Having irrational fear can make life difficult. You constantly worry about things that most people don’t care about. Irrational fear can quickly turn into paranoia and anxiety if you don’t do anything about it.
Generalized anxiety disorder, which can cause people to have an irrational fear, is a result of dysfunction in parts of the brain associated with fear, emotions, and memory. It can make you feel as if you’re constantly in danger. It’s like playing a video game where you enter an area, and ominous music starts playing, but no boss shows up. You wait for the boss to appear, but nothing happens, and the anxiety-inducing music continues playing, leaving you trembling in fear of something that doesn’t exist.
Here are 15 ways to overcome an irrational fear or unrealistic danger and fight anxiety:
1 – Recognizing your fear
The first step to overcome your irrational fears is to identify what you are afraid of? It cannot be so easy, but it gives insight into what is needed to sort out. Some fears are deeply rooted and need further exploration. Some people have fear like the fear of what other people think. Sounds unique and baseless? Hence, understanding fear, whatever it may be, is important to cope up with it and fear-inducing anxiety.
Anxiety comes along with fear, which is not good. Please do not consider yourself alone, and instead of re-thinking about it, focus on what you can do and cannot do. It is important to know that controlling your reactions to what happens is more effective than manipulating other variables.
2 – Positive self-talk to cope with an irrational fear
When you start having thoughts of irrational fear, the first thing you should do is notice and acknowledge them. Talk to yourself about how they’re irrational, and they don’t make sense. Stop them as soon they pop up in your head. The unrealistic danger isn’t going to cause you any harm.
Sometimes self-talk can be negative. Once you start having negative thoughts about your fear, they might spiral out of control, and you might end up having a panic attack. But self-talk can also be positive. You have to force yourself to remember that the thoughts you’re having are irrational and they can’t harm you.
3 – Throw away any preconceived notions you might have
Unrealistic danger and irrational fear can sometimes cause people to form assumptions about their behavior, which forces them to act in a certain way. Don’t tell yourself that you “should” be behaving in a certain way. When you set expectations and fail to meet them, you feel bad about yourself.
There’s no need to follow your preconceived notions about yourself. You have to learn to adapt to situations. If you force yourself to follow the expectations you have set for yourself, you’ll constantly have an irrational fear of not being able to satisfy those expectations.
4 – Overgeneralizing
If you suffer from anxiety and have paranoia, you probably have a habit of overgeneralizing things. Do you use words like “always” and “never” too much? It’s common to think you’ll “never” get better, or you’re afraid of “everything” when you’re constantly in fear of unrealistic dangers, but the truth is, this is just your brain lying to you.
You may be afraid of some things, but everything? That’s likely, not true. Overgeneralization is common in people who have irrational fear and anxiety. Make it a habit to not use words like “never” and “always.” Language can affect your emotions, and that’s why you must choose your words carefully. If you constantly tell yourself that you’ll “never” get better, you’ll start to believe it, and then you’ll lose all energy to get better because you’ve already decided that you’re never going to get better.
5 – Focus on the good thoughts
When you’re anxious and having thoughts of irrational fear, your first instinct will be to filter out all good and positive thoughts. You’ll start focusing on the negative thoughts, which will add to your anxiety and paranoia. For example, if you can’t stop thinking about how people might be secretly making fun of you while you’re presenting on stage, think about what you were doing when someone else was presenting – were you making fun of them? Probably not. You were probably not even listening to them, and if you were, then it was because you liked what they were talking about. And that’s exactly what will happen when you’re presenting. People will either focus on themselves, or they’ll focus on what you have to say.
Instead of thinking about how you’ll fail at giving a good presentation, think about your positive qualities. Maybe you’re a good writer, and your presentation is well-written. Focus on the good things people tell you after you’re done presenting. How many people complimented you on your ability to do good research for the presentation? Did someone praise you for the way you spoke while giving the presentation? Focus on these things, and you’ll quickly realize your irrational fears are just that Irrational.
6 – Black or white thinking
This thinking pattern is prevalent in people who have anxiety disorders and irrational fears. “If I don’t get a 100/100 on my exams, I won’t be able to get my dream job.” This can cause you to overwork, which will lead to burnout. What you should do instead is, figure out what would happen if you didn’t get full marks on your exams. What jobs will you be able to get with your expected grades? Make a list of all the requirements of your dream job. Chances are it will be okay with hiring students who didn’t have straight A’s on their finals.
7 – Stop thinking the worst will happen
This is another thinking pattern that’s common in people who suffer from anxiety and irrational fears. It’s also called worst-case scenario thinking. How often do you feel a random pain in your body and conclude that it’s cancer?
The best way to overcome this thinking pattern is to remind yourself that your anxiety is by tricking your brain into thinking the worst will happen. Take some action against negative and irrational thoughts. If you’ve had a headache that you suspect might be because of a tumor, get it checked by a doctor. It’s probably just a tension headache!
