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10 Tips to Eliminate Fear of Spiders
What is Arachnophobia?
Arachnophobia is an irrational fear of spiders. It is one of the most common phobias in the world because spiders are often used as a tool to induce panic or horror (hence their prevalence in "scary movies" or Halloween).
The fear of these eight-legged freaks (not the movie) could in fact be the byproduct of movies and T.V. shows that have conditioned us to believe spiders are awful or terrifying. But the truth is that most arachnids are completely harmless and our fear of them is psychosomatic.
However there are ways to calm your worries and make spiders seem far less terrifying than they appear. You could speak to a therapist if the condition is severe, but many instances can be cured with a few self-help tips.
10. Most Spiders Are Harmless
Like I just said, 9 out of 10 spiders won't harm you aside from the mild irritation of a spider bite because they aren't poisonous.
A spider bite could be more significant if you have an allergic reaction, but the majority of cases turn out to be no big deal. I recently read a great informative article deciphering the harmful from the harmless house spider, so I'd suggest taking a look for yourself (source link below).
You just have to tell yourself that a spider won't kill you and even getting bit is nothing to worry about. If you train your mind to believe those facts, then it'll make your worry a lot easier to manage.
9. Ask Yourself Why You're Afraid
The most common self-help tip people tend to neglect is asking themselves why they're afraid. What exactly is it about spiders that ignites fear or terror? Is it the way they look, their size, the way they move?
These are the questions you need to ask and find the answers to in order for positive progression to take place. It applies to every fear you experience, but for this article, we'll directly apply it to spiders.
For many insects and arachnids, the fear comes from the size of the critters and their stealthy motion. Spiders hide in dark, shaded places so we often discover them as an unpleasant surprise. That surprise quotient applies to many house insects, and it creates a negative reaction.
8. Face Your Fears!
Another method that could be used for other phobias is facing them head on, but why is this process effective?
Because instead of running away from our fears, (thus creating a nonstop cycle of terror) we are challenging them, which gives us a better chance of lessening them. Think about people who are afraid to fly but are then taken on a plane.
If the flight goes well and the person attempts to stay relaxed, then their chances of weakening that fear will increase. If they decide to never go on a plane, then they'll never have a chance to reduce that fear.
For spiders, I would say to have a "safe" tarantula or harmless spider crawl on your arm, but to avoid a potential panic attack, I'd recommend looking at spiders through photos as that too could prove beneficial.
7. Physical Contact
This is the true testament to facing your fears, but it's also the most worrisome. If you're not ready to engage in this self-help trick, then don't do it. I would work my way up to it before tackling it head on.
But if you're ready, then try to make contact with a harmless spider (preferably supervised). I would recommend a tarantula because they are larger and cause less surprises. People also keep tarantulas as pets, so they see them as pretty fascinating creatures and not terrifying critters.
Just having contact with a spider could actually decrease your fear as long as it's in a controlled environment. Do not start grabbing and touching spiders if you don't know whether they're harmful or not, and have someone by you in case of unexpected panic attacks.
6. Breathing Techniques
What better way to calm your nerves then to try out various breathing techniques throughout the day.
The calmer your nerves are, the less fearful you'll be when a stressful event occurs. There are many new and exciting breathing techniques designed to sooth and eliminate the terror you're feeling, so don't ignore them.
Even the simple deep breath in, deep breath out can do wonders on your body and nervous energy. Techniques like that are used for nerve-racking moments like a job interview or stage performances, but they're also used for specific stressors too.
5. Ensure a Spider Free Home
Here's a crazy idea! How about you try to eliminate the trigger by actually eliminating the trigger.
That's right, make your home spider-free so encounters with one are practically nonexistent. Some ways of doing this are buying products designed to kill pests, insects, and spiders around the home and outside.
You could also clean more often by sweeping down any cobwebs on your ceilings and removing clutter from the closet or laundry room where spiders are more likely to be found. I would also spray down those areas more thoroughly than other places.
The less clutter the better and the cleaner things are, the more likely you'll avoid seeing spiders.
4. Buy a Candle
Candles are an excellent way to induce relaxation when things get stressful. The Yankee Candles with various aromas enhance certain moods, and they not only soothe you but give your home an intoxicating fragrance.
The candle itself won't drive spiders away, but it will make you feel a lot more relaxed. There are so many different aromas to choose from nowadays, so pick your favorite/s. You won't be sorry you did and the fear will slowly sink out of your body and into thin air.
3. Count to 10
When you were angry, I'm sure people have told you to count to 10 before anything abrupt happens. The same can be said before a panic attack happens from a stressful trigger like seeing a spider.
However before you freak out and start screaming, I'd suggest you count to 10 either in your head or out loud. A simple countdown keeps your energy focused because it combines self-control with the face your fear technique.
The two work together to prevent an intense reaction that can at the very least prevent an unnecessary panic attack. So next time you are feeling fear or anger, count it down before anything else happens because the result may surprise you.
2. Shift Your Focus
Don't keep thinking about spiders! Instead focus on something more pleasant that you love or enjoy. Basically go to your happy place.
When you start focusing on more pleasant things, you worry less about unpleasant creatures and it takes away from the negative emotions. Your pleasure place should be one filled with happiness and relaxation, but it doesn't always have to be that way.
Shifting your focus could mean thinking about something else like a person, a location, or a task/chore that needs to get accomplished. Any shift away from the arachnophobia should drain some of the poison away.
What does this mean?
It means changing your conditioned behavior to fear spiders by introducing new elements into your phobia. People have been conditioned to get scared of different things because they've been programmed to do so for a while, so you must learn to reorganize your thought process.
For example whenever you see an image of a spider or an actual spider, try associating it with an item that makes you feel good like food. Have your favorite food included with the image to make your mind gradually associate the unpleasant stimulus with a pleasant food item.
I know it sounds silly, but your mind is capable of reorganizing and molding through various methods. It's kind of the way CBT(cognitive behavioral therapy) works and why therapy has been heralded as successful for many years.
Self-help tips represent your own therapy sessions and while these tips may not work for everyone, I feel at least one of them can work for many if practiced correctly.