therapist could also show someone with a dog phobia how to approach, pet, and walk a dog, and help the person to try it, too. The person may expect terrible things to happen when near a dog. Talking about this can help, too. When people find that what they fear doesn't actually turn out to be true, it can be a great relief.
A therapist might also teach relaxation practices such as specific ways of breathing, muscle relaxation training, or soothing self-talk. These can help people feel comfortable and bold enough to face the fears on their list.
As somebody gets used to a feared object or situation, the brain adjusts how it responds and the phobia is overcome.
Often, the hardest part of overcoming a phobia is getting started. Once a person decides to go for it — and gets the right coaching and support — it can be surprising how quickly fear can melt away.
Reviewed by: KidsHealth Behavioral Health Experts
Overcome Fear of Numbers Today!
Do you feel uncomfortable or anxious when you have to deal with numbers in some way?
Do certain specific numbers disturb you when they crop up in your life?
There are two main reasons why numbers induce fear. If you feel you don't really understand math, or can't confidently handle calculations, you might dread situations where you have to use numbers.
If you believe certain numbers (such as 13) have a malign influence, this sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy where you constantly attribute negative occurrences to the influence of those numbers, to your own distress.
Both these fears can be overcome.
A fear of numbers can be a real hindrance
Numbers are vitally useful, and we need them. This is more than ever the case in our increasingly technical world.
Their importance has always been recognized, and arithmetic is a fundamental part of education programs all over the world. Everybody has a right and a need to be able to understand and use numbers effectively.
Most of us have been through a math education intended to equip us to handle the situations where we have to deal with figures.
Nonetheless, a surprisingly large number of people who are perfectly competent in other areas find themselves struggling when it comes to numbers. They may find doing simple calculations difficult, or struggle to understand mortgage rates or statistical information.
Of course, humans have survived hundreds of thousands of years without mortgages or statistics, so you could argue that it's not essential to know how to deal with them.
But in modern life you are seriously hampered if you can't work out if there's a mistake on your phone bill. And you are at risk (quite literally) of being robbed if you don't know how to assess a financial deal some salesman is pressing on you.
Fear of numbers is instilled – not innate
But what many people don't realize is that the trouble they have with numbers is probably not their fault, nor is it a sign that they are lacking in intelligence or competence. Although they often tell themselves “I'm just no good with figures!” the real explanation is more often that they were not well taught.
As a youngster, you have no way of knowing whether a teacher is any good – either as an expert in their subject, or even at teaching itself. You assume that “teacher knows”, and if you struggle, you assume that the problem is on your side.
And if your teachers shout at you or punish you for your failure to “get it right” you feel stupid and confused – which actually makes it harder for you to take in what they are teaching.
If matters are not put right fairly quickly, you can easily be left with a lifelong (but completely misplaced) conviction that you can't hack it with numbers.
You associate numbers with feeling pressured and anxious and so any time you have to use them, you feel uncomfortable and inadequate – which doesn't make for clear thinking. So it's hardly surprising if you try to avoid them.
(It is important to distinguish a learnt fear of numbers from dyscalculia – the numerical equivalent of dyslexia).
How hypnosis can help overcome a fear of numbers
The good news is that both kinds of fear of numbers can be overcome, no matter how long they have been in place.
In both cases, the most effective way to achieve this is by changing the association that has been made in your mind between numbers and distress. And the fastest way by far to change deep rooted negative associations is with hypnosis.
Overcome Fear of Numbers is an audio hypnosis session developed by psychologists that will tackle your anxieties at the root – deep in your unconscious mind.
As you relax repeatedly to the powerful hypnotic suggestions, you'll quickly notice that
- a deep calm fills your mind – and stays with you
- your old anxieties no longer trouble you
- thinking about numbers begins to feel comfortable (and even enjoyable!)
- you start to find ways to develop your math skills appropriately
- you feel increasingly confident in situations involving numbers
Download Overcome Fear of Numbers and get ready to enjoy using them with freedom and confidence.You can listen on your computer or device or via our free app that you will be able to access when you have completed your purchase.
5 Ways To Present Data To People Who Are Scared of Numbers
Do you or someone in your team suffer from arithmophobia? As you might be able to guess, it’s an irrational fear of numbers.
I often meet people that love numbers; they love spreadsheets, metrics, analytics and management ratios. But there is another (often considerably larger) proportion of people that don’t really numbers, don’t discussing them, and in some cases are actually phobic of dealing with them.
