Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, is one of the most common fears. Just seeing a spider causes some people to become anxious. It can be very difficult to overcome this fear from your unconscious. You may never love spiders, but you can learn to deal with your anxiety about them by addressing it.
When Dreams May Come, Spiders Show Up
Here I am, living my dream. I have it all! My perfect house tucked away in the magnificent Colorado Mountains, a loving husband, and my pup. Life can’t be any better. I love living so close to nature, the mountains, wild flowers, and trees. But naturally bugs – specifically spiders – are also a big part of nature. Often, I think of myself as a courageous person, but I still have quite a few fears to overcome and a fear of spiders is one of them.
What is fear?
Fear is a feeling of intense discomfort. Another definition of fear is “exited without breath”. Many of our fears are irrational and can be overcome.
Our most basic fear is the fear of death
, which functions to make us alert in dangerous situations, and can thus be a very healthy emotion. But much less dramatic reasons of fear are found everywhere in our daily lives and can be quite baseless. Problematic types of fear when we are afraid of things that do not pose any real threat like fear of spiders.
Apparently, I am not alone in my useless fear. It is estimated that roughly 50 percent of all women and nearly 25 percent of all men are said to suffer from this sometimes debilitating fear. The severity to which this phobia impacts an individual varies rather substantially from person to person, from having a complete nervous breakdown or panic attack, to simply freezing from shock and terror. Each person may react differently when confronted by a spider. While one person may scream, another run and still another may cower in a corner, intense fear is definitely the common denominator.
We will scan an entire room in search of a spider and should any signs of a spider be discovered, that room will be completely avoided.
In this article, I would like to share with 5 questions to ponder to address your fears. How to deal with purposeless fears. Fears that are brought on by a past experience or simply by our imagination.
1) Are you honest about your fear?
First, I liberated myself by acknowledging my fears. It’s much easier to ignore or deny our fears, even to ourselves, in a society that stresses the importance of being strong and brave. But courage can’t come into play unless you have a fear to face. By owning your feelings you’ve taken the first step toward gaining control over the situation. Name your fear. You might consider writing it down. The first step in solving a problem is to clearly define it and admit it. This is a crucial step! Once you have done this, you are halfway to success.
2) Are spiders really dangerous?
There are many theories about the origin of a universal fear of spiders. They range anywhere from genetics, a “survival of the fittest” trait that has been passed down by natural selection, to simply the result of a cultural construct of Western civilization. The fear of spiders isn’t shared throughout the entire world, as many eastern cultures not only don’t fear them but actually view them as a delicacy. Just walk down any street in Chicago or New York and you’ll most likely never find a “Sugared Spider” cart next to a hot dog vendor. The simple fact is that less than five percent of spider species are even remotely harmful to humans, and this includes most scorpions. In fact, scorpion bites are rarely fatal. Clearly, you don’t want to stoop down and scoop up just any spider or scorpion you come across, but the truth is that the likelihood of you actually having a fatal or even just life-threatening experience with a spider or scorpion is next to nothing.
Know which spiders are native to your region of the world are harmful and know what they look like. Understand that spiders are more helpful than harmful, and help protect you by eliminating pests that may spread greater dangers like a disease. Understand that for spiders, a bite is a last defensive resort.
3) Are you facing your fears?
- First, I started looking at cartoon images of little buggers and I read the Charlotte’s Webb story. I also searched the web for a local database of spiders and tried to look at the pictures of real spiders.
- Next, when there is a spider around, instead of running away screaming, I started to take some time to check the spider at a distance.
- Finally, I saw a spider on the wall and kept looking at it till I stop feeling scared.
I am still practicing this exercise using deep breaths I’ve learned in my yoga practice. I also tried catching a spider (really, REALLY deep breaths) with a glass cup, then looked at it up close. If you do this exercise (don’t forget to release the little creature), you will obviously see how stressed out the spider is and it won’t look as intimidating. Look at the spider and stay there until you feel more comfortable and safe. You could even talk to it, even though that sounds weird, it will make you feel like you’re communicating with it and that will remove some of your fear. I am not sure if I will ever be able to touch a spider, but this could be the next step.
4) Have you determined the origins of your fear?
No spider has ever tried to harm or bite me. In fact, spiders will only bite in self-defense, and as I mentioned earlier, bites are very rare. Spiders are antisocial arachnids and want to be left alone.
I realized that my fear comes from all the women in my family yelling bloody murder whenever the saw a little crawling creature, as well as stupid horror movies where spiders are made into monsters.
Not to mention, spiders are more afraid of me.
You might find this hard to believe, but spiders really are more afraid of us. In our eyes, they have disgusting features like eight legs and such, but in their eyes, we are giants and look much more intimidating.
5) Are you practicing to overcome your fear?
I still don’t love spiders, but I don’t yell and scream anymore and I can coexist with spiders. Losing a couple of battles along the way is all just a part of the war against your fear. Don’t get distressed or upset when you just can’t muster it one time. Let that little battle you lost motivate you to try again another day.
Regardless of the level of fear you have, you should establish a reliable support system of friends and family to encourage you… and probably laugh at you a little throughout the process. Currently, I am at the stage where I can stay near a spider and without freaking out! I have almost overcome my fear of spiders.
Ponder this, every challenge you overcome you become stronger. All your potential lies on the other side of the fear which is endless possibilities!
What can you do now to overcome your fear of spiders? Share your insights.
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