Fear of Heights
Acrophobia is an excessive fear of heights, manifested as severe anxiety. A person may have an attack while walking up stairs or climbing ladders. Sometimes the fear is so great that one cannot move. Acrophobia can create a dangerous situation for someone who has the fear of heights.
How can I overcome the Fear?
Gradual exposure to the fear – “face your fears” although its a cliché saying, its often one great way of overcoming a fear. Start low – start with a walk to either a bottom of a hill or on a step. Gradually expose yourself to new heights with support of family and friends. Gradual exposure takes time! however, eventually you will be able to take on something you never thought to be possible after taking the first step in facing your fear!
2. Rationalise your fear
For fear of heights, fear is usually triggered under unreasonable circumstances. For example, it may be the fear of being on the top floor of a safe building, even though it is very safe and the possibility of injury from this situation is small. Once fear develops, it is easy to become anxious and forget the safety of certain situations. It’s really easy to think unreasonably and fuel your fears. To object to this, try to consciously consider and rationalize situations that would trigger your fear of heights. Explain to yourself that there is no need to be afraid of heights, you are very safe. This kind of guarantee can really help you overcome your fear of heights. Self-assurance and affirmation of this safety will assure you that you are safe and harm won’t come to you.
3. Be prepared
When it comes to facing fear, preparation is the key. Think ahead of time in a situation that will cause you fear; imagine how you feel in this situation, and think about how you will help yourself relax. This process is especially beneficial if you know that you will be in a frightening situation, because knowing what will happen can reduce the possibility of becoming panicked and flustered when the situation arises. This planning process helps normalize the concepts at high levels and helps you become more receptive and confident about them.
4. Practice breathing and relaxation techniques
Fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, and excessive sweating-these are common symptoms associated with acrophobia, and experiencing these symptoms can exacerbate fear and panic. Relaxation techniques can help reduce these symptoms and control them. Deep breathing exercises are one of the easiest practice techniques and can really help you feel more relaxed. It is also beneficial to focus on doing something instead of focusing on your fears. The toolbox has created a numbered list of steps to help you perform simple breathing exercises that reduce fear and anxiety, please check it out!
5. Choose the right activity
If you are a person who likes outdoor activities, you may find that your fear of heights restricts you from going to certain places or activities. Challenging yourself in a new activity is a great way to face your fear head-on, but you can start small and aim big, rather than starting with anything that is too intense and disturbing.
If you would like support with a fear of heights, Anxiety UK provides access to reduced cost talking therapies including counselling, hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.
- What are my next steps to overcoming my fear?
- Can I find myself some support to help me through this?