Saturday, September 30, 2006

“Step Away from the Panic Button: Conquering Fear” by Tenzin

“All of us are born with a set of instinctive fears- of falling, of the dark, of lobsters, of falling on lobsters in the dark or speaking before the Rotary Club, and of the words “Some Assembly Required.”
- Dave Barry

Where all else fails to stop us from achieving what we want from life, fear steps in. We experience fear on both conscious and unconscious levels, and it is one of the most limiting emotions we possess. In some cases fear is justified, and even healthy.

For example, a person contemplating crossing a busy street will harbor a healthy fear of being struck by two tons of rapidly moving steel commonly known as a motor vehicle (at least, if he or she is a reasonably sane person who understands the basic laws of physics: moving car + walking person = splat).

This fear breeds caution, which causes the person to look both ways for oncoming traffic and wait for an appropriate time to venture across the road.
However, unjustified fear- which can be just as crippling and realistic as justified fear- is more often the case when fear is a factor. Not many people risk their lives on a regular basis. Humiliation, rejection, and failure top the list* of limiting fears that can be overcome with practice and determination.

Actually, spiders top the list of fears for most people. Arachnophobia- fear of spiders- is the most common type of fear in the world. However, fear of spiders is completely justifiable, as spiders are creepy eight-legged insects with fangs, alien eyes, and a tendency to drop on you out of nowhere.

One of the easiest and most successful methods of dealing with fear is exposure therapy, which is actually facing your fears one small step at a time.

If you don’t feel you can handle exposure therapy alone, enlist a friend to participate- especially if you can find a friend who doesn’t fear the same things you do.

With exposure therapy, the objective is to experience fear to a small degree several times, so that each time it becomes easier to conquer. (Please note that exposure therapy does not apply to every situation. For example, if you are afraid of flying, it is not recommended that you leap from successively higher perches and attempt to become airborne.)
The next time, I’m going to reveal to you some of the ways you can implement exposure therapy for the Big Three fears!
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