Dreads, fears and phobias…oh my

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Dreads, fears and phobias…oh my

Kenna Curry - Graphics Artist

Kenna Curry - Graphics Artist

Kenna Curry - Graphics Artist

Virginia Fielder, Section Editor, The Bagpipe

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Common fears and how to control them

Getting into a tiny, confining, elevator. A black spider crawling up your arm. Standing at the top of a New York City skyscraper. Boarding an airplane. Standing in front of a ginormous crowd of people, having to give a speech. What do these things all have in common? They are all common fears.

Word for word, fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Fear can be generated from a variety of different objects, people, or something intangible. When someone has an intense and irrational fear of something, it’s known as a phobia. There are all different types of phobias. Some of the most common fears would be, Arachnophobia – the fear of spiders, Claustrophobia – the fear of small spaces, Aerophobia – the fear of flying, Acrophobia – the fear of heights, and Glossophobia – the fear of public speaking. Luckily most phobias have a solution to them, they can fade over time, or they can be treated.

Arachnophobia can be solved in a few detailed to-do list. First, start by making a list of exposure hierarchy. Number a list of one to ten of things that have to relate to spiders. An example would be capture a spider, look at pictures of spiders, or watch a friend hold a spider. It’s always okay to start small. Every day try holding a toy spider or staring at a picture of a spider for a certain amount of time, each day always hold or watch it for a little longer each time. If tolerating pictures and toys seems okay, try capturing a spider. It will give off a feeling of conquering something. Lastly, accept the fact that spiders are something that is necessary to co-exist with. For Acrophobia, begin by understanding the intensity and exact triggers for your phobia, like diving boards, rollercoasters, or climbing trees. Second consider the possibility of legitimate harm occurring. Next, relax. Doing activities like yoga, deep breathing, and sleeping are great ways to reduce anxiety caused by phobias. Finally, start overcoming the phobia. Try standing on a 2nd story balcony and then upgrading to a large hill to fully conquer the phobia. For Glossophobia, it’s important to understand and fully know the topic necessary to present. Try to have a mock presentation, by standing in front of just a few friends or family members. Don’t tell someone about the fear because they will be able to notice and point it out. During the presentation, remember that the audience is interested in what is being said. This should be a confidence boost to help move the speech along if the anxiety returns. Lastly, practice the speech in front of a larger group of people, in order to fully be prepared for the presentation.

It is extremely normal to have phobias or fears. Sometimes they go away with practice, and other times they go away over a period of time. It all just depends on how intense the phobia really is. Always try to conquer the fear. Don’t worry if it’s embarrassing because, someone else always has that same phobia.

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