Do you have a severely negative response to some things? If you run screaming from spiders or avoid some situations all together, then you could have a phobia, but it is possible to use the power of your mind to overcome irrational fears.

Do you run screaming from a tiny spider? Or perhaps you're too afraid to get on an airplane? You have a phobia! A phobia is an irrational, overwhelming and debilitating fear of something. Rationally, you know the tiny spider can't hurt you, or you know your odds of being in a plane crash are miniscule, yet you just can get over your deep seated fear.

So why do phobias strike? Well, phobias usually first rear their ugly heads in childhood, but they can also develop later in life. In both cases, phobias are an exaggeration of an irrational fear. They strike when you lose perspective on the thing you become afraid of. This most often happens in childhood after an upsetting experience that your young mind can't properly process. But as an adult, you can allow fears to become magnified and out of perspective, too. So beating your phobia is all about getting your fear and anxiety back into perspective and grounding your thoughts in reality.

Common phobias include fear of:

  • Spiders
  • Dental treatment
  • Public speaking
  • Heights
  • Injections
  • Confined spaces
  • Flying in an aircraft
  • Death
  • Clowns

Phobia-busting ideas

1) Pause not panic!

The first instinct when faced with a phobia is to panic! Then you get caught up in feeling afraid and can't come back from that feeling. Instead, force yourself to pause. Take a mental step back from the situation. Give yourself time to think rationally. Write down your phobia on paper underneath list all the aspects of it which frighten you. Then next to each aspect write why each aspect frightens you. You might struggle to think of a rational reason for some aspect. That's good! It helps you see that your fear is not based in reality.

2) Breathe & relax

Sounds weird, as when you're feeling phobic, you're far from relaxed! But by taking deep breaths you circulate oxygen around your body, making you feel more relaxed.

Once you're calmer you'll be more able to think rationally instead of being phobic about the situation.

3) Rationalise

If you feel a phobia kicking in, use your rational brain to think yourself out of your anxiety. Your rational brain knows this phobia cannot really hurt you. Look at the situation clearly. Tell yourself you can face this. You are strong enough. Use a positive affirmation to help your rational brain take over. Say: 'I know this cannot hurt me. I am calm. I am safe.' Or write your own affirmation which has special meaning for you.

4) Be prepared

If you know you're going to be in a situation where your phobia might strike - a trip to the dentist or going into a lift on your way to an office meeting. You can mentally prepare to face you phobia before it creeps up on you. Psyche yourself up the night or morning before. Use your affirmation. Also, visualise yourself having the experience which usually kicks off your phobia - but visualise it going well and NOT triggering your phobia. By doing this you are training your mind to react positively.

5) Cure yourself - slowly

Create your own therapy by gradually exposing yourself to the thing or experience that triggers your phobia. Start by looking at pictures, then watch a recording, then be in the same room as your phobia trigger, then begin to interact with your phobia trigger - the idea is by this time it will not trigger you. But the key to this tip is to take it slowly. Very slowly. Perhaps over months. Gradual exposure will help you to recognise your phobia as non-threatening.

6) Avoid sugar & caffiene

Sugar and caffeine are stimulants which will make you jittery. If you have a phobia, you'll already be feeling jittery! So stimulants are a bad idea. You want to feel calm and relaxed, instead.

7) Re-view the past

Past events which have become blown out of proportion in your mind are usually the cause of phobias. Think back to when you first felt your phobia. What was happening? What did you see, hear, feel, think? Can you see a link between this initial event and your current phobia? This will help you recognise that the reality of your current situation - when your phobia is triggered - is far removed from your recollections of past events. Focus on the reality of your current situation.

Need a helping hand?

If you feel like you need to break out of a negative way of thinking or simply would like a different perspective and true insight into something that scares you, why not get in touch with one of our psychic readers? We have highly experienced, insighful psychic readers online now.

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