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Phobia Help

Phobia Help

Richard Underwood

US English Edition published January 2016

 

Published at Shakespir

 

Copyright 2016 Richard Underwood

 

License Notes

Thank you for downloading this free ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

You Are In Control

Four Small Steps

The Big Step

All Phobias

Four Steps and Four Truths

Enjoy the Rest of Your Life

Forum Comments and Questions

About The Author

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Introduction

Fear is a pretty useful thing to have in your armory. It is pretty useful to be afraid of falling if that fear stops you standing on the edge of a crumbling cliff, it is pretty useful to be afraid of being involved in a traffic accident if that fear makes you a more careful and considerate driver, and it is pretty useful to be afraid of cats if you live in a jungle full of wild tigers. However, there are limits to fear’s usefulness, and you can have too much of a good thing. If the fear of falling prevents you climbing a flight of stairs, and the fear of being involved in a traffic accident prevents you getting into a car, and the fear of cats prevents you visiting a close relative who owns a domestic cat, then you have a natural fear that has become an un-natural phobia.

So fear is a natural thing that keeps us safe, but when that fear is taken to un-natural extremes it becomes an irrational phobia which blights our life.

There is a saying in politics and business that ‘knowledge is power’, but what is true within the political and business world is also true when it comes to more personal things. Irrational fears or phobias are well described as ‘irrational’ as it is often the irrationality which makes us unable to overcome those fears. The more we understand the processes involved, and the more ‘knowledge’ we have about our phobias, the less hold those phobias have upon us.

Is your life being ruined by irrational fear or phobia? Is there some situation that causes you acute anxiety? Are you afraid?

You are not alone. There are thousands, if not millions, of people in the world today who are paralyzed with a fear that blights some area of their life. Whether it is a fear of spiders, a fear of flying, a fear of heights, a fear of elevators, a general anxiety or a specific phobia, this book will help. In fact, it can do more than help. This book will help you examine your phobia and its affects, and that knowledge will ultimately help you to overcome it and live a more normal life.

The techniques used in this book are tried and tested in real life situations. They are the techniques learned whilst providing support to members of the West Yorkshire Ambulance Service in the UK. The paramedics often had to attend scenes where people had been mutilated or severely injured in accidents, and the techniques that helped them cope with their fears can also help you cope with yours. These same techniques have also been used after traumatic events such as armed robberies and assaults in the workplace, where they enabled those people traumatized by the events to return to work.

I want you to imagine for a moment, a toddler learning to walk. They let go of their mother’s hand and they stagger a few paces before falling on the floor. What do they do? They simply get up and try again. It doesn’t matter how often they fall over, ten times, twenty times, a hundred times, the toddler never thinks to themselves, “I may hurt myself when I fall down so I’m not going to walk anymore.” It never crosses their mind. The fear just isn’t there. However much they hurt themselves they keep trying and they eventually walk without staggering and without falling over. Very quickly they are walking without even thinking about it.

Fear is learned, but toddlers appear to be fearless.

I want you to imagine the same toddler, but this time, whenever they let go of their mother’s hand the mother shouts out, “No,” and whenever the toddler falls over the mother screams out loud. This toddler will be afraid to try and walk, and will take a lot longer learning to walk, because they’ve been taught to be afraid. They have heard the mother’s words and scream, and those reactions will have created fear. They have learned to be afraid.

Your phobia has been learned too, but this time it’s not one of your parents who have been talking to you. It’s not someone else’s voice you’ve heard; it’s been your own voice. You’ve been talking to yourself, and you have been teaching yourself to be afraid.

Every time you have got into that elevator the voice has said, “It’s going to breakdown or fall.” Every time you’ve seen that spider, your inner voice has said, “It’s going to attack me.” Every time you have wanted to get on that plane, you’ve said to yourself, “That plane is going to crash.”

Not only has your inner voice been talking to you, but your inner eye has been showing you things. In your mind’s eye you’ve seen the elevator falling, the spider attacking, the plane crashing.