8 – Write down your irrational fears
Make a list of all the things related to your phobia. Divide them into steps, according to how much they scare you. Place the situation that scares you the least at the top. It shouldn’t be too frightening; you should be able to try it. Expose yourself to the first situation in your list, and then work your way up the list. You’ll slowly gain confidence as you move up the list, and you’ll eventually be able to proudly say that you’re no longer afraid of the situation.
For example, if you’re afraid of giving presentations, make a list of all the things involved in giving a presentation. You are preparing content, walking up to the stage while looking at you, looking at the people when you’re on the stage, introducing yourself, presenting your content while looking at the people (or the wall), and then walking back to your seat. Put the situation that scares you the least at the top and focus on that. Once you feel you’ve gotten over that fear, move on to the next situation.
9 – Learn some breathing exercises to cope with irrational fear and paranoia
Irrational fears and anxiety can cause you to have panic attacks. When you get too anxious, you tend to take shallow breaths, which makes your anxiety worse. Doing breathing exercises can help you relax and ease your anxiety. You can try the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
Sit in a comfortable position in a quiet room. Inhale slowly through your nose while counting to four. Make sure you’re breathing through your stomach and not your chest. Hold your breath for seven seconds. Breathe out through your mouth while counting to eight. Do this a couple of times, and you’ll start to feel better, forgetting about those irrational fears that cause the episode.
10 – Stop trying to predict the future
Irrational fears can make you dwell on future events more often than what’s considered normal. You might be worried about an exam you have after three or four months. Maybe you have a presentation four weeks from now, and you can’t stop thinking about it. Avoid thinking about the future. Worrying about a future event can help you mentally prepare for it, but excessive worry will make you anxious.
Focus on the present. Mentally prepare yourself for the future, but don’t think about it so much that you end up losing sleep over it. You’ll deal with the future when it becomes a part of the present. Until then, you should focus on the now.
11 – Think positively
There has to be a balance between positive and negative thoughts. Too much of either can be damaging. Remind yourself that you’ve felt this way before and nothing bad happened. Tell yourself that just like the last time, nothing wrong will happen this time, either. The fear will pass, and you’ll be okay. Irrational fears and unrealistic dangers won’t be able to hurt you.
12 – Be Brave in the fighting of irrational fears
Start believing your capabilities!!! Fear gets along in our way when we are heading toward struggle. Sometimes we get trapped into it and could not able to grow further. But do you know what to remember at that time? Do remember that stepping out comfort zone brings and opens up a new perspective and spirit of life. Do not let yourself stagnate into a boundary of fear.
Be brave and take a journey to the edge. Be an obstacle in the path of fear rather than letting fear as an obstacle in your pathway. Facing your fears, strengthen your confidence and self-belief. Look for possibilities and go ahead on that pathway to success.
13 – Desensitization or exposure therapy for irrational fears
People who have paranoia and irrational fear are sometimes exposed to the thing that frightens them and makes them anxious. This is called exposure therapy. The patient is repeatedly exposed to the object or situation that causes irrational fear until they become desensitized.
The main focus of exposure therapy is to change your thoughts about the object that’s causing you to feel scared. With repeated exposure, your response changes, and you begin to manage your anxiety and irrational fear. For example, if you fear spiders, you might be shown videos or pictures of spiders, and your therapist might educate you about them so you can learn that not all of them are as harmful as you think they are. If you fear giving presentations in front of people because you think they might laugh at you, you might be asked to present on stage more often so you can realize that people are more focused on the content you’re presenting than on you.
14 – Medications
There are a lot of different medications that you can use to treat anxiety, paranoia, and irrational fears. If the cause of your irrational fears is anxiety, then you can cope with them by taking medications. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) like Lexapro and Paxil are usually used to treat anxiety. Benzodiazepines like Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan are also used in the treatment of anxiety.
15 – Psychotherapy
The most effective and widely used therapy for anxiety disorders and irrational fears is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Your therapist will help you change your thought patterns and teach you to be less fearful of irrational thoughts and unrealistic dangers. They will also teach you how you can stop irrational and negative thoughts and what you can do to feel more relaxed and calm. Your therapist will try to get you to change your unhealthy attitudes and behaviors.
Living in fear of irrational thoughts can be challenging. Fear can distort your perspective, and you start to believe your warped reality. The best treatment is to see a psychotherapist who will help you change your behaviors to begin living a life free from fear.
Moving forward with Psychotherapy
Fortunately, Ahealo.com offers a global ePsychotherapy platform that allows clients to book an online anonymous private appointment with a broad skill range of psychotherapists at an affordable cost and desired schedule.
Alternatively, if you need to seek psychotherapy, be sure to check out ahealo.com. Ahealo is an online psychotherapy platform with a diverse range of psychotherapists for many different fields of mental challenges. Ahealo provides ePsychotherapy at an affordable price, confidential, convenient (through a web page 1-1 private video call), and at your comfortable schedule.
With these options, we believe your irrational fears can be resolved soon.
Take care and stay well.