Fear: A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, pain, or harm.
Every single one of us is afraid of something, whether we like to admit it or not. You might have a common fear, like arachnophobia (a fear of spiders), claustrophobia (small spaces) or aerophobia (flying). Or, your fear might be a little more obscure, such as spectrophobia (a fear of mirrors), omphalophobia (belly buttons) or trypophobia (holes).
When you fear something, what might seem like a small issue to others is a mega deal to you. One fear we’re familiar of dealing with here at Go Ape is acrophobia, aka, the fear of heights. Not a day goes by without us welcoming a customer who’s a little uneasy of heading up into the trees. They visit us because they want to face their fears, and we’re there to support them, every step, jump, climb, swing and leap of the way!
Whatever your phobia, believe us when we say you can and will overcome it! Here’s a four step process to help you do just that:
Step 1. Analyse
The first step of facing your fear is acknowledging you have it. Often, we ignore or deny our fears – but, if you do that, it’ll never disappear! If you admit your fear, you’ll have better control of your emotions and will stand a better chance of overcoming it.
Name your fear – let it come to the surface. A good idea is to buy a ‘fear journal,’ where you write down your fear along with the following:
– Where does the fear originate?
– How long have you been affected by it?
– How does it make you feel?
– What are the triggers?
– Why do you want to overcome it?
Use your journal to record your thoughts and feelings as you start to face-up to your fear. Set yourself small goals and tick off as you go along. The journal will help you to track your progress and will give you the motivation to push hard and achieve your main goal, which is, to overcome your fear!
Step 2. Take control
Time to take control! Often, when we fear something we try to distance ourselves from it as much as we can. We stay fearful because we never expose ourselves to it. So, those small goals that you’re setting yourself need to involve you exposing yourself to the fear, a little bit at a time.
For example, if you’ve got a phobia of heights, you might want to set yourself the goal of travelling to the second floor of a building and peering out of the window. As you start to gain confidence and start taking control, set harder challenges and move up those floors!
The alternative to gradual exposure is direct confrontation and facing your fear head-on. Many people prefer to do it this way but be warned, there’s a chance you could fail so you need to be prepared for it. And if you do fail, don’t feel too disheartened or give up – just go back to introducing yourself to the fear gradually. Accept that you might suffer a few setbacks, but by all means do not let them stop you from overcoming your fear.
Step 3. Change your perception
Understand that fear isn’t always a bad thing. The emotions we feel when we are fearful are the same as those we feel when we’re excited! When you accomplish a small goal, or confront your fears, adrenaline will pump through your body and you’ll feel, well, great! Remember that feeling and soon enough, you’ll start associating fear with that happy, excited feeling.
Step 4. Accept it
As we’ve said, everyone has a fear. The sooner you start realising you’re not alone, the better. Don’t be too hard on yourself – we’re only human, after all! Change your perception of fear so you think of it as something that inspires confidence and courage! You can do it!
We’d love to help you tackle your fear of heights, book now and conquer the tree-tops with Go Ape.