Everyone has a fear of something. Some fears are more intense than others, but they are still fears nonetheless. Generally, as humans, we try our best to avoid our fears. We don’t want to face them because it’s quite scary.
Some of the most common fears that people have are the fear of:
- Ghosts (Specrophobia or Phasmophobia)
- Evil Spirits (Demonophobia or Daemonophobia)
- Rodents (i.e. roaches, spiders, snakes, and the like) (Musophobia)
- Heights (Acrophobia)
- Enclosed Spaces (Claustrophobic)
- Bridges / Tunnels (Gephyrophobia)
- Germs (Verminophobia)
- Needles (Aichmophobia or Belonephobia)
- Failure (Atychiphobia or Kakorrhaphiophobia)
- Public Speaking (Glossophobia)
- Flying (Aviophobia or Aviatophobia or Pteromerhanophobia)
- Clowns (Coulrophobia)
- Death (Necrophobia)
So, what causes fears? We develop fears as a result of our experiences. We are conditioned to fear something (or someone) based on our past experiences. These experiences can include something that happened to us directly or something that we were conditioned to believe. For example, if a parent is severely fearful of flying, they may pass that fear onto their child by explaining all of the reasons why they’re afraid of flying (i.e. the plane might crash, a terrorist might take over the plane, etc.). Generally the individual describing the fear will exaggerate the details of what could happen or possibly what has happened to others in the past; thus conditioning the person listening to them to also fear that thing, in this case flying.
So, how can we overcome our fears, either experienced or conditioned? There are lots of thoughts on this matter:
- Acknowledgement & Confrontation. First thing’s first, we have to acknowledge the fear itself. We need to define exactly what we’re fearful of. Then, we can make plans to confront that fear directly. This is particularly useful in fears of flying, water, driving, etc. where we are doing something physical.
- Create an Opportunity. Instead of viewing the fear as a fear, we can view it as an opportunity to develop ourselves. We will likely still have that initial wave of fear, but once that passes, we can look at the fear more objectively and create an opportunity for growth.
- Seek Professional Help. If the fear we are experiencing is inhibiting our way of life, then maybe we need to seek out a professional that can help us talk (or even walk) through the fear to help overcome it.
- Focus on Breathing. When we experience the feeling of fear we have physical signs, such as rapid or shallow breathing or our heart will start racing. If we sit somewhere we are comfortable, such as our living room, focus on the fear, and then consciously focus on our breathing to calm ourselves down while thinking about the fear, then we can help overcome the fear prior to confronting it.
- Focus on Gratitude. It’s really hard to feel fear or anxiety when we are feeling grateful for something.
- Hypnosis. This is one I have never tried, but I have heard that it works. We can go to a professional hypnotist to be hypnotized and have our subconscious told that we are no longer afraid of whatever is fearful to us.
I have had many fears that I have been able to overcome over the years. Some of these have included: fear of flying, fear of being alone, fear of disappointment/failure, fear of spiders (okay, still working on this one), and the fear of rejection.