While everyone has things they fear, some fears occupy many people’s minds. While it’s not clear if some fears are just plain scary or if our shared social consciousness of them makes them more intimidating, these fears are prevalent. Fear of social situations, driving, and needles are all common examples; sometimes, these fears require more than a few habit changes to lessen.
When you’re in college, which is a time of cementing your identity and fighting your fears, this is a perfect time to address them (though you may also need professional help). By systematically exposing yourself to what you fear in a controlled environment, you can ease your anxiety and better cope in the future. To learn more about the most common fears and how to address them, read on.
Fear of Social Situations
The first and most common foe is the fear of speaking or performing in social settings. Something about the unpredictability of classmates or others judging you as you address them is debilitating. It causes you to stutter through a presentation, your heart rate elevated the whole time. You may experience tunnel vision when you’re in front of the class.
To address this fear, first, consider any presentation you give a success if you spoke for your allotted time. Chaining together little victories helps you feel a sense of progress. Rather than finding ways to avoid stressful social situations, seek out increasingly stressful situations to grow accustomed to persevering through this fear. With time, these situations will turn from anxiety-inducing to commonplace and comfortable.
Fear of Driving
Not surprisingly, many individuals fear driving. As one of the most dangerous activities you routinely engage in, driving is relatively unpredictable, and one bad experience sours you and stokes your fear.
There are a few ways to conquer this fear of driving, one of which is to simply drive in some fashion every day. Denying yourself the chance to escape this fear in a tolerable way forces you to cope productively. When at school, have a roommate join you for support and work your way up to harder roads.
Fear of Needles
Another common fear is a fear of needles. Perhaps because they’re an early source of pain in our lives, or maybe because so many people talk about this fear, many struggle getting important shots.
To lessen this fear, you can start by watching your preferred hospital drama—try to not look away during shots to lessen your fear through these exposures. When you’re at the doctor for a shot, understand why exactly you’re afraid. Communicate your fear to the doctor and distract yourself as much as possible when receiving the shot. If you improve drastically, you may be able to give blood fearlessly when the opportunity comes around on campus.