Everyone has something that they are afraid of. Some of those fears can paralyze and debilitate us. These fears are known as phobias and are intense and irrational based on specific objects, people, or situations, and triggers are the stimuli that set off these fear responses.
Triggers can be external, such as encountering a spider, or internal, such as having a panic attack triggered by a specific thought or feeling. Sometimes just being around someone who is a stress factor in your life or finding yourself in a situation that had previously caused you massive anxiety can trigger a series of phobic reactions within you.
Understanding and identifying triggers can be essential to managing phobias, as it allows individuals to anticipate and avoid triggering situations or develop coping strategies to deal with them.
Fears That Develop Into Phobias
Crippling fear can cause your body's heart to race, your head to pound, and thoughts to race at a million miles a minute. You feel paralyzed, and your body stops dead in its tracks, much like a deer in the headlights when a car approaches it head-on.
After having experienced this type of debilitating fear, you end up dreading it happening again. So it's only natural for your conscious and subconscious mind to want to avoid the places, situations, circumstances, and people that cause you to feel fearful and miserable.
What Causes You Mental And Physical Distress?
The most common phobias that cause panic in a lot of people are:
- Agoraphobia - the fear of open spaces
- Acrophobia - the fear of heights
- Aerophobia - the fear of flying
- Arachnophobia - the fear of spiders
- Claustrophobia - the fear of enclosed spaces
- Glossophobia - the fear of public speaking
The list of things that people fear is almost unlimited and includes other things like the fear of animals, seeing blood and needles, and going to the dentist. These irrational fears and phobias are hard to explain to someone who hasn't experienced them.
Suppose you have felt helpless while your body reacted to a trigger that set it into a flight or fight mode or have witnessed your friend or a loved one go through the different stages of panic. In that case, it's hard to snap out of a panic attack. It's time for you and your fellow sufferers to live a life where you are no longer bogged down by your phobia.
How would your life improve if you could rid yourself of your phobias?
Imagine being able to go out with friends to a packed restaurant, singing along to the songs of your favorite band at a concert venue, flying to an exotic destination you had always wanted to visit, swimming in the ocean, and gaining access to places because you're able to take the elevator instead of going up 15 flights of stairs.
Getting help for phobias through therapy and techniques can transform your life, improving your career, relationships, and overall well-being.
The Mindset Shift That Can Help You Overcome Your Fears
Studies have shown that thinking about something positive will result in positive things happening to you. Everyone is capable of being in charge of their personal belief system. You don't have to allow negative experiences or uncontrollable circumstances to affect your mindset.
Once you're clear that you need help, it will be much easier for you to reach out and seek external help from a psychologist, life coach, cognitive behavioral therapist, or even a good friend to help you learn different techniques for overcoming your phobias.
The more you implement these techniques, shift your perspective, confront your fear, and use positive self-talk, the more your mindset changes. The interpretation you give your worries changes them for the better so that they no longer strike fear in you and weigh you down.
Your mindset will have transformed so that you begin to experience firsthand that you are no longer victimized by your own fear mindset. In addition, it will become apparent to the people around you, especially your family, friends, and colleagues, as they will notice your shift in energy and outlook.
Different Techniques For Using Your Mindset To Overcome Your Fears
Systematic desensitization for phobias
- The first step you take is to learn deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques.
- The second step you take is to think about the person, animal, place, thing, or circumstances that cause the anxiety that you associate with your phobia.
- The third step is to use relaxation techniques while thinking or watching a video about your phobia.
- The relaxation techniques and imagery of your stressor improve the phobia symptoms.
- The final step is for you to be around that object or in that situation that causes that phobia. The therapist gradually and repeatedly exposes you to whatever triggers your anxiety that causes your dread.
The ultimate goal is to feel more at ease around that stimulus.
Did you ever notice your jaw stiffen, your teeth clench, and your fingers roll into the palm of your hand to form a fist as you held your breath whenever you felt anxious and stressed out?
Here are a few relaxation techniques that you can use to reduce that anxious feeling.
- Deep Breathing Exercises are helpful because they put you in a meditative state and reduce your anxiety and fear.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation is training in which you tense the different muscles in your body for a few seconds before releasing that tension, causing your body to relax.
- Guided imagery involves using visualization techniques that help you feel relaxed when you think of images of people, pets, places, smells, etc., to relieve stress.
Exposure therapy is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that involves gradually exposing a person to a feared object or situation in a controlled and safe environment.
Exposure therapy aims to help individuals overcome anxiety and fear by confronting their phobias directly, which can help reduce the anxiety response over time.
During exposure therapy, the individual may learn new coping mechanisms and techniques to manage their fear and anxiety, which can ultimately help them to lead a more fulfilling life.
- Vivo Exposure Therapy is commonly used to overcome social anxiety. Instead of avoiding going to a huge party, you start by meeting a few people. Then, you work your way up until you feel comfortable being in a larger group.
- Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy allows you to stand before a large, realistic-looking computer-generated crowd if you're afraid of speaking in public. You sit in the cockpit of a plane or a flight simulator, which exposes you to the imagined dangers of flying while being in a safe environment.
- Imaginal Exposure Therapy involves being in a therapist's office and imagining a place, situation, or thing that triggers your phobia. Then, you tell your therapist about the emotions that you were feeling so you can work with the therapist to come up with solutions.
- The benefit of imaginal exposure therapy is that it helps you beat your phobia by recognizing that having these thoughts is the worst that can happen because they are your own intentional creation.
Fears and phobias do not have to control your life. However, you can beat them by recognizing that you can control them with the right mindset and attitude.