It’s mid- October and in a few weeks we will celebrate Halloween. This season brings a lot of focus on costumes and candy and so much more. Children and young adults are spending a lot time thinking about what their costume for parties or trick-or-treating. By now most of us have already decorated our houses and our tables are adorned with pumpkins, and mummies, and witches. Our walls are adorned with pictures and wall hangings of skeletons, and skulls, and all sorts of things the frighten and haunt us. Needless to say this season brings a lot of focus on what scares us. Each of us have a different list of fears or phobias, but many of us fear the same things. The following is list of common fears that people have and a few suggestions and/or questions on how to tackle these head on.
- Fear of Public Speaking: If you are afraid of public speaking know that you are in good company. Many of us have taken public speaking classes in school, yet remain fearful. If you still find that you are afraid of public speaking I encourage you to keep practicing and to think about what scares you the most. There are many things that make people afraid of public speaking, but because we are busy we fail to think about this. When we don’t practice our public speaking and we don’t think about what scares us we fail to get over our fear of public speaking.
- Fear of Heights: If you are afraid of heights I encourage you to think about the root cause. What scares you the most? What would happen if you traveled to a high elevation such as a mountain and looked down? Would you be safe or not? Why or why not? If you willing and able take it a step further0- imagine yourself on top of that mountain. What would be like? How would you feel?
- Fear of Enclosed Spaces: If you are afraid of enclosed spaces try to think about the smallest and most enclosed space you would feel comfortable in. What makes you feel uncomfortable with being in a smaller space? What would happen if you challenged yourself by going into a space smaller than is comfortable for you? Next take it a step further and envision yourself in that enclosed space. What does that feel like?
- Fear of the Dark: Many children are afraid of the dark and most of the time this does not carry in to adulthood. Sometimes it does, and it can be crippling. People cope by using a nightlight, or avoiding situations where they have they have to go out in the dark. In this case I would ask where this fear came from? Did something ever happen that made you afraid of the dark? If yes, than it might be prudent to follow up with a mental health provider and discuss that in greater detail. If you haven’t and your fear of the dark keeps you from functioning normally I would also recommend going to a mental health provider
- Fear of Snakes, and/or Spiders: If you are afraid of snakes, and/or spiders think about the root cause? What triggered this fear? Did something ever happen to make you afraid of snakes, or spiders? What would happen if you put yourself in the company of snakes or spiders? If you are willing to take it a step further imagine yourself in the company of snakes and/or spiders? What would it be like? How would you feel?
- Fear of Medical Needles: At some point or another all of us will have to go to the doctor. Sooner or later all of us will have to get blood work or immunizations. Many of us will present with fear of the needle that is involved in getting blood drawn, or getting an immunization. If so ask yourself why you are afraid? Also, remember that you have the option of looking away. It may be the pain associated with the needle you are afraid of and if that is the case I ask yourself to think about the benefit of having blood drawn, or receiving an immunization. The pain is temporary but the benefits last a lot longer.
- Fear of the Dentist: As with the other fears on this list I ask you to think about the root cause of your fear of the dentist? Did something happen to make you afraid? If so what can you do about it now? What are the benefits of going to the dentist? What are the risks of not going? If you are willing imagine what it would be like if you did go. What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the best thing that could happen?
- Fear Thunder of Lightening: This is a common fear among children, but sometimes this carries on in to adulthood. Whether it does or not, I would ask you to ask yourself why you are scared? Has something ever happened that made you scared of thunder or lightening? If so what made you scared? What is the worst thing that could happen if you heard thunder or lightening?
- Fear of Death: We are often scared of what we don’t know and death is something that the living have yet to experience. There is no way for us to know what it is like after we die, but we certainly have ideas on what the future will hold for us after we leave this world behind us. As we grow older and as our strength fades we may begin to think differently about death, but this is not true for all. Everyone experiences death at a different age and our understanding of things is based on intellect, and experience so thoughts and fears regarding death vary. The only thing I have to offer- is a challenge to ask yourself why you are afraid of death? Also- know that your experience will not be the same as others who have gone on before you.
There are many more fears and the list could go for on for days, but those are some of the many. Books have been written about this and this really only scratches the surface, but I do hope that this gets you thinking and moving in a good direction.