Do you suffer from fears that you don’t quite understand? Do you sometimes feel hesitation when you’ve been invited to a party? Or maybe feel everything closing in on you when you think about things such as flying or bugs?

specific phobia fear of death
fear of death

If so, you probably suffer from some kind of phobia. Phobias are psychological disorders based on what are considered irrational fears. Often, people are scared of something they’ve never encountered. Sometimes, it’s a fear of something they’ve seen or experienced that drives them to shivers. Either way, phobias can make your life unpleasant.

Statistics have shown that more women than men have phobias. Psychologists aren’t sure if this is because women are more open to admitting it than men are, or because of the types of phobias men tend to have as opposed to women.

Basically, there are three types of phobias. Two of the three have women at the top of the list.

The first phobia classification is agoraphobia, which is the fear of leaving a safe haven such as an apartment or home. It can even manifest itself in the fear of leaving an office at work.

The second phobia classification is known as social phobias. These are fears of interacting with others, either individually or in a group. These are the phobias that explain why some women are extremely self conscious about how they look or worry about what other people will say or think about them.

The third phobia classification is known as specific phobias. These are things such as the fear of heights, bugs, flying, water, etc. These are the phobias most people think about when they hear the word, and it’s shared pretty equally between men and women. These are also the most common phobias, as there are hundreds of different phobias listed under this criteria. It’s estimated that as many as 12% of the population suffers from this classification.

While phobias are considered irrational fears, some of them are based on real life situations. A woman might be scared of men if she was seriously injured by one. She might be scared of dogs because one bit her as a child. What makes these fears irrational is the degree to which a person reacts to new and similar stimulus. Being careful and wary is one thing; feeling like you can’t breathe unless you get away from the stimulus is the irrational part.

overcame fear of cows

I have some phobias of my own; most of mine are specific phobias. I’ve found them difficult to overcome, and for some of them I haven’t even tried (one is of insects, and the last thing I’m going to do is allow anyone to put me in the vicinity of a lot of them). Almost all of my phobias deal with things that don’t control my life to the extent that I missing out on anything; that’s a good thing since, if they did, I’d be a pretty lonely guy.

Many psychologists recommend therapy, which might not be a bad thing. In many situations though, I believe it’s overkill. For instance, many social phobias can be addressed in other ways if one decides to try them on their own. I only have one social phobia, that being the fear of rejection. I won’t say I’ve totally overcome it but I’ve done some of the things below that have helped me overcome it when necessary.

Truthfully, the success in overcoming social phobias depends on how much a person wants to overcome the fear. Just like trying to quit a bad habit, if you really want to do it you can… even if not 100%. The few tips below can help you push through social phobias, even if they’re done in baby steps.

The first step it to learn to relax while thinking about a fear. This can take some time, but if you can overcome it, you’ve completed more than half the battle.

The second step is confiding in one or two people you feel comfortable with about the phobia. Many people with phobias think others don’t notice changes in behavior. They do, but it might be misinterpreted as something else. Having a couple of people who understand what you’re going through helps because now you’re not hiding the problem anymore. This is big proof that you’re ready for a change in your life.

The third step is easy; get out of the house and go where there are some people. You can start out slow; maybe a small party of 4 to 6 people just to get used to being around more people.

If your fear is of the opposite sex, maybe go out with one of your friends and a member of the opposite sex at the same time. Starting small gives you the opportunity to get acclimated and see that there are no dangers, plus you have someone around to help you get through it. You can always leave, but if you’ve selected the right friends, it won’t be your first impulse.

These steps aren’t hard, but if you can’t go this far and it’s important to you then you might need to consider therapy. Don’t stay trapped into a life of fear; get out and enjoy the world.

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