A survey of 22 countries revealed that the lifetime prevalence rate of specific phobias ranges from 2.6% to 12.5% across regions, according to a study on NCBI. Everyone has fears that are difficult to rationalize, be it the fear of heights, public speaking, or insects. While slight worries and fears are natural, they can become phobias. Note that phobias can significantly affect your mental, emotional, and physical health, as they cause anxiety and stress levels to increase. Typically, people living with a phobia are always thinking of avoiding feared items or environments even if you’re not exposed to them daily. Fortunately, it’s possible to overcome phobias if you follow the right steps to heal yourself. If you’re struggling with an intense fear of specific objects or situations, below are a few holistic tips for managing your phobia.
Identify And Eliminate Unrealistic Thoughts
This process favors cognitive behavioral therapy, which often involves recognizing unrealistic beliefs and writing down things that make you anxious. Once you’ve identified factors that trigger your phobias, make an effort to reframe your negative thoughts to something helpful. Doing so helps you understand the cause of your phobia and learn how to cope with it. There are several benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy, like reduced anxiety and depression levels. You’ll also notice an improvement in phobia severity, and you’re more likely to manage triggers that result in fear effectively.
Expose Yourself To Your Fears
If the thought of dealing with your fears overwhelms you, then consider the desensitization technique. This method entails exposing yourself to feared objects or surroundings slowly and then withdraw whenever your anxiety levels start to increase. For example, if you fear swimming, spend a considerable amount of time daily or weekly at your local swimming pool. Over time, you’ll feel at ease being near the pool and eventually gain an interest to get in the water and swim. Taking small steps like sitting by the poolside, dipping your legs in the water, and learning how to float, is a sure way of overcoming aquaphobia. Since you’ll have good knowledge about risks that cause drowning and how to avoid them, you can engage in various water activities without fear.
Phobias tend to occur subconsciously, meaning your body and mind will react with fear, even if you convince yourself that the feared environment or item isn’t life-threatening. With this in mind, you may want to try hypnotherapy for specific phobias. This alternative treatment helps you change your thoughts and behavior towards a phobia by communicating with your subconscious. Hypnotherapy aims to help you identify the cause of specific phobias and triggers while in a hypnotic or relaxed state. Like exposure therapy, you can face your fears in a controlled environment, recognize any potential triggers in an unconscious state, and unlearn negative or panic responses.
Managing and overcoming a specific phobia is possible if you implement cognitive behavioral therapy, self-exposure therapy, hypnotherapy, and relaxation techniques. However, to achieve positive results, you must be patient, dedicated, and persistent. You’ll also need to be self-compassionate and seek support from loved ones and therapists throughout your healing journey.