Fear is normal and a part of everyday life. We lock our doors at night to keep our family safe; we teach our children not to play with matches and to stay away from fire; we turn on the television or radio to get alerts for weather so that we can be safe indoors when the bad weather hits.

In part, we do these things out of fear–we don’t want something bad happening to our loved ones, or ourselves, so we take precautionary measures so that these things are less likely to happen. Fear is a signal that our well-being is threatened and that we need to act. But often, we are anxious or scared even when there isn’t a real threat.

It’s when fears become irrational, persistent, or intense that we need to seek help.

But, how can you tell when your fears cross the line? When your happiness and ability to function is compromised. These irrational fears might be covering up something deeper that therapy can help bring to the surface.

Here are some symptoms, both physical and mental, to look out for:

  • Difficulty breathing, chest pain, or tightness
  • Feeling light-headed, dizzy, trembling, or sweaty
  • Feeling an intense desire to “escape”
  • Feeling overwhelming anxiety or panic

Here a few tips to keep in mind when trying to overcome a fear:

Try to manage your fears. Instead of suppressing your emotions, allow yourself to feel your fear. Take deep breaths and try to rationally examine the fear. See if you can manage your fear by examining your attitude towards it.

Keep track. Keep a journal of your fears. What makes you feel panicky? How do you respond? Has this happened to you before?

Slowly expose yourself. As scary as it might sound, exposure to a fear can help you overcome it. The key is to not jump right into it. Take small steps toward overcoming your fear, and have someone there to help you the entire way.

Practice. The more you expose yourself to your fear, the more you will get used to it and therefore overcome it. Remember, it will be uncomfortable to face your fear, and you might feel anxious or dizzy, but those types of emotions will pass. By continuing to expose yourself to the fear, the anxiety you feel toward it will gradually go away.

Are you ready to overcome your fears? To set up an appointment to see Reka, you can reach her at 402-881-8125. You can also email her at reka@omaha-counseling.com, or connect with her via Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: Dru! via photopin cc