Someone sent me this the other day and it got me thinking:
I believe there should be a third option. And that is: Face Everything and Run 🙂
If you have a fear of snakes, public speaking, heights, the dentist, or even the number ‘13’— you are in good company with most Americans. Tens of millions in fact, as sources show. Take a look at this list of phobias:
Ablutophobia- Fear of washing or bathing; Acarophobia- Fear of itching or of the insects that cause itching; Acerophobia- Fear of sourness; Achluophobia- Fear of darkness; Acousticophobia- Fear of noise; Acrophobia- Fear of heights; Aerophobia- Fear of drafts, air swallowing, or airbourne noxious substances; Aeroacrophobia- Fear of open high places; Aeronausiphobia- Fear of vomiting secondary to airsickness; Agateophobia- Fear of insanity; Agliophobia- Fear of pain…
And that’s just SOME of the first letter of the alphabet! My focus in this post, however, will be acrophobia. AKA:
While I’m no phobia pro, and fear-squandering is easier said than done, I’ve put together five strategies to get you out on the Battleground and soaring over Great Warrior Wall.
What is the source of your fear? Was it something that happened to you as a child? Maybe you broke your leg a few times and that has led to a fear of falling or getting hurt. Some statistics show fear is hereditary, or at the least, we develop the same fears that affect our parents and siblings. (I think this happens all too easily- a few years back my brother and cousin were discussing their fear of flying, and all of a sudden I was terrified too!) Maybe there is no reason for your fear at all; other studies show phobia is innate. Whatever the case, this is a great starting point to get you thinking, talking, and ready to tackle the other strategies.
Change the way you think about your fear. This involves rephrasing suggestions or statements about what scares you, or picturing the activity in a different, more positive way. If you have a fear of water or heights, imagine jumping off a diving board, being underwater, and then rising flawlessly to the top. The more research you can do to supplement this, the better. If it’s fear of flying, for example, talk to a pilot, and I bet you will feel much better at life at 30,000-ft. You may even find that there is not much to support whatever is nagging you.
Gently expose yourself to your fear. If you have a fear of heights, to jump (literally) right into skydiving would be a little nutty. But you could definitely get there. Maybe it’s spending time on a rooftop, or hiking a trail with a gradual incline. If there are ways to be around your fear in a non-threatening way, this may just help inch you along. Also, embrace the challenges as well as successes. Maybe you do chicken out at first, but who knows what that roadblock will push you to overcome next?
Make it hard to succumb to your fears. You know that friend who has been asking you to sign up for Warrior Dash with him or her? Just sign up. Better yet, have him/her sign you up. Buy a new shirt specifically for the race. Tell your family and coworkers you are going. When you take small steps like these you are committing to the idea of being at the event (this goes back to the visualization strategy!), in which case it will be much harder to back out. And once you are there, on the course, you’ll have no choice but to face your fear. Being a bit of an acrophobe myself, I can attest to this point! I found myself in beautiful New Zealand in the adventure capital of the country, wanting to do something cool. I signed up for paragliding because I knew that once I got on top of that mountain, I would soon be running off of it full speed, and things were out of my control.
Rely on others for support. Races are actually an amazing place to do this. Being out in nature, just you and your fellow runners and the sounds of your footsteps—something happens out there. It’s an unspeakable bond, whether you know the person next to you or not. Utilize everyone, trust them, and let them help you. I’ve participated in a few challenging courses myself, and I can’t believe this to be more true. I could not have completed them without the help and encouragement of my group, and of strangers willing to step in and take me up and over the wall.
The feeling when you finally do overcome your fear is too amazing to let it stop you. Think of all the sights, the sounds, the people you may not meet because of what’s going on upstairs. So, won’t you join me in getting out there and taking the bull by its horns?!
Hope this helps some of you conquer new heights. What are other ways you or those you know have overcome their fears?
Let’s Defy Gravity.
Warrior Dash Event Director