Many people have intense fears that are hard to overcome. There may be a simple way to talk yourself out of your worst fears — though it’s probably not what you expect.
Photo by Morgan
When faced with something terrifying, most people might try to minimise the fear (eg, telling yourself that flying is statistically safer than driving). While that may feel comforting at the time, recent research cited in The Bottom Line suggests a better approach is to say exactly what’s on your mind.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, had participants who were afraid of spiders try to get as close as they could to a large, live tarantula. The group that used honest, negative words to describe their feelings and thoughts (“I’m anxious and frightened by this ugly, disgusting spider”) were able in a second experience with the spider to get closer to it (and also sweat less during the experience) compared to the groups who said nothing, tried to distract themselves, or played down their phobia.
Whatever your phobia, confronting the fear head on and verbalising how you feel may help you gradually overcome it. (That’s part of the three-step strategy I used to get over my worst fear too.)
How to Overcome Your Biggest Phobia [Bottom Line]