The first thing that this book can teach you is that you’ve been lying to yourself. Your inner voice and your mind’s eye have both been lying to you! Let me take someone who is afraid of heights as a simple but practical example. Someone who is afraid of heights can stand on a square piece of carpet in the middle of a room with no bother at all. Their legs are not going to go weak at the knees and they are not going to sink to the floor or fall or faint. They are in complete control. They can step forwards, or backwards, or even move sideways off the square piece of carpet. They have complete freedom of choice.

Now imagine the same square of carpet at the top of a flight of stairs. The same person becomes scared stiff and is either rooted to the spot, falls to the floor, or steps backwards. Why is that? It is simply because the person who is afraid of heights has said to themselves “I am going to fall.” They were in no greater risk of falling when standing at the top of the stairs than when they were standing in the middle of the room, so when they said “I am going to fall,” they were lying to themselves. Not only lying, but they believed the lie; and their body reacted accordingly.

There are many different types of phobias and a book of this type cannot cover every individual type, so for most of this book I am going to use the illustration of someone who has a fear of elevators, and who is afraid of entering or travelling in a lift. The lessons learned as to how to deal with a phobia of elevators can be carried over to deal with many other types of phobia too. After going through the general principals as they affect someone with a phobia of elevators I will be examining how those same principals can be extended into other phobic areas.

When you’ve refused to get in the elevator and you walked up the stairs instead, did the elevator get stuck? Did it fall through the floors to the basement? Was everyone in the elevator killed or seriously injured? No. In fact, the incidents of anyone coming to any harm by using an elevator is infinitesimally small. When your inner voice told you the elevator was going to fall, and when your mind’s eye showed you the terrible consequences, they were quite simply lying to you.

Did the spider attack whoever went near it, of course it didn’t; and did those that got on the plane arrive safely, of course they did. So your inner voice and mind’s eye were lying again.

The facts are these (and you can look up the statistics if you don’t believe me) the chances of you becoming injured through getting in an elevator, through being bitten by a spider, or of dying in a plane crash are far smaller than many other things that you do every day without giving them a second thought. I have already mentioned how children learn to walk, but the truth is you are more likely to injure yourself by tripping over a curb stone than you are to injure yourself in any of the ways you are afraid of. Yet you walk around every day without worrying about tripping yourself up.

There’s nothing wrong with the elevator, with the spider, or with the plane, but there is something wrong with your inner voice and your mind’s eye and it’s these two things that this book teaches you to control.

Your inner voice and your mind’s eye normally work fine and they are always worth paying attention to, but in one particular area of your life they have been lying to you. This book will help you re-train your inner voice and your mind’s eye, so that you can recognize the truth.

I want you to imagine you are afraid of getting in an elevator. Maybe some of you reading this do have a phobia about elevators, but if not, just imagine it for a moment. In a second of bravado you get in the elevator, but as the door closes you change your mind. Your heart starts beating faster, you start shaking, you become short of breath, and you feel faint. You imagine the elevator crashing, you tell yourself it’s going to crash. You tell yourself you have got to get out. You see how small it is, and you tell yourself you will not have enough air to breathe. You see yourself suffocating, and you imagine yourself dying. You must get out, but the doors have just closed. You press the button to open the door but it doesn’t open. You press the emergency stop, but the elevator doesn’t stop. You press the alarm, and you can hear it ringing, but the elevator just keeps on going up anyway. The elevator stops at the top and by this time you are a nervous wreck. You summon the last of your remaining strength to open the doors, but instead of opening, the doors remain tightly closed and the elevator starts to travel downwards again. You are panicking and sure you are going to die, and you start banging on the elevator doors in hysterics. You feel a great sense of relief as the elevator stops at the bottom, but then your relief turns to horror as the elevator starts upwards again without the doors opening.

Imagine yourself in this situation, and ask yourself what would happen to you if it continued for an hour.

Would you die? Would you suffocate?

The truth is, that fear is a pretty short-term emotion. The body cannot sustain full on fear for any length of time. There’s only so much adrenalin that the body can produce in a short space of time, so in the longer term your heartbeat would slow and your breathing would return to normality. That’s the truth.

Your heartbeat may remain at a high level for a few minutes, but after that it would return to normal. You may gasp for panicky breath for a few minutes, but then your breathing would return to normal. You may break out in a cold sweat for a few minutes, but then the cold sweats would stop. After ten minutes you would be angry, a little anxious, but not afraid. After an hour you would be annoyed, bored, anxious about how long you would have to wait till you are rescued, but not afraid of the elevator itself. The fear would have been replaced by sheer boredom.

Your inner voice would have lied to you that the elevator was going to crash, and your mind’s eye would have lied when it showed you all the gory details. The truth is, that elevators are really rather boring. They simply go up and down, week-in, week-out, year-in, year-out, up and down time after time with hardly ever any faults. Nothing is perfect, and all mechanical things break down from time to time, but it’s important that you know the truth. Elevators used by the public have so many inspections and so many safety systems and back up cables and brakes that for several decades there has never been an instance of a public elevator falling. It just doesn’t happen. For sure, elevators sometimes get stuck and doors sometimes refuse to open, but if people are inside an elevator they are almost always released within an hour. Even in the event of a building having a complete power failure, a public elevator has a manual over-ride that allows the elevator to be lowered to the next floor and for the doors to be opened manually from outside.

This book isn’t all about elevators, but this introductory section is designed to explain one of the basic facts about your fear or phobia. One of the ways your phobia has grown to its present debilitating level is because your inner voice and your mind’s eye have been lying to you, and those lies have created, and then reinforced, the fear.

This book will help you to reverse the process. It will help re-train your inner voice and your mind’s eye, so that they are telling you the truth, and that truth will set you free. The truth will help dispel your fear and this in turn will help you to beat your phobia and reclaim your life.

 

Truth 1: Your inner voice and your mind’s eye have been lying to you, and it is those lies that have caused your irrational fear.

 

You Are In Control

The second truth I want to tell you is that you are in control. Let me explain.

Imagine ‘losing your temper’ and hitting someone. That’s a wonderful phrase isn’t it, ‘losing your temper,’ but what does it actually mean? What is a ‘temper?’ How does it get lost? Where has it gone? The phrase actually means very little at all. It means nothing. It’s just an excuse. It is just more lies.

When you throw back your arm, and you clench your fist, and you punch your arm forward, and you strike the person who has annoyed you; it is you who have done it. You are not a puppet. You are not being moved by some invisible puppet-master who is pulling your strings. There was no outside force that took control of your body and moved your arm. The person who caused you to ‘lose your temper’ hasn’t given you some magic potion that has allowed them to control your arm and punch themselves in the face. Nobody else was in control. You did it. You were in control.

Let’s get back to your phobia. We’ll stick with the elevator for now, as it will be easier to explain. We’ll deal with the specifics of other phobias later.

You are in the elevator and your heart starts beating faster, but what has caused it to quicken? It’s not the elevator that has caused your heart to beat faster. The elevator is an inanimate object. Your heart is beating faster because your brain has told it to. Your brain, and the conscious and unconscious thoughts in your brain, has controlled your heart.

There is no way in which the elevator can control your heart. There is no physical connection between any part of the elevator and any part of your heart. They are simply not physically touching one another. There is also no emotional connection between any part of the elevator and any part of your heart. They are simply not emotionally touching one another. Why? Simply because the elevator has no emotion. It is an inanimate object. You are connected physically and emotionally to your heart, and it is you, and you alone, that is the cause of its increased beating. Consciously or unconsciously, you are telling your heart to beat faster. You are the person in control.

All the symptoms of phobia or panic attacks are caused by you. Your body has a built in mechanism to cope with danger, and it’s known as the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism. Your body is genetically engineered so that when you are in the middle of the jungle and you come face to face with a man eating tiger, your mind tells your brain that you are in danger, and your brain sends out an immediate signal to other areas of your body to prepare for immediate ‘fight or flight.’ Your heart beat increases and your breathing speeds up, and vital blood and oxygen is quickly pumped to the muscles in your arms and legs. The ‘fight or flight’ mechanism can save your life, but your mind sometimes gets things wrong, and it can instigate the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism at inappropriate times.

A tiger is pretty recognizable, and personally I’d like the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism to kick in if I was to come face to face with a tiger in the wild. However, if I was viewing one safely behind bars in a zoo, or if I suddenly came face to face with my neighbor’s domestic cat, then it wouldn’t be appropriate for the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism to kick in.

If there is one thing we know about the human body it’s this; every part of it can malfunction and go wrong. Every part of your body sometimes goes wrong: A gasped breath here, a missed heartbeat there, an unremembered memory, an ingrowing toe-nail, an aching joint. It’s not surprising then, that sometimes our ‘fight or flight’ mechanism is triggered incorrectly once in a while. Usually, this causes no long-term side effects. We see our neighbor’s cat out of the corner of our eye and for a fraction of a second we think it’s a tiger, but then quickly realize our mistake and stroke the cat. No problem. But what if, in that fraction of a second we turn round and run away, and what if, next time we see the cat we also run away. In this scenario, our ‘fight or flight’ mechanism is coming into play incorrectly, but we’re acting on it before our mind can tell our body it had made a mistake. Instead, when we’ve stopped running, we’re telling ourselves, “That was a lucky escape.”

It’s like that with the elevator. You get in the elevator, the mechanism kicks in; you immediately get out again, and say to yourself, ‘That was a lucky escape. I feel better now.” And you do feel better. Your heart beat has slowed down. Your breathing has returned to normal. Everything is fine because you got out of the elevator. But if you had waited a while, your mind would have told your brain it had made a mistake, and you would have felt better anyway. Your heart beat would have slowed down. Your breathing would have returned to normal. Everything would have been fine because you had stayed in the elevator.

If you have an elevator phobia, undoubtedly, maybe a long time ago now, you went through the first scenario for the first time. You got out of the elevator and you immediately felt better. The next time you got in an elevator, you remembered how you felt previously, that memory brought anxiety, and that anxiety again triggered the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism. Then you remembered the ‘cure’. Getting out of the elevator ‘cured’ you last time, so you immediately got out of the elevator again and again your ‘symptoms’ went away. From a simple first mistake, getting out of the elevator reinforces the phobia, whereas staying in the elevator would have removed it.

Your mind, sent a message to you brain, which sent a message to your heart and lungs, and your legs removed you from the situation. By removing yourself from the situation, you learned that symptoms stop when you take yourself out of the situation.

Your whole phobia resulted from a small mistake that you once had control over, and your body learned to react in the debilitating way that it does now. If that is how your phobia started, then it can be ended the same way too. You can re-educate yourself to react differently.

I consider myself to be well educated, I have a science degree and I’m quite good at spelling, but for years I spelt fortieth incorrectly. I knew that the number 4 was spelt ‘F.O.U.R’, and that the number 14 was spelt ‘F.O.U.R.T.E.E.N’, so it seemed quite obvious to me that the number 40 was spelt ‘F.O.U.R.T.Y’ and I spelt it like that till I was actually in my forties. I was completely sure that the word forty and fortieth both started with ‘F.O.U.R’ that I even argued with an English teacher I knew, to whom I had just given a flyer containing the words ‘fourty’ and ‘fourtieth.’ I just knew that I was right and he was wrong, but boy did I have a red face when I had to go back later and apologize to him. I’d spent half my life being wrong, but I’ve spent the remainder of my life since spelling the numbers correctly.

The point I’m trying to get over is that, however much your brain tells you something wrong is right, you can re-train your brain.

Everyone who gets into an elevator knows it is safe. If you doubt me, make a list of everyone you know who has ever died through a malfunctioning elevator. I know you can die of a heart attack in an elevator, but you can also die of a heart attack on the sidewalk. It’s not the elevator’s fault any more than it’s the sidewalk’s fault. No, your list has to contain all the people you know, or all the people you have ever heard of, that have died as a direct result of an elevator failure. Mine’s a blank piece of paper, as yours will be.

We know an elevator is completely safe, and that spider is safe, that a mouse is safe, and stepping out of your door is safe, and getting into that plane is safe. Millions of people do those things every day with no harm coming to them. OK, I know you may step out of your door and get run over by a bus, and you may get on a plane that crashes, but just how likely is it? These are so unlikely that you should be discounting them, and we’ll look at the actual statistics later. But the truth is your body should be able to complete these tasks with no anxiety whatsoever, or at least with no debilitating anxiety.

You have to take control. Examine the facts, look at the statistics, understand what has gone wrong, and put things right. You need to re-learn, so that your body can again make the right appropriate responses. You need your body to make a ‘fight or flight’ response when you suddenly find yourself in a dangerous and life threatening situation, but you don’t want it to make the same response when you are going about your everyday life in complete safety. You need to train your body, so that it knows the difference between danger and safety. Remember, you are in control.

 

Truth 1: Your inner voice and your mind’s eye have been lying to you, and it is those lies that have caused your irrational fear.

Truth 2: You control your body, so you can re-train your body to make appropriate, not inappropriate, responses.

 

Four Small Steps

Truths 1 and 2 tell us what we need to do to control our phobia, but they don’t tell us how to do it. That’s where we need to take the following small steps.

Let’s get back to the elevator. I’ve mentioned what would happen to the person with the elevator phobia if they were unable to get out of the elevator and just kept going up and down for an hour. Eventually they would become bored. However, in the real world, the scene I’ve asked you to imagine just wouldn’t happen. I’ve never heard of an elevator going up and down for an hour without its doors opening, so if that’s not very realistic, let’s take a step back and see what is realistic.

No amount of coaxing by me will persuade you to get into an elevator if you have an irrational fear of getting into one. The only person who can change your mind is you. You need to recognize the facts, so you have to do the research.

 

Step One – Field Research

I would urge you to go to somewhere where there is an elevator that you usually ignore in favor of the stairs (in a major department store for example). Don’t get in. Just stand well clear of it so that you are not in the way and watch the people getting in and out. Watch them for half an hour if you can (and if you can do so without getting accosted by the store detective!). As you watch people getting in and out without a care in the world ask yourselves the following question. “Why are they not afraid when they get in?”

They are not afraid because they have used elevators numerous times before and nothing has ever happened to them.

When your time is up and your half an hour is over simply walk up the stairs and stand outside the elevator on the first floor. This time I want you to ask yourself a different question. “Has any harm befallen any of the people getting out during the course of their journey?”

Nothing has happened to them. They got in and got out without a care in the world and their journey without them coming to any harm.

What you have seen is really good evidence that elevators are harmless things and that your mind is wrong when it tells you anything different, but the mind doesn’t take criticism lightly and it will argue the toss with you.

Your mind will talk to you and, despite the evidence you have gathered with your own eyes, it will argue by saying something like, “It’s alright for them, because they don’t realize the dangers. They may not be aware of it but elevators are dangerous.

 

Step Two – Academic Research

How dangerous are elevators? Find out. Whoa! Not so fast. There are some things you need to be aware of first. Firstly, legislation and regulations are constantly changing and differ from country to country. In the UK for example it is impossible for an elevator door to close on you as sensors on the door itself stop them from closing if there is anything in the way of the sensors. If there is a power cut, a manual brake operates. If a cable breaks, there are several other cables. Public elevators are inspected by elevator engineers on a monthly basis as well as being inspected annually by independent engineers appointed by insurance companies. Any fatalities you come across in your search are invariably going to be amongst those engineers and not amongst members of the public. The accidents occur to engineers whilst they are under, or whilst they are riding on top of the elevator. The accidents are not happening to passengers inside the lift.

You don’t need me to tell you that the internet is full of incorrect or misleading information, so it’s important that you take that into account when you do your research

If you are using Google, click on the ‘More’ link on the left hand side and then choose pages from the ‘Past year’. That will get rid of some of the rubbish. Next, make sure you are only searching within your own country. Whilst the USA and Europe have quite extensive elevator regulations, India for example has almost no elevator regulations at all. Next, when you find information, check how recent it is (in the course of writing this I came across a quite frightening story on a well trusted and respected website, but it was only when I checked the footnotes that it became apparent that the incident occurred several years ago and that recent legislations and inspections meant a similar event would not be possible today).

 

Step Three – Perspective

Nothing is fool-proof and nothing is completely without risk. Even getting out of bed in the morning is not without risk, and hundreds of people each year strain their back by doing so!

So the third step is to put your academic research into context. Find something you do every day without even thinking about it and compare the number of accidents that occur with the number of accidents that occur when people use an elevator.

I have no problem travelling by train, but I read an article the other day stating that fifteen-thousand people were killed in India on the railway during the past year.

I have no problem crossing the road, but I read recently that one-thousand-eight-hundred people died on British roads during one year, with over twenty-two-thousand other people being seriously injured.

I have no problem having a bath, but I read recently that over 300 people drown in their bath every year in the USA.

Back to your phobia. How do the above figures compare with your fear of elevators, or of spiders, or of planes? Do a comparison check.

 

Step Four – Acknowledge That Your Fear Is Irrational

Either: You are right and the rest of the world is wrong (all those people you saw getting in and out of an elevator earlier are all wrong, and only you are right).

Or: You are wrong and the rest of the world is right.

Which is more likely? You know the answer to that. Is your fear irrational? You know the answer to that too.

 

Truth 1: Your inner voice and your mind’s eye have been lying to you, and it is those lies that have caused your irrational fear.

Truth 2: You control your body, so you can re-train your body to make appropriate, not inappropriate, responses.

Truth 3: Research proves that your fear is irrational.

The Big Step

Let’s go back over what we’ve done.

Truth 1: Your inner voice and your mind’s eye have been lying to you, and it is those lies that have caused your irrational fear.

Truth 2: You control your body, so you can re-train your body to make appropriate, not inappropriate, responses.

Truth 3: Research proves that your fear is irrational.

 

If I could, I’d be there with you to talk you through the next step. I’d be there talking to you, reassuring you, and supporting you throughout what you need to do next. Unfortunately I can’t be there to talk you through it, but you will be there so you can talk yourself through it.

The conversation would go like this. “There is nothing to be afraid of. I’m going to get into an elevator. I’m going to feel afraid but there is nothing to fear. My heart is going to pump faster in preparation for ‘fight or flight’, but there is nothing to fight and there is no need to run away so eventually my heartbeat will return to normal. My breathing will change, but eventually it will revert to normal as there is nothing to fear. I may be covered in sweat, but it will eventually dry out or evaporate. Those experiences will be interesting, but there is nothing to fear so they will eventually stop. I’m going to stay in the elevator until they stop, and then I’m going to stay in until I’m bored. I am going stay in the elevator for an hour, and it will be the best hour I’ve ever spent. That hour is going to change my life and replace my fear with boredom

How I wish I could be there with you saying those things and supporting you.

You could pay thousands of dollars for therapy, but it still all boils down to that hour in the elevator. The cure is in your own hands, and it’s completely free. It costs an hour of your time to stay in the elevator, but that hour long ride is completely free. Yes you will feel afraid. Yes you will want to get out. But you control your legs, and if you can stop yourself getting out then the fear will soon pass away. Your mind will have learned that elevators are OK, and the cure will last a lifetime. You can get rid of your phobia for an investment of one hour of your time.

Still not convinced? Prove me wrong. Get in the elevator for an hour and see what happens. I’ve put my contact details at the end of this book so please feel free to contact me and let me know if you have been in a lift for an hour and you are still terrified. Nobody has contacted me yet to tell me that it hasn’t worked, but I have many testimonials that have let me know the above process does work.

Every time you remove yourself from a situation in which you feel irrational fear, it reinforces that fear. Every time you face and overcome your fear in the way described above, your fear is weakened.

 

Truth 1: Your inner voice and your mind’s eye have been lying to you, and it is those lies that have caused your irrational fear.

Truth 2: You control your body, so you can re-train your body to make appropriate, not inappropriate, responses.

Truth 3: Research proves that your fear is irrational.

Truth 4: Facing your fear removes your fear

 

All Phobias

I’ve used an elevator as an example, but the above process can be adapted to work with almost all types of phobias.