Interestingly, this anxiety doesn’t have anything to do with a person’s ability to do maths, it’s about having to deal with numbers in public.
Sometimes even calculating the gratuity or splitting a restaurant bill can be enough to send people with maths anxiety into a panic.
Even people with higher-level degrees in mathematics can be numbers phobic when it comes to calculating sums — or even remembering a pin number or building code — in public.
And the problem is more common than you might think. One study found that six ten university students suffered from diagnosable maths anxiety.
And while you’re not ly to face an algebra pop quiz once you’ve left school, a phobia of numbers persists and can be a major problem in the workplace if management information is circulated in spreadsheets full of numbers.
What do you do, then, if you are the person in charge of compiling and distributing — let alone explaining — those dreaded spreadsheets?
Become better at visualisations
What we need to do is to better translate the numbers into headlines, narratives and visuals that better speak to people who don’t numbers and don’t want to analyse numbers.
To do that, we need to become better at constructing visual representations of those numbers. The goal of any analytics is not to be the person with the most data, but to be the person whose data is understood.
Different people process data in different ways, regardless of whether numbers flummox them or not. Different visualisation methods can help with this, but so does considering your audience and your subject.
Some subjects naturally lend themselves better to tables, or graphs, or even infographics. Some audiences will fall asleep the first time they see a table in a presentation, but might wake up and pay attention if a graph were animated to show change over time.
No matter what your subject or who your audience, getting feedback is essential. At heart, data is a story, and you have to find the best way to tell it.
5 ways to improve your visualisations
There are some tools and strategies that can help you create better visualisations and help everyone in your audience — arithmophobia or not — understand the data.
1. Use benchmarks. Instead of just laying out the numbers, consider including a benchmark, percent change, so that people can easily see the difference between two large numbers.
2. Use colour. Colour can pass along a message more easily than numbers in some cases. For example, if you use red for a negative percent change and green for a positive percent change, viewers will be able to quickly and easily see the difference.
3. Use pictures or metaphors. Simple graphics smiling or frowning faces, pluses and minuses, check marks, or even weather (sunny, cloudy, stormy) can convey positive and negative change and help the audience relate to the numbers.
4. Use motion or animation. If you are working in a format ( a digital presentation) that allows animation, it can be a wonderful tool for demonstrating change over time. Don’t get caught up in animation just because it looks cool, though; make sure you’re using it appropriately to convey a message.
5. Use words and word clouds. If you can easily explain the meaning of a set of numbers in words, do so. You never know how your audience will best receive information. Word clouds are also a wonderful way of visualising certain kinds of data.
A word about infographics. Infographics are usually a combination of many types of data visualisation in a cohesive whole, and while infographics are certainly the trendiest way to visualise data, they may not always be the best way.
An infographic that beautifully and interestingly conveys complex data would be excellent for an important presentation, year-end report, or website, but if you’re just sending along monthly numbers, you probably don’t have time for this kind of complicated graphic design.
Do you deal with number or maths anxiety at work? Or are you the person who has to make numbers friendly for the team? What visualisation strategies work best for you? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.
How Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia Is Treated
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Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is the fear of the number “666.” Related to triskaidekaphobia, or fear of the number 13, this phobia has its origins in both religious belief and superstition.
Some experts question whether hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia should be classified as a specific phobia or viewed as a fear superstition. Most people find their fear does not significantly impact their lives, which is a necessary component of a phobia diagnosis.
The number 666 appears in the Bible, in the Book of Revelation. Revelation 13:17-18, in the King James version, states the “number of the beast” is “six hundred threescore and six,” or 666. This reference appears to be the origin of the fear for some people.
As written, the events depicted in Revelation are extremely frightening. When viewed as a literal transcription of what is to come, it is easy to see how a serious fear or phobia could develop.
The prevalence of the number 666 in pop culture represents another trigger for this fear. Many horror movies use this number as a premise and tend to be supernatural thrillers that play on the association between the number and the Antichrist. Some films use doomsday scenarios, drawing on the number’s apocalyptic connotations.
Fear of the number 666 can manifest in many different ways, depending on the severity of the phobia and include:
- Refusing to live in a home that bears this street number. For example, former President Ronald Reagan and wife, Nancy, moved to Bel-Air, Los Angeles, following his presidency. They changed the street number of their house from 666 to 668.
