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How do you overcome fear?

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  • How do you overcome fear?

    I am afraid of only two things really, but those three things interfere greatly with my hobbies. I love swimming, but since I'm afraid of the open water, I can't swim in the ocean, big rivers, or even lakes. I'm not afraid of the actual water or drowning (I can swim fine), but of what is in the water, mostly sharks (even in lakes, yes I know it's sad). I understand there's few encounters and even fewer attacks, but it's the fact that I'm almost completely defenseless in the water. Has anyone else afraid of sharks had to overcome their fears, if so, how did you do it?I

    I am also very afraid of snakes, except I do not know the root cause of this fear, like with the water. This makes it particular hard to overcome it personally. I always have to stay on clear trails, can't go near rocks in warm weather, run away from holes in the ground, and pretty much every other possible humiliating reaction I could have when there could possibly be snakes around.

    How do I become fearless? I know it won't exactly work like that, but I'm hoping there's some tips or science behind overcoming your fears. I might never get rid of them, but maybe I could make them less extreme. It sucks that I'm fine with jumping out of an airplane, but can't go swimming with my friends in the lake or practice open water swimming because of sharks. I really want to beat this, or else I know I won't make it in the military.
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  • #2
    Hey man I had the same problem as you Loved the water but was afraid of what was in it. What I did to overcome that fear was to go to the part of the lake with the most weeds and jumped straight in (weeds in water used to scare the crap out of me) (also I didn't actually jump in I had to have a friend push me in because I was to scared) It really helped me I would suggest going to the deepest part of the lake and jump in DON'T let anyone help you out of the water let the fear consume you I know I sound nuts but I'm serious To get over you fear you need to be surrounded by it until you realize there nothing to be afraid of. Make sure people are with you and ready to save you if you go into sock. Hope it helps man that what I did to get over my fear of open water and weeds. You may want to try diving too it helped me getting some goggles and swimming around the bottom and seeing the fish flee from you, seeing the bottom of the lake you will soon realize theirs nothing to be afraid of I definitelydid

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    • #3
      Thank you for the awesome advice. I will have to try that.

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      • #4
        Highly suggest SCUBA diving if you are able to. You'd be amazed at how much your perspective changes on what lurks below the water if you actually experience it yourself. (surprise, the bottom really is all sand and theres no crabs, sharks, or eels waiting on the bottom)

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        • #5
          Jocko Willink (former SEAL) has a podcast series, which is great to check out on its own, but talks about overcoming fear in one of them. He says the way is through inoculation. In the same way our bodies are inoculated to disease by small amounts in vaccines, we must inoculate ourselves against fear. Afraid of open water? Work your way into it, however slow it may be. If you go down to the local lake and place only your feet in, then that's improvement. The next day you go in up to your knees, and the next maybe your waist. Who cares, there's no rush. It may be a week, or a month, or 6, but if you continually push your comfort zone with your fears bit by bit, over time they will disappear. Mental conditioning is no different than physical. Both take time and a proper/organized effort. Only problem with forcing yourself into it intensely as was previously recommended is that you might have a really bad experience since you're already so preoccupied with dealing with the fear and come out of the experience with even more fear.

          Also recommend SCUBA diving, both for realizing open water isn't that scary but also because it's just a lot of fun on its own

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          • #6
            Thanks for the advice e46hooyah. I will listen to the podcasts now. That seems like the most reasonable approach yet.

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            • #7
              For ophidiophobia, I suggest systematic desensitization as opposed to radical exposure therapy. You can also use neuro associative conditioning whereby you associate a positive, empowering image with an image of snake. Try visualization. Visualize yourself in a snakepit - or other mild image- and a rope handed down from helicopter. You climb it up and they take you in an undisclosed location where a man in masked voice and ghillies tell you that you have passed the final test after grueling six months and hands you your trident. If it is too corny, use whatever helps you.

              You can also try hypnosis or subliminal mind programming. Also as for the empowering images, suppose you fear snakes... What could be an empowering counterpoint? Maybe as soon as you see an image of snake, you associate neurally Snake Eyes from GI Joe movies or cartoon with the background score that gives bada-- vibes? For rats, think of Pied Piper and his triumph over the plague of rats. For spider....so on.

              There is always a way how someone conquered her fear. I found this article to be interesting. You can gradually inoculate yourself as suggested above from a belt to snake-skin belt to a toy snake from Amazon or Toys-R-Us to a mechanical robotic one to looking at a live one from zoo to one from distant from a handler...so on. There is always a way.

              I make it a rule so as not to disclose my phobia to public even though I can trust that person with my life. I learned it the hard way. Once I disclosed it to a 'friend' of mine, he was thinking of putting that object, let's call it X, in front of my doorstep and ring the bell for a prank and 'joke'.

              Furthermore, an enemy combatant, once finds out your weakness can easily exploit it. But I understand you are anonymous.

              I will share an anecdote. Back in the days, I was living in a ghetto area and was imbibing cannabis. It was circa 2004. I don't know with what the buds (no pun...) could've been laced, possibly liquid LSD, but I found myself relinquishing my post as security and heading towards mountain. I wanted to 'achieve enlightenment'. At any rate, I lay on top of a hillock for about three hours, and in order to 'conquer' myself, I started dealing with my fears hierarchically. First, I dealt with my terrible phobia of using public restrooms. Then I asked if I had to use one when gun forced to my head, what would be even a deadlier fear? You know what came up? X. But then the funny part was when I recursively continued the whole ordeal, it wasn't really the fear of X, rather psychological fears of anger, resentment, bitterness and feelings of hurt that I had to overcome. For instance, I asked is there any situation where I will gladly trade my fear of X for something else?

              The answer was: save my parents lives.

              As you see, fear is a state of mind.
              Last edited by Grey Man; 10-12-2017, 03:19 PM.

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