If we avoid everything that makes us anxious it can hold us back and lead to more problems. Avoiding things we fear makes our fears get bigger in our mind. Facing our fears can help make us stronger.
Should I be scared?
Sometimes our imaginations can run away with themselves. That doesn't make the feelings this causes any less real, but we shouldn't let fear control our lives.
Get as many real facts and information as you can about the scary thing then ask yourself:
- Are my fears based on fact, or just what I think might happen?
- What's the worst that could happen - is that really likely?
It's also important to realise what steps people take to keep themselves safe in situations that could be dangerous.
For example, heights are scary because we might fall. Climbers use ropes and wear safety gear to reduce the risks of falling and getting injured.
How can I face my fears?
Every time we face up to a fear, its hold over us gets weaker.
Here are some steps you can try:
Relax, be calm
If you're in the grip of feeling scared about something, It's really hard to think clearly. Take time out to calm down - you could try a relaxation exercise.
Talk about it
Try talking about your fear with someone you know and trust. If you would rather talk about what is bothering you over the phone, remember you can call Childline on 0800 1111.
Talking about your fears often shrink them down to a size we can deal with.
Take small steps
Think about how you could break it down into more manageable chunks.
If you're scared of crowds, for example, you could try finding a small crowd to be in for a little while - like a queue at a supermarket checkout. Then, you could move on to being in the lunch queue at school. Once you've accomplished that, you could try going to a bigger event.
What if I still get scared?
Your fear might never disappear completely, but if you keep trying you will learn how to manage it.
If you still feel anxious, try checking out these relaxation exercises to help you feel less stressed.