- Finding yourself making compulsive decisions to consciously avoid having the number occur in your daily life. For example, if a grocery total is $6.66, you may feel compelled to add or subtract an item.
- Driving around your neighborhood to change your odometer reading from 666 to 667 before you park your car.
- Becoming particularly nervous or uncomfortable if 666 appears frequently, drawing connections between coincidental events.
One of the most famous examples of the fear of the number 666 is the renaming of a famous highway in the American Southwest. U.S. Highway 666 was so named by the American Association of State Highway Officials in 1926, according to official naming guidelines, as it was the sixth spur off U.S. Highway 66 (the infamous Route 66).
Over time, the New Mexico section of Highway 666 proved to be statistically dangerous. Skeptics believe this was due to the road being improperly designed or maintained for increasing traffic loads. However, many believed it was actually the road’s name that caused accidents and fatalities. Soon Highway 666 became known as the Devil’s Highway.
The fear of the number 666 is surprisingly common, although a true phobia is relatively rare.
The course of treatment for hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia will largely depend on your goals for treatment. Are you trying to resolve conflicting religious views? Do you simply want to stop compulsive phobia-induced behaviors?
For many clients, cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective and highly successful treatment. This is true in most cases of specific phobia.
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FearOf.net. Fear of the Number 666 Phobia – Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. By Jacob Olesen. FearOf.net 2020 https://www.fearof.net/fear-of-the-number-666-phobia-hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia
FearofStuff.com. Fear of the Number 666. By Fear of Stuff. Posted June 24, 2016. Fear of Stuff 2020 https://www.fearofstuff.com/numbers/fear-of-the-number-666
The Recovery Village®.com. Phobias Treatment. Umatilla, Fla.: The Recovery Village® 2020. https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/phobias/treatment/#gref
- American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th Ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association 2013
What is Triskaidekaphobia?
Triskaidekaphobia (also being referred to as 13-digit phobia) is the irrational fear of the number 13.
Most people with triskaidekaphobia have an immersive and ongoing phobia / fear of the number 13.
The premise of phobia or fear of the number 13 is usually challenging to explain, but in some cases, its causes are linked to panic-related experiences or genetic conditions.
Fear of the number 13 can be handled by psychologist using exposure therapy in combination with drugs.
The term comes from Greek, where tris means three, kai means and, deka means ten and phobia means fear.
Number 13 – Connotations
The number 13 wasn't always bad-famed, quite the contrary. In ancient China and Egypt, thirteen was considered a lucky number. It is unclear when exactly did 13 become an unlucky number.
Some attribute it to the Bible, where the Last Supper was attended by 13 people, and some speculated that the 13th person at the table was Judas, who later betrayed Jesus. However, there is no reference to support this theory.
Another belief is that the phobia of number 13 is caused by it being an irrational number and 12 being the number of perfection.
There are 12 months in a year, 12 zodiacs, 12 hours in a clock and there were 12 tribes of Israel.
Recent polls and studies show that around 9-10% of Americans are superstitious about the number 13. However, not all of them are triskaidekaphobes. Similar studies for other countries do not exist, however it is prevalent in western culture mainly.
In China the number 13 is not considered bad, but instead the number 4 is considered unlucky. The term for the fear of number 4 is called tetraphobia.
Although it may seem trivial, triskaidekaphobia is an issue that affects western societies economically. Because of the superstition, some people delay doing business on the 13th of any month, while statistically there are more people who do not go to work on the 13th day of any month because of this superstition.
Friday is also considered to be an unlucky day in western culture.
Although it is unsure where the origin of the fear of Friday comes from, it may be the belief that Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Thus, the number 13, associated with Friday is considered especially unlucky.
The term for the fear of Friday the 13th is paraskevidekatriaphobia.
It is estimated that the United States loses about $900,000,000 in productivity every year because of Friday the 13th as some people are so superstitious about it that they wouldn't even get bed. Read more about it here.
Although there is no 100% sure method to treat triskaidekaphobia, if you feel it affects your life, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor who could recommend you a therapist.
You will probably be exposed to your fear and make you understand your phobia.
In many instances the treatment is successful, although it may be challenging to find a good therapist if you don't live in an urbanized area.
If you don't have access to a therapist, it is a good idea to talk about your fear and try to understand it yourself. At the end of the day, even with a therapist involved, you are the only one who can cure your phobia.
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