Under certain circumstances, each of us is capable of developing an intense fear or phobia of something, someone or a situation. The reason behind phobias is not genetic; rather they are triggered by life circumstances or events. There is no proven drug phobia treatment but certain medicines can be prescribed to cure your fear and relieve anxiety. However, the majority of these medications work only temporarily and also have several side effects. Therefore, experts stress upon trying to deal with the phobia by accepting and confronting it instead of using medicines all the time.
Self help techniques to cure fear
Let me show you some proven techniques and phobia treatment options that can help you overcome your fear on your own.
Keep a journal
Expert motivational speaker and life coach Robin Sharma recommends journaling as a proven and powerful technique to make positive changes in life. The journal need not have long entries; rather it can be filled with positive reaffirmations, rational thoughts regarding one’s fear and also ideas or inspirations that strike through the day.
Create a fear ladder
This involves making a list of all the situations or objects you fear. For example, if you fear dogs, you can make a list like: “I fear thinking about dogs, I fear looking at a picture of a dog and I fear dogs which are barking or are not on a leash” and so on. Once you have made this list, you need to categorize it into “Least Scary” and “Most Scary”. This means you assign the fear a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is most scary and 1 is least scary. Once this fear ladder has been developed, you can try and expose yourself to those situations that are least scary and progress to the next step of the ‘fear ladder’. For example, in the above situation, you can start by looking at photos of dogs, or hearing their bark or seeing them in a video and gradually progress to being in close vicinity of a dog for prolonged period. The key is to not rush things. Be patient and take your time.
Read religious books
No matter whether you are a believer or non believer, turning to religious self help books is a proven way of relieving anxiety and facing your fear. Fears and phobias are evolutionary; they have existed since the beginning of time and fear of what might happen is a part and parcel of life. By reading the Bible, or other religious book, you can try understand and accept this concept.
Get into the self rewarding habit
Many individuals have seen great results with this type of self-help phobia treatment. For example, if you fear heights, you can climb to the top of a building or look out of a window for five minutes, at the end of which you can treat or reward yourself. The next time, you can increase this period to up to 10 minutes or longer while promising to reward yourself handsomely.
Other methods for phobia treatment
- Hypnotherapy– This is a proven phobia treatment that can cure many social and animal phobias. It gets to the root of the issue to help you deal with the anxiety in a much calmer manner.
- Psychotherapy– This is of two types: behavior and cognitive behavior therapies. Both types help you to mentally re-approach each anxiety inducing situation to cure your fear once and for all.
- Systematic desensitization– This is a type of behavior therapy that aims to remove the fear or disgust response to an object, animal or situation and replace it with relaxation response by using gradual counter conditioning. This therapy involves training yourself in muscle de-tensioning and deep breathing techniques.
- NLP or neuro-linguistic programming– This therapy is based on the principle that a phobia origins from tightly wound neural network. The patients are made to imagine themselves in high-anxiety causing situations and then imagine that they are watching themselves in that situation as if in a movie. Then they are asked to “reverse the images” and freeze frame the end of the phobia. This is a five minute rewind therapy that is known to work on all phobias and most patients claim being unafraid at the end of the session.
These are some of the phobia treatment options that can cure your fear so you can get on with your life. If you are looking for some tools that can make your life a little easier, here are the top 10 self-help books on phobias and fears.