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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

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