Coping with Irrational Fears

August 13, 2019

Some fears are entirely rational. Most of us are scared of pain or dying. These are scary things. The fear makes sense. But, not all of our fears do. In fact, most of our phobias are completely irrational. You might know that a small house spider won’t hurt you, but that can’t stop you being terrified. You can be completely aware that injections are a good thing, they are to protect you, and they won’t really hurt for long, but you might still have anxiety attacks at the very thought. Most of us know that the dentist is a good person that is there to help us, but still, we’re nothing short of terrified of even making an appointment.

Some of these fears you can manage. If you are scared of small spaces, you might just avoid them, but then what if you need to conquer mri claustrophobia one day? Your fear, even the one that you can manage in day to day life, might one day affect your life. So, let’s take a look at some ways to cope with, and reduce those irrational fears.

Understand Your Fear

What exactly are you scared of? When we’re afraid of heights, it’s not usually the height itself that we are fearful of. It’s the chance of falling, or the fear of what might happen. You might not be fully aware of what exactly you are scared of, so try to understand it. Take some time to try to understand what makes you feel anxious, or what worries you about certain things.

Understanding your fear gives you power over it, or at least a better chance to confront the cause, instead of trying to tackle the fear itself.

Take it One Step at a Time

Some people will advise you to confront your fear head on. But, this can lead to more considerable anxiety and pressure. You might start to worry about not just your fear, but your reactions to it. You might panic that you’ll make a fool of yourself in front of others, which will cause your anxiety to grow, giving it a higher power over you.

Sticking with the heights example, literally take things one step at a time. Get gradually higher or closer to an edge. Take your time.

Stay Present

Fear is overwhelming and all-consuming. It’s so easy to lose your head completely. So, try to stay present. Think about your surroundings, what you are doing, who you are with, and what you need to do next. Stay present, don’t let fear take over.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

If you feel fear building, take a few minutes to calm down — practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing and visualisation to get you through.

Go Easy on Yourself

Another reason that our fears get worse is that we’re ashamed and embarrassed by them. You might punish yourself or think that you are weak. You aren’t. We’re all scared of something. Give yourself a break and forgive yourself. This can ease any tension that you might have.

Reward Your Achievements

A small step toward confronting your fear might not seem significant, but it is. You should reward yourself for them, or at least acknowledge the actions that you have taken.

One response to “Coping with Irrational Fears”

  1. Galina V says:

    I have too many phobias – heights and flying, enclosed small spaces, snakes, and dentists too (though after the last dental treatment at the beginning of the year it’s gone even worse, because it was too painful and he didn’t do a good job anyway). The only thing that I can motivate myself with is to tell myself that it will pass, like everything else, that by this time tomorrow it will be over most likely etc.

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