[Photo via We Heart It]
Fear. Four letters. A million different meanings. It can motivate us and it can render us paralyzed with, well, fear. It’s one of those emotionally charged words that never fails to move us in some way — at least that’s how it is for me. And it looks like you agreed with me, friends, and weren’t shy about sharing your biggest fear…
Not being true to myself is something I do worry about — sometimes more than others — and I think it’s helpful to make a point to “check in” with yourself every now and then. And of course, I fear losing those closest to me. I don’t like to admit it, but I do worry about it every single day. I’ve learned over the years that that sort of fear is just a side effect of losing a loved one to suicide and it’s something you have to learn to live with and integrate into your everyday life. If anything, I think this fear has pushed me to never take my family for granted and cherish the moments we spend together. And with that idea in mind, here’s next week’s question…
Let’s talk phobias today, shall we, friends? I was reading an old issue of Real Simple over the weekend and was surprised to come across this statistic: Some 19 million people have some sort of phobia. Ever the journalist that I am, I did a bit more digging and found these five common phobias: Clowns, buttons, mirrors, seaweed and vomiting.
Who knew? I was expecting clowns to top the list (they freak me out…), but buttons and seaweed? How interesting! And if you think about it, people can usually rattle off their top phobia without even thinking about it. I went out to lunch with my friend Lexi today and asked her to name her #1 fear. She answered immediately.
“Needles,” she said. You could even see a bit of terror on her face as she described how even IVs and the sight of a needle make her weak.
My #1 phobia? For as long as I can remember, I’ve been afraid of death, which, I just learned, is called Thanatophobia. Growing up, I had this irrational fear of dying on my birthday — I know, it’s odd, but like I said, it was completely irrational.
But, good news! It looks like all hope is not lost on overcoming those phobias. According to one study, UCLA researchers asked 88 people with a fear of spiders to approach a large, live tarantula. The following week, when asked to get close to the spider again, those who had expressed their emotions out loud the first time were able to get closer than were those who had kept their fear to themselves. The lesson? Speak up and talk about what you fear the most. Giving a voice to your fears makes them less powerful and just might give you the extra shot of self-confidence you need to look those phobias in the eye and show ’em who’s boss!
Do you have any phobias, friends? What are they? What tips do you have for conquering them? What’s worked for you? Have your phobias changed over the years?
[Photos via We Heart It]
Well, friends, I came up with this week’s question myself after I looked into the mailbag and discovered it was empty! I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to email me (mellow1422 [at] aol)!
Two words. Fifteen letters. The two words don’t even look like they belong together, do they? If a fear is irrational, there is no way it should hold so much power over us. We know it’s irrational. And what’s more, a fear is just that: A fear. A fear of something that might happen, but hasn’t yet.
Remember when I last wrote about irrational fears? You know, the kind that seem to linger longer than a pesky hang nail and leave you exhausted from a bit of over-obsessing.
When we were kids, we might have been afraid to go to sleep because of monsters. We looked for them under our bed, in our closet or sitting on the branches of a tree outside our window. We’d even seek reassurance from our parents – the rational ones – who would be positive that no such monsters were haunting us. We had proof in the empty closets and lonely tree branches, but sometimes the proof isn’t in the pudding – or in this case, a lack of monster sightings.
Sometimes those fears still linger. Even when we’re adults. That’s sort of how I’ve come to see these irrational fears that keep popping up in my head. These fears are like our childhood fear of monsters. Just because I can’t see the fear up-close-and-personal doesn’t make it any less real.
Our adult-equivalent of monsters could be anything: Job stress, health woes, relationship tension. These fears, whether rational or not, are very real. We picture them jumping out and scaring us.
Ever the curious person that I am (and looking for ways to rein in my fears), I did the only logical thing: I took my question to Facebook. Who better to give me advice than my friends? Some said to remember to keep on breathing (always a good idea, especially with everything in life). Some reminded me to think of happy thoughts. Others said to do something like exercising or enjoying a new hobby and always remembering to live in the present moment.
And someone even said, “I scream, then kill them because they are usually bugs with eight legs.”
I’ll admit it. That one did make me laugh. Maybe we can rein these fears in together? How do you beat those monsters, friends? xoxo
[Photos via Audrey Hepburn Complex]