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How To Face Your Fears
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How to Face Your Fears

Tell us:what terrors do you harbor deep within your psyche? Losing your job? Getting AIDS? Being alone? Growing old? We take you through your personal house of horrors and help you conquer your deepest dreads.

Fear is a natural mechanism that protects us from harming ourselves. “There are two types of fears”. “The first type of fear revolves round our basic biological needs that are security, sex, and procreation. The second type of fear is socially conditioned.”

Basically, the flight and fight mechanism helps us to help ourselves. It is only when this mechanism in our brain is under or over activated that behavioral problems begin to develop. While most of us experience fears that are episodic and do not interfere with our daily lives, some people develop fears that can disturb or even threaten their capacity to live normal lives. Generally, the line of treatment involves experiencing the feelings associated with fear, and then expressing it, and finally executing the solution. “The first step in handling any fear is to acknowledge it.” Only then can one learn to accept the irrationality of the feeling and deal with it effectively. After all, “a fear faced is a fear conquered.”

Below we raise your most secret bogeys and show you how to deal with them.


Even in today’s booming market, an increasing number of men and women are finding themselves shunted from their jobs. Either their job profile has become redundant or they are the victims of downsizing by the company. While most women tend to take it in their stride, men, in general, can’t. A man’s attachment to his job is programmed deeply into his emotional makeup. It is who he is. The best advice that psychologists give is to detach yourself from your job. That’s not to say that you should downplay your work. Rather, you should develop other options. Don’t identify yourself too closely with your company; instead, network and seek new opportunities so that the thought of losing your current job will lose its bite.


Dev problems began when he was promoted from supervisor to manager. Instead of leading the team, he found himself giving in to compromises. That’s because whenever things went wrong, he found it difficult to express his anger or displeasure. Every time that he had to pull up a worker, he had a panic attack. His inability to raise his voice (a natural phenomenon in expressing anger) would cause his palms and soles to get sweaty and clammy. “Shouting and expressing anger seemed to make him anxious,” says Dr.Sheth. “Because as a young child he was not allowed to scream and shout in the house as his father did not like noise. So under hypnosis I got him to shout in his imagination, and then made him do the same in reality. I made him realize that it is okay to speak out his anger. Once he had got rid of the fear, the panic attacks stopped and he became an effective manager.”

A lot of people, adds Dr. Sheth, suffer from promotional neurosis because they are afraid to assert themselves. They have to learn that it’s okay to get angry and to lay down the law. Anger is natural; it’s how you handle it that makes all the difference.


This fear stems from the fact that people are afraid they may not be able to perform according to expectations. This is very common today among young students. They set very high standards for themselves and then are afraid that they will not be able to achieve those standards. In most of these cases they are good students. But this also happens with adults, who are so afraid of performing in an imperfect manner that they refuse to perform altogether. Their fear of inadequacy makes them feel inadequate, when in fact they may be capable or even more than capable to handle the job. Naina has a flair for designing, but when her friends suggested that she take it up as a career, she said she couldn’t. She protested that she wasn’t good enough; she was so afraid of failure that she had given up before even attempting it. “The first step is to make the person accept the fact that it is okay to be less than perfect,” advises Dr. Sheth. “Secondly, he/she should be shown that practice brings perfection and if they don’t try they will never succeed. The important thing to note is that practice is more important than performing or succeeding.”


For a man, making it in bed is as important as making it in his job. So a performance problem may seem like it’s the end of the world. However, one-time failures may be just that – one-time. Dr. Sheth says, “Sometimes it could be a medical problem, but quite often it is just a temporary a medical problem, but quite often it is just a temporary a medical problems, but quite often it is just a temporary block.” It could be fatigue, it could be that extra peg, or it could even be a quarrel with your partner. If that’s the case, don’t despair. Just relax, get into the right mood, and try again. But if your problem is chronic, your best advice is to see a doctor. Chances are it’s something that can easily be fixed.


A lot of people are so afraid of the needle they won’t see a doctor or dentist. It’s not really the pain that scares them – notice how they will brush off an injury or fall. Actually it’s the syringe they fear. It’s the perception of pain that frightens them more than the actual physical prick of the needle. The first step is therefore to face the fear and understand how irrational it is. Handling a syringe, jabbing it playfully into the hand can help in dispelling the fear of the needle.


This fear is more commonly seen among men than it is with women. It comes from the fear of losing control and the fear of rejection. When a man and a woman develop a close relationship, they share their deepest thoughts and feelings with one another. Some men are afraid that when their partner gets to know their “dark secrets”, she will reject him. In the process they fight shy of developing a close relationship with people. Some of them can’t even have close men friends.

Dr. Sheth says that in such cases the treatment mode is applied in reverse. The first step is execution: the man is told to send her flowers, call her on the phone, and talk about things that may interest her. The next step is expression: he is asked to reveal personal details about himself. He is told to use words, I think, I feel. The third step is experiencing: by now he is more comfortable about his feelings for the woman. “For example, there was this man who liked a woman but was afraid to reveal himself to her,” explains Dr. Sheth. “I told him to tell her I like money, ‘How can I say that, what will she think of me’, he argued. But when he did it, he was surprised by her simple acceptance of him. In the third stage, I told him to tell her he was greedy about money. He did it and to his surprise he found that she sis not reject him because of what he had told her. That made him more comfortable about disclosing other personal details about himself and in the process he was able to develop a closer intimacy with the woman”


This is a problem that affects both sexes equally. And it’s not just a question of a wrinkle or the first gray hair. It’s more about growing old alone, ending up in a wheelchair and having no one to look after you. “Growing old is a natural phenomenon that nobody can escape,” says Dr. Sheth. “So the best thing you can do is to accept the fact and prepare for it. Look after your health right now and plan for your future.” Of course, there are chances that the unexpected can happen, but there’s no point in worrying about the unknown. Instead, spend your time and energies in building up strong friendships. And remember, letting other people help you is not a sign of weakness.

Street Talk

Thankyou Ai Hoon for your valuable comments.

  about 9 years ago
Ai Hoon  

I really like this article. Good job. It explains a lot about real every day fears that everyone in this world has. I can relate to the fear of losing a job (I've been jobless for some time now) and fear of failure as it goes hand in hand with the first fear. Everyone has fears but not everyone can identify and overcome it, that's the problem. Normally, it takes time and a willingness to admit that one has a fear before anything can be done to get through it. Thanks for sharing!

  about 9 years ago
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