Saturday 21 April 2018

Your phobias and you

Having a phobia is a common thing. It could be completely irrational, and you have no clue where it stems from, or it could be from a traumatic experience as a child and you’ve not been able to move on from it. Whether your fear is a trip to the dentist, a fear of flying, needles, dogs, clowns or spiders – it might seem like something you’ll never get over. But everyone who has a phobia has the capacity to overcome it!

* Written in collaboration with Weybridge Dental

While some might tell you to tackle your fear of dogs by simply petting one or facing your fear of the dentist by heading to a professional and highly recommended practice like, for those of us with deep rooted phobias, it’s not as simple as that.

Here we’ll take a look at how you can approach your phobias and be one step closer to overcoming them. But remember, if your phobia is debilitating, having a negative effect on your life or stopping you from enjoying life then it might be time to seek professional help.

When should you consider treatment for your phobia?
  • Your phobia is causing you extreme stress, crippling anxiety, disabling fear and panic
  • You go out of your way to avoid situations or places because of your phobia – like flying
  • You’ve felt this way for six months or more
  • The effort it takes to avoid your phobia interferes with your every routine/life
  • You know, deep down that your phobia is irrational and excessive

Did you know that therapy for treating phobias has a great track record for success? Many patients see improvements in as little as 1-4 sessions! But not everyone has the budget to seek professional help, sometimes simply having someone to talk to and to face your fear with, can be enough for you to take a positive step.

Self-help ideas

It’s no secret. When it comes to overcoming your phobias – facing them head on is the way to go. Avoidance and dodging your phobia might be great in the short term, but you’re not helping yourself.
A starting point is to regularly expose yourself to your phobia in small, safe, controlled instances. This repetitive behaviour will help you realise that the worst isn’t going to happen, and you’ll notice that your anxiety and fear will begin to pass over time and your phobia will begin to lose its power. Isn’t that an incredible thought?

A fear ladder

By creating a fear ladder you can approach your phobia in a controlled way. Start with something that makes you feel anxious and move on to more extreme situations; repeat each stage until you’ve conquered it and then move on to the next.

For example: A fear ladder for a fear of clowns would look like this:
  • Look at pictures of clowns
  • Watch a video that contains clowns
  • View a clown from a distance, perhaps from your car
  • View a clown from across the street

The possibilities are endless and it’s a perfect first step in tackling your phobias.


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