Are you afraid of flying? Spend some time visiting the airport. Look at all the people getting in and out of the planes. How many have accidents on the day of your visit. If you see any cabin crew, tell them you are afraid of flying, ask them how long they have been employed and ask them how many fatal crashes they have been in! Do some research into that specific airport to find out how many planes land and take off every day, and find out the true statistics of how many of the passengers are ever killed or injured. Find a recording of the inside of a plane in a normal flight (not a recording of a fictional disaster movie) and play it over and over again till you are bored with it. Get as close as you can to where the planes are taking off or landing. The sound of a plane’s engines revving prior to taking off can be scary for some people, and if you can get close enough to listen then so much the better. All the planes will take off safely, and even though the sound may scare you at first you will be quite safe and if you stay there long enough you will become bored.

Are you afraid of crowds? Do your research and find a crowd where everyone is friendly. It may be a church service, a sporting event, a music festival, the cinema, any crowd will do. It is important the first time to get there just in time for the event so you don’t have to socialize with anyone. You may start by sitting or standing there and feeling self-conscious, and your heart may be beating faster and your skin sweating. You may think everyone is looking at you; but those thoughts and feelings will soon pass as you realize the other people are concentrating on the event you are attending and couldn’t care less about you. The longer you stay then the more comfortable you will feel.

Are you afraid of spiders? Ask someone to trap one in a glass jar it can’t escape from. View it from a distance, and then from closer to the jar. Look at it till you are bored. Ask your friend to hold the spider in their hand at some distance from you, as your fear decreases and your heartbeat returns to normal take a step forward. Wait for the fear to subside again, and then step forward again. Keep going till you reach your friend!

Are you afraid of heights? Heights are similar to the elevator. If you stand inside the window of a tall building looking out, you know you are safe. You may feel afraid, but stay there looking out and the fear will go.

Of course, there may be phobias which are not amenable to this type of treatment, but the vast majority of phobias are amenable to it, and the four steps and four truths described above can free you from almost all the fears and phobias you are likely to face.

 

Four Steps and Four Truths

Step One – Field Research: Go where you feel the fear.

Step Two – Academic Research: Find out the true statistical risk.

Step Three – Perspective: Compare the risk to something you do every day.

Step Four – Acknowledge That Your Fear Is Irrational

 

Truth 1: Your inner voice and your mind’s eye have been lying to you, and it is those lies that have caused your irrational fear.

Truth 2: You control your body, so you can re-train your body to make appropriate, not inappropriate, responses.

Truth 3: Research proves that your fear is irrational.

Truth 4: Facing your fear removes your fear

 

Enjoy the Rest of Your Life

So many personal problems are caused by incorrect thoughts. Our minds telling us that we are fat when we are thin is the basic cause of anorexia. Our minds telling us that we are ugly when we are beautiful is the basic cause of insecurity. Our minds telling us something dreadful is going to happen to us is the basic cause of phobia.

When you talk to yourself, it’s you who is doing the talking, so why ruin your life by lying to yourself? Take control. Speak the truth. Make sure you are training your mind to be honest with you. There are times when you need to be afraid and times when you don’t. Make sure your mind knows the difference.

 

Forum, Comments and Questions

Any errors found in this book, and any comments or questions you may have about the content, can be sent to me via the forum I have set up for that purpose on my own site at Richard-underwood.com

About The Author

Richard Underwood was a Christian Minister for almost 20 years. He was ordained and commissioned in the UK as a Salvation Army Officer and later became an Industrial Chaplain to the Fishing Industry as a Superintendent with the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.

He subsequently became a staff counselor for the West Yorkshire Ambulance Service, and Chief Executive of a national counseling charity.

He can be contacted via his own website at http://www.richard-underwood.com

 


Phobia Help

This self-help book has a proven four step and four truth approach that will help you overcome any phobia or fears. Is your life being ruined by fear or phobia? Is there some situation that causes you acute anxiety? Are you afraid? You are not alone. There are thousands, if not millions, of people in the world today who are paralyzed with a fear that blights some area of their life. Whether it is a fear of spiders, a fear of flying, a fear of heights, a fear of elevators, a general anxiety or a specific phobia, this book will help. In fact, it can do more than help. The four step and four truth approach will enable you to overcome those fears and beat your phobia.

  • ISBN: 9781310190544
  • Author: Richard Underwood
  • Published: 2016-01-13 16:50:07
  • Words: 6621
Phobia Help Phobia Help