As a psychologist I’ve had a lot of patients that required to overcome their phobias.
Let’s face it, the world is a scary place, but we shouldn’t allow fear to control us!
First let me explain what fear does to our body and mind;
The existence of anxiety involves arousal of the nervous system. If your nervous structure isn’t stirred up, you can’t experience fear. Unfortunately, most people try to get by with emotions of stress by avoiding situations or objects that bring out the emotions. Avoidance, stops your nervous system from habituating. So, avoidance guarantees that the dreaded Situation will remain odd, and then scary, and in the last stages, anxiety is provoked. Moreover, avoidance leads to speculate over time. If you escape from speaking to a person you like because of fear of rejection that fear will be so compelling that you’ll notice you can’t be able to talk to no one in time. I’m not speaking about being anti-social which is another topic and assuming, you’re antisocial and happy then go for it! If you allow fear to control you, soon enough, you’ll be living in a prison of avoidance.
When you avoid anything that terrifies you, you endure a sense of failure. Every time you’re afraid, your anxiety gains strength while you lose some. Every chance you escape from it, you gain another sense of failure and another piece of evidence showing to your weakness. Finally, avoidance eliminates practice. Without practice it is difficult to achieve mastery. Without mastery, confidence is less likely to rise.
So, avoiding anxiety maintains and intensifies it. To become free of your fear you should instead capitalize on the basis of habituation through the use of “exposure.” Exposure is the most powerful medicine known to psychology. It is responsible, directly or indirectly, for most positive improvement achieved in most therapies, but especially the treatment of anxiety. Exposure entails facing your fears, which makes it-yes efiin scary!
I don’t agree to plunge into fears. If having Ophidiophobia (phobia of snakes) you shouldn’t jump into a pool of snakes! That will cause us more anxieties and more serious complications to deal with! But slowly and gradually overcoming your fear with set out goals and a plan you’ll be powerful in no time.
1- Write down your fears.
Any fear you have, big or small, write it down and place it some place you’ll see. You’ll be crossing them all in no time.
2- Understand your phobias if you aren’t able going to therapy.
It’s true we need a therapist to guide us and make us realize why we have phobias and when it started, but most can’t afford to go or don’t believe in therapy. If for any reason you can’t go to a therapist then do your research and understand the whys and hows.
3- Build a plan
It’s natural for a planner as myself, yet for most planning and developing a to do list is boring, but you must do it if you want to control your fears. If roller coasters are a phobia, plan to go to an amusement park.
4- See yourself as a hero/ villain / God / Goddess
Ok, this is something I do with my patients with my guidance, but don’t dwell on this persona too much or we’ll be dealing with identity Disorders! If you have fears off snakes, see yourself as a goddess of snakes, visualize it, draw it, etc… Sounds weird, but trust me it works.
Batman had chiroptophobia (phobia of bats) he overcame it by being the hero we all know today.
5- Tackle your fear
After your planning and research, and visualizing the strength inside you, now you must walk with your head held high into the fear. You can do it with a friend or alone, however to achieve your goal.
By time you’ll master your fears it can be any kind of phobia, but you should remember that fear doesn’t control you- YOU DO!