Everyone suffers from fears and anxieties which can hinder us from so much in our daily lives. Here is a list of fears we most commonly suffer from, the possible reasoning behind why we have them and what we can do to get rid of it.
Overcome the 10 Most Common Fears
#10: Odontophobia/ Dentophobia: Fear of the Dentist
Although fearing the dentist is at the bottom of our list of fears, it is estimated that one in four people have this phobia. Out of the types of fears that many of us have, Dentophobia actually prohibits us from fulfilling our medical needs. The good news is that dentists are trained to be patient and gentle with anxious patients.
To help ease your nerves, try distracting yourself by bringing music and headphones with you or using a TV if it is available. Try to make your appointment earlier in the day so that you won’t begin over-thinking and bring a friend or relative to accompany you. You can also ask your dentist if there are sedatives available for the procedure.
#9: Cynophobia: Fear of Dogs
Cynophobia is not just a dislike of dogs, rather an intense feeling of anxiousness that is induced by even the sight of one. This type of fear is categorized as a zoophobia, a fear of animals. It is a difficult fear to have when we live in a society of animal lovers with many of them having their own dogs and walking freely around the city.
This can be overcome by various methods of therapy. Systematic desensitization technique slowly exposes the person to thoughts and images of dogs while using breathing and relaxation techniques to overcome it. However, if seeking professional help is difficult, you can also implement this practice yourself by gradually increasing your exposure to dogs until you become more and more comfortable with them.
#8: Astraphobia: Fear of Thunder and Lightning
Although this is very common in children, the phobia of thunder and lightning can last for years after or never go away if left untreated. During a storm, stay distracted with music. Calm your nerves with breathing exercises and meditation. It also helps to have the presence of a friend or pet. However, to get rid of these types of fears in the long term, therapy tends to have the greatest effect.
#7: Nyctophobia, Scotophobia, or Lygophobia: Fear of the Dark
Unfortunately for those who have this phobia, half each day is filled with darkness and therefore this fear can be triggered every day of their life. Researchers suggest that many of these cases originate with a traumatic experience in the person’s life, especially during childhood. It can also be caused by images a person has seen in Movies or TV shows.
This process can be reversed by gradually breaking the negative association you have with the dark. You can start writing down reasons why fearing the dark is irrational. Then use positive images to replace the negative ones you have when you see darkness. You can also use meditation to calm your nerves. If necessary, always seek professional help so they can guide you through more advanced techniques.
#6: Glossophobia: Fear of Public Speaking
More commonly termed stage fright; the fear of public speaking is a social phobia that affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. Many times, the key is to get rid of it by pushing yourself to speak or perform more in front of audiences. Begin with talking in front of your friends and slowly increase the number of people you perform in front of. Sometimes the nerves increase as we notice ourselves blushing, our hands shaking, or our body stiffening.
Try relaxing yourself before a speech or performance with music or a pep talk. Exercising a bit beforehand can release endorphins that keep down your level of anxiousness. If your hands shake, keep them hidden behind a podium or use a heavy book under your note cards to stop them from shaking.
#5: Aviophobia: Fear of Flying
In fifth place on our list of fears, Aviophobia effects a quarter of those who travel on any flying vehicle. Yet, in our global world, flying is almost unavoidable. The fear can set in hours or days before you have to fly and cause you to sweat incessantly, feel nauseous or dizzy, and possibly vomit. This fear can also be connected to other phobias such as fearing heights, enclosed spaces, or sitting with strangers. Ask your psychologist whether this is connected to any health conditions or for possible medication. Various techniques can be used to overcome the fear, including virtual flight simulations or hypnosis.
#4: Agoraphobia: Fear of Open or Crowded Places
Agoraphobia can be the fear of either open or crowded places where the person feels it is difficult to escape, or a combination of fearing both scenarios. This should not be confused with Claustrophobia, which the fear of enclosed spaces. If you suffer from this phobia, you may experience panic attacks in these kinds of situations. In this scenario, calm yourself through deep breathing and using soothing words. Other than desensitization therapy, group or individual talk therapy can also help.
#3: Acrophobia: Fear of Heights
In our increasingly urbanized world, buildings are becoming taller and taller. Someone with a fear of heights has their daily life limited by this phobia. This fear is typically caused by negative thoughts of situation that might occur: falling off a ledge or having a building collapse.
Luckily, most people suffering from Acrophobia can be cured with dedication to therapy such as systematic desensitization, cognitive behavior therapy or even hypnosis. There is also being technology development in order to use virtual reality to combat this fear.
#2: Ophidiophobia: Fear of Snakes
Coming in at second place, this zoophobia may seem less relevant to our modern day lives in urban centers. Yet, these days we are surrounded by images of snakes in books, in magazines, on TV and on the internet. Scientists have suggested that this could be a result of an evolutionary reaction as snakes in the past were associated with infection or disease and could be venomous.
If you come across a snake, calm yourself by concentrating on taking deep breaths. To train yourself to eventually get rid of your fear, begin with exercises as simple as drawing a snake on a paper. Then build up with more vivid images and videos to condition yourself.
#1: Arachnophobia: Fear of Spiders
At the top of our list of fears is the inherent fear of spiders which majority of us have experienced at some point in our lives. Although this type of fear of such small creatures may seem irrational nowadays, scientists suggest the same evolutionary reasoning as our fear of snakes.
Like other phobias, we can tackle this problem with systematic desensitization and gradual exposure as therapy. In more extreme cases, there is medication that can help calm your nerves, but always consult a doctor before considering this as an option.