One thing that many people battle is life-long phobias. In fact, according to a Cambridge University study, phobia prevalence rates range from 2.6 to 12.5 percent worldwide.
Some people have a fear of heights, while others are terrified of spiders or blood. Others are afraid of public speaking or the dark. And while some people think they can just deal with them on their own, overcoming your phobias can actually be quite a process. Phobias can cause emotional problems and interfere with daily life.
They can also make the person feel like they are losing control. Some people may miss important events or opportunities, avoid certain places or activities, lose time from work, give up important relationships, and become isolated socially because of their phobias.
But there are many ways to deal with these various fears. Here are the four simple ways to overcome your phobias.
Mindfulness is a practice that can be used to conquer fear completely. It’s the ultimate mental exercise of paying attention to the present moment. You can practice mindfulness in any way you choose, but the best way is to focus on what’s happening right now. Be here. Observe what’s happening and become aware of how it makes you feel. For example, if you’re afraid of public speaking, notice where you feel nervous or anxious and let it go. Next, focus on the present moment and continue to relax. Don’t worry about what will happen in the future.
Face your fears.
It is not easy to face your fears. But you need to know that it is possible. You are going to have moments when you get scared, but there is always a way out. You may not be able to do it right away, that’s okay. You don’t have to face your fears today. You can start small, and work up to greater challenges. For example, if you are having a strong phobia of water or drowning, you can try taking small steps by taking a swim in the shallow end of the pool and have a friend with you to help you stay safe in the water. Since lack of swimming skills is one of the main causes of accidental drowning, it’s important to have someone with you if you’re going to try to overcome your fear of water.
Practice relaxation techniques.
It can be hard to completely relax when you’re afraid of something, but practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can help you reduce stress and fear. Deep breathing has been proven to have a calming effect, and it can be a useful technique since people with phobias tend to hold their breath when they are experiencing anxiety. Also, when you hold your breath, this can increase your anxiety levels. Breathing deeply and naturally can help you manage your anxiety. For example, if you are afraid of heights and you’re on the top floor of a building, you should try to consciously relax your breathing. By consciously relaxing, this will cause the levels of anxiety to decrease.
Exposure therapy using virtual reality.
Virtual reality (VR) exposure therapy is another effective form of exposure therapy. VR allows you to experience a situation in which your phobia occurs, without actually having to experience it physically. This is helpful because it allows you to focus on your fear without having to worry about your safety. Virtual reality exposure therapy can also help you overcome other phobias. For example, if you are having a phobia of heights; you might use VR to “fall” from virtual heights and practice landing without anxiety. However, you might need supervision from a trusted therapist or a professional to make sure you don’t lose your way with it. Keep in mind that it may also take more than one session to see positive results.
These four ways are sure to help anyone who is struggling with their fears. Remember, no matter where your phobia stems from or what form it takes, it’s never okay to be controlled by it. You can do anything in life if you set your mind to it, even the hardest thing of all: overcoming your phobia.