The good news is nobody is born sad, negative, shy, full of self loathing, anxious or a failure. We are all a product of our environment. By changing our environment (or thought processes) things can get better and become more manageable.
In the same respect, no one is born with a phobia.
We are only born with two fears; a fear of falling and a fear of loud noises. Every other fear (or phobia) is learned from either a copied behaviour (for example a parent) or as a result of a traumatic, frightening or bad experience in which you have created an inaccurate learning or belief which is known as a schema.
As you weren’t born with your phobia, the good news is that you don’t have to live with it forever as your belief is untrue and is likely to be based on a misinterpretation of an event. If your fear were true then EVERYONE would have the same phobia as you.
A phobia is created to protect you from a ‘perceived’ danger only.
Below are some tips from The Speakmans to assist you in alleviating some of the common symptoms of a phobia:
- To alter your fearful schema or reference, close your eyes and imagine the event that started the phobia or if you do not know this, imagine your first or worst phobic response and see it as a movie. Watch it from start to finish and notice how it feels. Score your negative feelings and emotions out of 10. Close your eyes once more and this time, run your movie backwards, finish to start as fast as possible. Do this repeatedly each time faster than the last. After you have done this several times, when you look back at the memory you will notice your feelings about it have changed. This should help to alleviate your fear; however, if you are still a little uncomfortable then repeat the process.
- Question your belief. Ask yourself: Why did it start? What is your belief and is that belief true? Look for evidence as to why your belief is NOT true and then ask would you ever believe something you knew was incorrect. Try looking at the starting event of your phobia once more from an objective third-party perspective and ask yourself how else could you have interpreted that event more positively. Finally, consider why you would be victimising and blaming the thing you are phobic to? Is that blame fair?
- Think of someone who really makes you laugh, think about a time you laughed uncontrollably then while laughing and feeling happy recall what you are phobic to. Immediately switch to the funny event again making the thought clear, large and colourful. Repeat until you notice that the laughter dilutes your anxiety.
20 of the most common phobias are:
- Public speaking
- Social situations or being judged
- Enclosed spaces
- Public or open places
- Needles or injections
- Motorway / Driving