Irrational fears can be a huge burden for those who suffer from them. Not only can they interrupt what used to be enjoyable situations, but they can even prevent people from having a good time in the first place. Sometimes these fears can be challenged by gradually approaching them with caution, but for others, the anxiety is so overwhelming it can feel impossible.
Chat to other sufferers
You may be surprised to know that you are not the only one with your particular irrational fear. Chatting to other people with the same fear may be a good way of proving to yourself that you are not alone and that it truly is just a fear. Hearing other people voice your internal thoughts might give you some perspective on your own anxieties and help you to overcome them.
Experience graded exposure with modern technology
One way to easily combat fear is to expose yourself to it gradually. In psychology, this is termed as ‘graded exposure.’ Say, for example, you had an irrational fear of driving. This fear alone could not only stop you from passing your test but even getting in the driver’s seat at all. Going for professional help will let you gradually challenge the fear in a way that lets you experience graded exposure safely. Rather than flooding yourself with exposure to something you are terrified of, you gradually become accustomed to the idea of approaching it. VR and apps have been used to simulate particular fears for this exact reason – such as the fear of driving and spiders. The fear of driving, or amaxophobia, is now combatted with modern and inventive measures. Being afraid to drive needn’t stop you from learning to drive or getting back behind the wheel. Fear of driving treatment now involves VR headsets, such as those by C2Care, that simulate everyday situations.
Trust your bravery
It takes a huge amount of bravery to combat irrational fears. It may involve a huge leap of faith to tackle something you have been avoiding for months or potentially years. However, trust your bravery and make the move – being brave is something to be incredibly proud of, so don’t forget to reward yourself afterward.
Flooding is perhaps the antithesis of graded exposure. If you can’t bear the idea of gradually peeling back the layers of fear – and would rather rip the Band-Aid off – then flooding could perhaps be the one for you. For example, if you were afraid of dogs, flooding would be walking into a room full of pet dogs. If you were afraid of heights – a bungee-jump would be the answer. This approach isn’t right for everyone, so talk to a psychologist or doctor if you’re unsure.
Irrational fears can do a surprisingly good job of holding us back from life. Fear of flying can cause us to cancel vacations, and a fear of spiders could prevent a much-needed home clear out. However, by challenging your fears, you could get much more done with your life – as well as earning a sense of achievement.
To read more on topics like this, check out the lifestyle category.