Understanding / Overcoming Fears, Phobias and Anxiety
Many people around the world experience a range of different fears, which can create anxiety, stress or panic.
There are many thousands of different fears, which cover the entire gamet of life.
These include aspects of nature (such as fear of spiders, heights, etc), man-made technology (flying, etc), environmental (speaking in front of crowds, agoraphobia, intimacy, etc).
This includes those fears which may have no apparent physical or mental trigger, or cause (eg. fear of death).
Issues such as these can often intensify over time and can become phobias - an unconscious habit we take with us throughout our life, which we have no conscious control over, whatsoever.
These are deeply personal and emotional issues which affect lives, health, relationships and even careers at their very core, all around the world.
Feeling scared is actually a natural self-defense mechanism we are all born with, to protect us from perceived dangers.
However, this process can become over-sensitive if triggered by some kind of traumatic event. This causes it to repeatedly cause symptoms of anxiety, even when their is no actual danger present. It becomes much like a type of mental 'program' running on our internal software.
While its true that it's your mind which actually triggers these symptoms, the fact is that physically you are experiencing a very real level of anxiety - in a place where support is generally not available.
Part of the problem is that those dont experience these fears or phobias,, often have no empathy or understanding of people who are afflicted by it, and their indifference often only heightens the anxiety that the sufferer is experiencing.
Because fears and phobias are involuntary, no matter how much you consciously try to prevent it occurring, your 'default settings' do not allow it.
In fact, often the harder we try, the worse the fear response can become - simply because it is beyond your conscious control.
It basically becomes an auto-pilot, automatic response which sends out warning signals every time you encounter that particular situation which triggers the fear.
Many people around the world suffer from a wide range of physical and mental symptoms from these - which can include difficulty breathing, shaking, heart palpitations, perspiring, dizziness, dry mouth, extreme worrying, impaired thinking, and many others.
The most common and effective treatment for symptoms of fear is by dealing with the issue right at the very source - the subconscious mind - the place where all fears reside within the mind.
Relaxation and hypnosis are most effective of dealing with issues within the subconscious,as they help to 're-program' our mind and continually reduce the mental and physical symptoms, until they reduce greatly or disappear completely.
Otherwise, here are some additional things that can be of help:
Mental Techniques for Fears / Phobias:
- taking your attention away from the stressor, and replacing fearful thoughts by repeating a few words or short phrase over and over again - about 100-200 times, silently in your mind.
This is often called a mantra, and prevents the mind from thinking anything else, and blocks negative thoughts. The words could be anything that you choose to repeat, but a positive phrase would probably be better - eg. Calm and relaxed.
- as fear is a reaction caused by negative and fearful thoughts, you can shut down all the negative chatter by closing your eyes, taking two deep breaths, in and out, then either:
a) Calm Place / Sanctuary
- go to a calm place in your mind, where you feel safe and protected, no matter whether the place is real, or imagined.
b) Inner Cave - imagine taking yourself to a protective inner cave, with a warm crackling fire, lying down on a soft bed, and imagine you are talking to a wise soul who is calming you with their sage advice (eg. Yoda etc).
c) Focus on Your Breath
- focus your attention upon your breath, and then count each outbreath - 1..2..3..4..and then go back to 1 and start again - and keep going until you feel relaxed and in control.
- can be of help to focus your mind's attention on something else other than the stressor. eg. reading a book, doing a crossword, or fixing your gaze onto a tiny spot on a wall, and don’t take your focus off it, even for a second. Just keep staring at that spot, and it will calm your mind down quickly (it’s a meditation technique).
4. Sensory Deprivation
- in some cases, some sensory deprivation can calm yourself down further, while using any of these techniques. eg. on a plane - using eye mask and ear plugs.
- has been shown to have excellent results with fears and phobias.
While mantras, relaxation and distraction can help ease anxiety symptoms, hypnosis helps address the fears deep at the core subconscious level, and allows you to change and improve automatic responses, and often remove the fear altogether.
This was my own experience, as before I became a hypnotherapist, I had first-hand experience of fear of flying, which I experienced during taking off, and landing, of flights. However once I addressed the fear with hypnotherapy (using the reinforcement of my own customized hypnosis recordings), the issue never returned.
While nothing can be regarded as a sure thing when it comes to addressing fears, the most reliable means has always been to tackle the issue at the very source.
As the source of fears and phobias is located at the subconscious level, this is why trying to overcome these issues at the 'conscious' level is generally doomed to failure - as the issues simply continue to return until they are properly attended to at their root cause.