A phobia is an intense fear of an object or situation that may not worry others. Even though the phobia may be irrational, those suffering with it will find it difficult to overcome their negative thoughts.
These phobias can often disrupt lives, making simple everyday tasks near impossible. If you suffer from a phobia, it is important to learn how to override your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response.
The following techniques aim to send relaxation signals to the brain to allow the thinking, rational side of your brain to take over.
The sooner you react to your anxiety symptoms, the better. So as soon as you start to feel your breathing quicken or you palms get sweaty, try twanging a rubber band on your wrist to stop negative thoughts. Tell yourself to stop and replace your negative thoughts with positive affirmations.
The next thing you need to do is regulate your breathing to bring your body out of survival mode. Breathe in for the count of four and then out for the count of four. Keep building on this until you are breathing in for the count of seven and out for the count of 11.
When you panic, your muscles become tense and rigid. Overcome this by tensing muscles and then relaxing them one at a time. Keep scanning through your body to remove any signs of tension and remember to keep your breathing slow and even.
Get yourself out of panic cycle by visualising a happy, calming scene. The more vivid your visualisation, the more occupied your brain will be – leaving little room for fear.
If your phobia is getting in the way of everyday activities, it may be worth seeking external help. A hypnotherapist could help you to overcome mental blocks, helping to reprogramme the mind to deal with the phobia differently. Find out more on our phobias page.
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