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It’s Superstitious. 

  • Hypervigilance operates to control the uncontrollable. 
  • Hypervigilance neither improves predictive abilities nor removes surprise.
  • Hypervigilance isn’t protection; events will occur whether our guard is up or down.

It’s Counterproductive

  • Hypervigilance employs mental scanning rather than productive behaviors.
  • Hypervigilance is not as efficient as our automatic, biological response to danger. 
  • Hypervigilance is not as effective as mindful preparation, planning and execution.

It Increases Risk.

  • Hypervigilance skews our attention, paradoxically resulting in oversights.
  • Hypervigilance creates exhaustion, causing mistakes and potential new hazards.
  • Hypervigilance misses other cues in the environment that offer safety or protection.

It’s Destabilizing. 

  • Hypervigilance causes us to confuse harmlessness with dangerousness.
  • Hypervigilance tells us we would not be able to cope with danger if it were to occur.
  • Hypervigilance leads to overwhelm, fatigue, and a dysregulated nervous system.

It Hurts Us.

  • Hypervigilance promises emotional safety, but instead increases worry.
  • Hypervigilance removes us from the present, diminishing our quality of life.
  • Hypervigilance induces a perpetual, “self-imposed” state of fear, and…

It’s the exact same feeling we said we didn’t want!

©2023 Heather Stone, Ph.D.

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I just love this article and think it’s well said, practical, and brilliant.

What’s Wrong with Hypervigilance
June 13, 2023

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Heather Stone PhD

Heather Stone, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, is located in Sacramento County, California. As an anxiety disorders specialist and subject matter expert, Dr. Stone provides Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, counseling, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for the treatment of anxiety, worry, stress, panic, agoraphobia, postpartum depression and anxiety, phobias, social anxiety, insomnia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

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