01 Jul You can beat that phobia!
In our world of reality television, watching a contestant face up to a fear of spiders or cockroaches whilst shut in a dark box has become light entertainment, and a winner can often be the one who beat their phobia.
If you have a long term fear of clowns, avoid flying, don’t select the number thirteen on your lottery ticket, or have a panic attack at the thought of being in a huge crowd at a concert you may have a phobia.
The Mind website says:
“A phobia is an extreme form of fear or anxiety triggered by a particular situation (such as going outside) or object (such as spiders), even when there is no danger.”
“The symptoms of a phobia involve experiencing intense fear and anxiety when faced with the situation or object that you are afraid of. If your phobia is severe, thinking about the object of your phobia can also trigger these symptoms.”
A phobia causes psychological and physical symptoms which can be very debilitating to the extent that it prevents someone from living their life to the full if you leave it untreated. A phobia raises your stress levels which causes the same physical symptoms as stress which is harmful. Identifying that you have a phobia, however small or big, is an important step to making your life better. Although Complex Phobias (such as Agoraphobia) should only be treated by a professional therapist, Simple Phobias can be eased or overcome which in turn will help decrease your stress levels.
Specific or Simple Phobias such as a fear of heights usually develops during childhood. They can often be linked to early negative childhood experiences. A Simple Phobia can also be a Learned Response from an early age. If someone in your family has a fear of spiders you may also develop that same fear. Other factors in the family environment such as having parents who are overtly anxious. may also affect the way you deal with anxiety later in life.
A Simple Phobia may also develop as a result of other stresses in your life such as during grief or of you have been made redundant, or following a traumatic event where the object of the phobia is involved.
Some Top Tips to beat that Specific Phobia:
Identify your fear – You may hate going to the dentist but it may well be the needle that you are afraid of. Therefore, focus on the fear of the needle not the dentist. Write down or draw the image of what is your actual fear. Then draw the actual image of the word so that you can separate the object from the fear. This will help you to rationalize the fear.
Write down a positive visual emotive affirmation as your goal – Remember to use positive language, create an image which you believe you can achieve and creates positive emotions for you. By visualizing a positive experience regularly, the anticipation will boost your dendrites as much as when you actually live the experience.
Write down your SMART goal you are aiming to achieve, and break it down to smaller SMART goals to enable you to achieve along the way.
Create a coping strategy – Decide a positive strategy how you would like to react to what frightens you. You could visualise a positive experience where you felt successful, face the fear head on for a set amount of time or distract yourself by doing an activity such as going for a walk.
Use your Positive Triggers to support you. Make sure you look back on your Advance course Toolkit on positive triggers such as books, songs, films and activities which you can use to enable you to feel positive. Choose a song or a book or film which empowers you when you need to face your phobia to boost your serotonin.
Talk to a friend or someone you can trust – This will stop you being embarrassed by it and cut down the anxiety and secondly you’ll be able to ask for help.
Reward yourself for a job well done – As you reach each milestone towards the main goal of beating your phobia, treat yourself. You have earned it!
You can take control of a Simple Phobia and work on a plan to eradicate it so that you can enjoy your life to the full without that fear hindering you from achieving your goals!