Fear can be useful – a way of coping with extreme situations. However, fight or flight mode kicks in whether the danger is real or imagined. Not in actual danger? This advice may help you bump off things that go bump in the night...
- Breathe: deep breaths help the body to get back under control.
- Walk: make good use of adrenaline if you’re about to approach something frightening.
- Write it down or speak it out: this helps stop the fear from circling around (and around) your brain.
- Identify what it is that scares you and why, and tackle it through exposure. But gradually – don’t dive straight into that shark tank.
- Look after yourself – those old chestnuts of balanced diet, sleep, exercise and avoiding stimulants all equip you better to cope.
- If it is too big to manage on your own, get help from a professional.
Even longer term
- In August, scientists managed to erase fear memories in mice brains using light, so a solution may be possible for humans.