Are you scared more than other people?

Finding a stuffy lift uncomfortable is normal, but taking 10 flights of stairs to avoid taking an empty lift, isn’t. We all have different fears for different reasons, but when these fears interrupt the flow of your daily life, then you may have a phobia. Phobias aren’t just extreme fears, they are irrational fears. If you have a phobia, you may realise that your fears are illogical, but often facing, or even thinking about facing, the feared object or situation brings on a panic attack or severe anxiety.

Phobias are separated into three categories:

  • If you can’t bring yourself to be in the same room as a small spider, you may have a specific fear. Specific phobias are things that involve a constant fear of a specific object or situation. Think of things like being afraid of heights, injections, animals or insects (like dogs or cats), and loud noises. You may experience one or a few specific phobias.
  • Feeling shy when meeting new people is normal in most cases, but if you consciously avoid social gatherings or interacting with people, then you may have a social phobia. Social phobia is a combination of extreme self-consciousness and the fear of being humiliated publicly. You would be afraid of being rejected, of offending others and being judged.
  • If you actively avoid leaving your home or other places where you feel safe, or being alone, then you might have agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is the fear of being in any situation where there is no easy escape or help if you feel anxiety. This usually develops after one or more panic attack.
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Symptoms of phobias

  • Uncontrollable panic.
  • Inability to function normally.
  • Physical and psychological reactions (screaming, sweating, and feeling of panic).
  • Wanting to escape at all costs.

Tips for overcome your phobia

  • Exposing yourself to your phobia will help you to fight it. For example, if you have a fear of heights, start out small and climb up a short ladder.
  • Learn how to calm yourself down after feeling overwhelmed by using different physical senses. You can try to look at things that soothe you (a beautiful view or pictures you like), listening to music that you love or eating something that you enjoy.
  • Challenging your phobia and negative thoughts will slowly help you to work through it. Think about how you are feeling and ask yourself whether it is justified. For example, if you are afraid to walk over a bridge for fear that it will collapse, ask yourself if this is true, then why are so many people are crossing it?
  • When fear and anxiety strike, we often forget to breathe. Consciously remind yourself to take long, slow, deep breaths.
  • Find a concrete object around you and fixate on it. It could be a vase on the table or your phone in your hand. Focus all your attention on the object and allow your anxiety to recede.

If your fears are getting the better of you, why not log into the member portal and chat to a doctor? They may have some great advice to help you conquer the boogeyman in your mind.

References:

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/phobias/basics/symptoms/con-20023478
  2. http://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/phobias-and-fears.htm
  3. http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/fear-factor-phobias?page=2