How to Deal with Irrational Phobias

Almost everyone has an irrational fear or two—of mice, for example, or your annual dental checkup. For most people, these fears are minor. But when fears become so severe that they cause tremendous anxiety and interfere with your normal life, they’re called phobias.

To learn more about phobias – and how to deal with them – we’re speaking with Kalliope Barlis. She is the author of this book – phobia relief: from fear to freedom.

Dictionary-dot-com says a phobia is an “irrational fear.” what does that mean?

It is unreasonable, which means that, it’s like a fear on steroids. it prevents us from doing the things that we want and being the person who we really are.

How does a phobia differ from just plain, everyday fear?

An everyday plain fear is good, because it’s there to protect us. You want to fear fire to a certain degree, because you want to avoid it so you remain safe. You want to be fearful of not doing well on your test, so that you take all the steps necessary to get the grade that you want.

So besides fire and fear of failing a test, what are some of the things people have phobias about?

All sorts of things. like dogs, spiders, snakes, clowns, ghosts, and even the dark. you name it.

Most of us are afraid of snakes.  They can be deadly – which is real.  Is our fear of snakes a phobia?

The key word is irrational fear. because if you live in a place where there aren’t many snakes, and that prevents you from going outside because you’re so afraid of them, that’s a phobia. but if you were to see a snake in the wild, and you’re not able to tell the difference if it’s a pet snake or otherwise, then it’s smart to stay away from it. that sort of fear protects you.

How do we deal with a phobia?

First, by using your imagination. because, too often, just by talking about a spider, will make people flip-out. which means that, it’s not the actual spider that’s making him feel afraid, but it’s their imagination. how they’re thinking about it.

So is it possible to use our imagination to actually get rid of a phobia?

Picture this, imagine taking a test, you can either flip-out, even though the test is two weeks away, or instead, you can imagine yourself being calm, getting the grade that you want, and doing all the steps in order for that to happen. which means, you’ve created a plan. so, how you think influences how you feel.

If we can’t “imagine” our phobias away – should we just live with them or get help?

There’s no reason to live with phobias when there are plenty of professionals who can help you overcome them.

Remember – you don’t have to live with it.  and if you can’t deal with it yourself – don’t create a phobia about getting help.  Get help.

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