Overcome your fears: these 5 tips will help you

Whether it’s a cell phone news feed, TV news or a kiosk headlines: you’re constantly overwhelmed by bad news. It can overwhelm you and even make you anxious. But it’s not only there that the triggers of fear and anxiety are hidden. The causes of anxiety vary widely and are sometimes difficult for others to understand. While the view from the towering tower terrifies some to death, for others it means unlimited freedom.

Do you sometimes struggle with this unbearable feeling of fear? Don’t worry, you are not alone in this! According to statistics, 25 percent of the population suffers from anxiety disorders at least once in their life. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem worldwide, according to research. But the good news is, you can do something about it!

Why does fear arise?

The mind controls fear. The reason for this is the fear center in the brain: the amygdala

© Liza Summer / pexels.com

Fears are normal and are as much a part of your own emotional world as joy, lust, and anger. In a dangerous situation, they can even save a life and provide a reasonable response. Sometimes, however, the mere thought of potentially critical situations causes you to feel anxious.

Our thoughts and feelings are closely related and influence each other. “The reason for this is that the fear center in our brain, the amygdala, cannot tell if we are imagining something or not. This creates a cycle between thoughts, physical reactions and feelings of fear, ”explains Dr. Hanne Horvath, psychologist and co-founder of HelloBetter, a provider of digital therapy programs. The fear we experience causes the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which in turn, scientific research has shown, puts our bodies on high alert. “Feelings of anxiety are the product of fearful thoughts,” concludes Dr. Hanne Horvarth.

How does the body react to fear?

The trembling woman

Tremor, sweating, palpitations. Fear manifests itself not only in thoughts but also in the body

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Palpitations, sweating, nausea, tremors, or a tight feeling in your chest – if you’ve ever panicked, you most likely know these symptoms. Depending on the strength of the feeling and on the person, they can be felt with varying degrees of intensity.

But the reason for this is always the same: the body prepares itself for a potentially life-threatening danger and ensures that it can react quickly in an emergency. Even if a small space, a lecture in front of many people, or a spider on a wall is not a serious threat, it can be for your body.

How much anxiety is normal?

Everyone knows the feeling of fear, it is part of life – and it usually goes away on its own. But sometimes it seems so threatening that it makes it impossible to live a normal day-to-day life.

“It becomes dangerous when fears permanently determine everyday life, are perceived as uncontrolled and reduce the quality of one’s own life. Then you can have a serious anxiety disorder that often gets worse over time, ”says Dr. Hanne Horvarth.

For example, if you are afraid of lectures but still go to college or the office and face the situation, you are not overly afraid. However, if that keeps the person at home all the time or the situation disappears every time, it’s time to do something about it.

What is the difference between fear and a phobia?

A woman is sitting in an airplane

If fear prevents you from doing certain things, it is an anxiety disorder

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Fear or Phobia? You’ve probably heard or used both terms before. But what exactly is the difference? “The expression of fears and their intensity range from simple uncertainties, such as slight anxiety or shyness, to severe anxiety,” says Dr. Anne Horvarth. A phobia represents an exaggerated fear. Contrary to fear, it refers to what can occur in any situation and unexpectedly – to something specific.

“If the fears are manifested externally, we are talking about phobias. They are directed against certain objects, situations, premises or living things, ”explains Dr. Hanne Horvarth. small spaces (claustrophobia). ” There is even a fear of the mother-in-law, this is called penteraphobia.

While anxiety and fear have a biological meaning, a phobia has no tangible application. Here the fear is unreasonable and irrational high, and it often shows up for no reason. For this reason, and also because people who suffer from phobias want to avoid the trigger at all costs and limit themselves so much, they are classified as anxiety disorders.

How can I overcome my fears?

A spider on the ceiling, a flight on vacation or the road to blood tests always give you unbearable abdominal pain? So we have good news: you can do something about your fears, and you are not at their mercy. Nobody has to just accept this unbearable feeling. Particularly mild to moderate anxiety can often be regulated with simple self-help measures. Dr. Hanne Horvarth recommends these 5 tips:

1. Accept and understand your fear

Self-fear cannot be seen as a dangerous enemy. Allow all feelings and meet understanding and empathy. “Self-reproach is counterproductive. Instead, it is important to question your own fears and investigate their causes, ”says Dr. Hanne Horvarth.

2. Look for a confrontation

The woman is sitting on the cliff

Confronting fear is important to overcoming it

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Of course, it’s easier to avoid frightening situations at first. With a spider in the bathroom, the partner is sent forward, instead of flying on vacation, the only way to go on vacation is by car, and visits to the dentist are constantly postponed. “But if you want to overcome fear, you have to face it. It is worth proceeding in stages. Even small successes give you confidence and motivate you to continue working – says the expert.

3. Move against fear

“From an expert’s point of view, movement not only relieves physical tension, but can also reduce anxiety responses in the long run,” says Horvarth. Sports and exercise have been shown to counteract mental illnesses such as depression and panic attacks. This is evidenced by the research of the Journal of Affective Disorders. Within 12 weeks, it was possible to show a reduction in symptoms in those affected by regular exercise.

4. Breathe and relax

Since anxiety is associated with intense physical stress, being able to relax is important. Both yoga and meditation or some breathing techniques can work wonders. It’s best to practice this regularly. “Among the most popular relaxation techniques are Edmund Jacobson’s autogenic training and progressive muscle relaxation (PME). Affected people learn how to consciously relax their own muscles, and thus achieve a state of inner peace and tranquility ”- says Dr. Hanne Horvarth.

5. Put yourself in professional hands

therapeutic session

Strong fears, especially phobias that severely limit everyday life, should be dealt with professionally

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Sometimes the fears are so great that even sports or breathing techniques do not provide enough relief. Then you should seek professional help. There is absolutely no reason to be ashamed of seeking help. On the contrary: it is a sign of strength to stand up for yourself. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help, as can, for example, hypnosis.

There are many factors that trigger anxiety. Every fear can and should be taken seriously, even if it is difficult for others to understand. Only those who hold on to their fears and reflect on them can do something about them. Try different techniques and see which one is right for you!

Annalena Graudenz

Annalena Graudenz

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