Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Facing fears

3-minute read

If you find yourself avoiding situations, places or activities that you once enjoyed, anxiety and worry may be holding you back.

Facing your fears can be a very hard thing to do. But sometimes it is the best way to deal with feelings of anxiety or worry.

One of the simplest ways to overcome your fears is to do the very thing you are anxious about.

That way you learn you can manage to do what's causing you the worry.

It’s a good idea to begin gradually; for example, by visiting 1 or 2 different places that worry you, or doing a couple of minor activities that make you anxious. The key is to gently push yourself to do things that take you a little way out of your ‘comfort zone’.

However, it may take time to get to the point where you no longer feel worried or anxious. Don’t be hard on yourself if you find it takes longer than you would like.

The support of family and friends is important at this time since they can help you cope with the new challenges you are taking on.

3 tips for facing your fears

  1. When you are trying something new, or something that you have been worried about, it is normal to feel a bit panicky — don’t let this feeling stop you.
  2. You may find breathing exercises helpful to calm you when you are feeling anxious.
  3. Try not to leave a situation because you are anxious; instead, leave when your anxiety has begun to fade away.

Set yourself short-term and long-term goals, and reward yourself every time you reach a goal. Even the smallest of things is an achievement, so give yourself credit where credit is due.

Where to get help

If you need help, talking to your doctor is a good place to start. If you’d like to find out more or talk to someone else, here are some organisations that can help:

  • MindSpot Clinic (anyone suffering from anxiety or depression) — call 1800 61 44 34.
  • beyondblue (anyone feeling depressed or anxious) — call 1300 22 4636 or chat online.
  • Black Dog Institute (people affected by depression and extreme mood swings) — online help.
  • Lifeline (anyone experiencing a crisis or thinking about suicide) — call 13 11 14 or chat online.
  • Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) — call 1300 659 467.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2019

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Managing emotions

Experiencing strong emotions is a normal part of being human. Most people experience intense anger, sadness, anxiety or fear at some point during their life.

Read more on Project Air Strategy for Personality Disorders website

Helping toddlers manage new situations

Toddlers can experience strong emotions like shyness, anxiety and fear when they’re trying new things. Here's how you can help them manage new situations.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Social anxiety disorder -

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) causes people to feel anxious at the prospect of everyday social interactions and causes symptoms such as trembling and sweating.

Read more on myDr website

Anxiety | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

What is anxiety in children and young people? Children just like adults will experience worries and fears as they go through life

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Anxiety and teenagers - ReachOut Parents

Learn about anxiety in teenager its types, risk factors, symptoms and how it can affect your teenager at ReachOut Parents.

Read more on website

How To Deal With Social Anxiety, Social Phobia and Shyness | THIS WAY UP

Having difficulty interacting with people? Does shyness impact heavily on your life? Learn about social anxiety and how to deal with it.

Read more on This Way Up website

How To Deal with Panic Attacks and Agoraphobia | THIS WAY UP

Feeling overwhelmed by panic? You may be dealing with panic attacks, panic disorder, or agoraphobia. Learn more about these conditions.

Read more on This Way Up website

MindSpot Clinic | Wellbeing Course

The Wellbeing Course is designed to help adults aged 26-64 years learn to manage mild, moderate, and severe symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Read more on MindSpot Clinic website

Agoraphobia - Better Health Channel

A person with agoraphobia is afraid to leave familiar environments, because they are afraid of having a panic attack.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Panic attack - Better Health Channel

Without treatment, frequent and prolonged panic attacks can be severely disabling.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo