Last updated: 30 June 2015
Like stress, fear can often be a good thing.
It only becomes a problem when the fear has no basis.
When it’s an irrational fear, at which point it becomes a phobia.
Such as fear of the dark.
This fear alone can’t do you any harm.
But if someone’s following you down a dark alley in the middle of nowhere, you have every right to be afraid.
Your fight-or-flight response will be going crazy.
That’s your body’s way of saying “watch out” and “be careful.”
In cases like that, fear is essential.
It’s part of your built-in survival mechanism.
It keeps you on your toes.
It gives you the adrenalin rush you need to run, or to fight back, if you have to.
A typical phobia can bring on a wide number of symptoms, such as:
- Increased heart rate
- Problems speaking
And even though you know it’s irrational, you’re still unable to control your reaction.
Not only that, but everybody’s different.
Some people can avoid the thing they fear, with the thought of it creating only mild anxiety levels.
Others can’t even think about it without suffering a full-blown panic attack. In both cases they feel powerless to keep the feelings of fear at bay.
This is why learning how to overcome fears and phobias so they don’t get the better of you is so important.
10 Of The Most Common Phobias
Phobias are usually divided into two groups:
- Specific phobias – the fear of specific things or situations, including spiders, flying, dentists, snakes, and so on.
- Social phobias – the fear of interacting with other people. It arises from social situations like weddings, parties, functions, and meetings.
While there are dozens of phobias in both categories, those most commonly experienced by people in the U.S include the following:
- Arachnophobia – the fear of spiders
- Social phobia – the fear of social situations
- Aerophobia or aviophobia – the fear of flying
- Agoraphobia – the fear of being unable to escape from difficult or uncomfortable situations
- Claustrophobia – the fear of confined spaces
- Acrophobia – the fear of heights
- Emetophobia – the fear of vomit
- Carcinophobia – the fear of cancer
- Brontophobia or astraphobia – the fear of thunderstorms
- Necrophobia – the fear of death
As mentioned earlier, normal fear is a good thing. It’s crucial for your survival. A phobia, on the other hand, is not. In fact, it can often do more harm than good.
For example, you naturally feel anxious when the airplane you’re on experiences severe turbulence. But it doesn’t make you want to open the window and jump out, because that would be irrational. And would put you in even greater danger.
On the other hand, someone with a flying phobia might avoid getting on a plane in the first place. Even if that was the only way to attend their best friend’s wedding in Hawaii, for example.
Likewise, many people feel a bit dizzy and disoriented when looking down from the top of a very tall building. Or even just when climbing up a long ladder. Again, that’s your normal fear protecting you from potential danger, making sure you keep your wits about you.
Someone with a fear of heights, however, might be unable to make it to the top floor of a skyscraper in the first place. Even if it was the only way they could attend an interview for the job of their dreams.
Phobias are fears that exist in the mind, in your unconscious. While the fear feels real enough, it presents little or no actual danger to you. And because these fears are linked to the unconscious, hypnosis is an effective way to deal with them.
If a phobia is making your life miserable, don’t let it get you down. It’s estimated that 15-20% of people suffer from one phobia or another at some point in their lives.
And phobias affect everybody, no matter how rich or successful they might be.
Famous Faces & Their Fight With Phobia
Sylvester Stallone is probably best known as the creator and star of the hit movie Rocky. What’s less well-known is the fact that it took him ten years to break into Hollywood.
Stallone credits hypnotist-to-the-stars Gil Boyne with helping him find success. It was hypnosis that gave him the confidence and self-belief to write the script.
It kept him on task and let him unleash his full creative power. It helped him overcome the fear of failure that grew with each successive rejection letter. It provided the motivation to keep going even when it seemed like the odds were stacked against him.
Not unlike what happens in the aforementioned movie.
Hypnosis has helped countless celebrities conquer their fears. These include specific and social phobias, some career related and some not.
Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking or of speaking in front of crowds of unfamiliar people. It’s reported that Princess Diana used hypnosis to enable her to speak in public with greater poise and confidence.
People who stutter also have a fear of speaking in public. That makes sense, because they’re afraid they’re going to be laughed at. Or made fun of. Or teased by their peers. Among the celebrities who used hypnosis to cure their stuttering are Bruce Willis and James Earl Jones.
You can’t imagine Darth Vader being unable to speak clearly, can you?
Fear of flying (aviophobia) is sometimes referred to simply as flying or flight phobia. It’s a distinct phobia of its own which can be made worse when combined with other fears, such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia. Actor, singer, and entertainer Tony Curtis used hypnosis to conquer his fear of flying, as did actress Whoopie Goldberg.
Another fear that can quickly kill careers is stage fright. Also known as performance anxiety, this phobia is similar to glossophobia. It can turn up at any time in a performer’s life, making it difficult for them to breathe and giving them the shakes, a dry mouth, a pounding heart, and a keen desire to get off the stage as fast as possible.
Celebs who used hypnosis to deal with stage fright include singer songwriter Leona Lewis, singer songwriter and actress Mandy Moore, and former Spice Girls member and recording artist Mel B.
Arachnophobia – the fear of spiders – is one of the most commonly listed phobias of all. It was hypnotherapy that helped actress and model Eva Mendes rid herself of this particular fear for good.
Less Common Uses For Hypnosis
Most people are aware of the power of hypnosis as a practical tool for relieving stress, anxiety, phobias and other psychological issues. But the practice is also becoming more widely used as a means of coping with physical ailments as well.
Don Powell was the drummer with the glam rock group Slade for about 20 years. Then, a serious car accident in the 70s all but ended his career. After the accident Powell suffered from severe amnesia, and it was through hypnotherapy that he was able to recover most of his memories.
Study after study confirms the effectiveness of hypnosis on physical conditions. A 2012 study by Mirzamani, Bahrami, Moghtaderi and Namegh published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that hypnotherapy was successful in helping patients with tinnitus. Rather than curing the problem, hypnotherapy was able to provide relief for some of the major symptoms, such as depression, anxiety and insomnia.
Where phobias are concerned, hypnotherapy offers a natural and efficient method for managing and dealing with them.
It helps relax you and gives you the space to face your fears safely. It lets you put them into perspective so you can see what they’re doing to your life. And it gives you simple tools that make it possible to cope with phobias or eliminate them completely.