Archive for phobias

FEARFear is a primal instinct dating all the way back to primordial times. In our primitive mind, we have the instincts of fight and flight which keep us out of danger. Today, in my Toastmasters’ meeting, several of us were asked to do a spontaneous Halloween-themed speech and I was chosen to speak on “the fear of Halloween.” I personally do not “fear” Halloween itself; but if and when I go into a haunted house, see a scary movie, or someone comes to the door in a scary mask, I will definitely be startled. I startle quite easily and my friends and family always have fun teasing me on Halloween!

So, what is fear? Many people believe that FEAR is “False Evidence Appearing Real,” which can be true for some. For instance, whether it’s a person in a costume or simply a scary manikin, often we react automatically as if it’s real. It is our perception that creates the emotions that come up. Many times when these emotions rise they can cause shortness of breath, elevation of blood pressure, crying and, in worst-case-scenarios, may even cause a heart attack! Not to mention, some horror movies are so emotionally charged that we may even clench our neighbor’s hand, scream and/or jump out of our seat in the theater! Of course, isn’t it the film industry’s job to elicit emotions with everything they produce? I guess that’s entertainment!

These are examples of the power of suggestion and perception. A suggestive stimulus (like a scary manikin or someone in a costume) can cause us to perceive a threat and bring about the fear response.

Just imagine if every morning when you wake up, your perception of your surroundings and your life is positive and happy. This power of perception will bring up positive emotions and set the tone for the day. As I always say, “A positive life begins with a positive mind.”

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Fear of Flying

I will never forget when I was 21 years young, and on a jetliner to go to Hawaii for my honeymoon….

From the time I was a little girl, my dream was to go to Hawaii. I could imagine and visualize myself being there. So, when my husband said we were going to Hawaii for our honeymoon, I was so excited! He said we were actually going to go to four islands. One of my dreams was coming true!

I had been on air planes twice before, when I was 11 and 14. My grandma (Nana) took me to St. Louis, Missouri to visit my Aunt Rose and then New York to visit our cousins. It was fun and exciting!

After I boarded the jetliner to Hawaii and was situated in my seat, I was still happy about the trip!

Once the jetliner took flight, I began to feel nervous, worried and anxious.  I started getting a tightness in my chest; I began getting sick to my stomach; my body temperature dropped dramatically and I started shivering and curling up into a little ball with blankets all around me.  I had never experienced anything like this before. My husband asked what was going on and I had no idea!  I was scared; it was an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and fear.

I started getting chills. There was a doctor on the plane and he came to check on me.  He took my blood pressure and it had dropped dramatically.  I literally stayed in the fetal position in my chair for the entire 5-hour flight.  As soon as the plane landed safely in Hawaii, I began to sit up, my body temperature rose to normal and by the time I got off the plane I felt relieved and safe again.

Many people refer to fear as “False Evidence Appearing Real…” The difference between “fear” and a “phobia” is that you actually had a fearful experience where you felt something or someone was in jeopardy.  A “phobia” is a feeling of exaggerated, inexplicable and illogical fear of something or a situation.  My experience was a “phobia” because I had never had a previous negative experience on any flights.

So many people of all ages suffer from these types of negative emotions that hold them back from truly enjoying life to the fullest. Sometimes these feelings will come up, seemingly out of nowhere, just as they did for me. There is no need for you or those you care about to suffer anymore.

Here are some helpful tips—things I teach my clients who suffer from extreme anxiety and panic attacks:

1) BREATHE slowly & deeply!

2) Any time a fearful and/or anxious thought comes up, immediately squeeze your index fingers and thumbs together, take in some more deep breaths and think about something that makes you happy and calm.

3) Tell yourself, “I am calm and safe.” In the case of flying, it is statistically much safer than driving a car.

4) Listen to some relaxing and/or pleasant music, read a favorite book, or play a game of some sort to keep your mind busy and off of flying.  Before you know it, the plane will be landing safely at your destination!

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Certified Hypnotherapist, Rosanne MacDonald, C.Ht., CCP
(805) 496-1989 or (818) 262-1246
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