I have a friend who is a director in a company and her day is filled with meetings and conferences. For the employees, she is the super boss who never gets harassed or loses her cool. She also trains staff on all aspects of their jobs and takes classes twice a week. She is much admired by all.
But I happen to know the actual person that she is. By actual, I mean her “inner fears.” There was a point when she dreaded facing public, when she dreaded imparting speeches or even undertake training. She could not be herself days before such events. Believe it or not, she still feels nervous. It is a wonder that now she is able to go up there and show her confidence in front of all those people, hanging on to her every word.
She has achieved this by teaching her inner self to get over her fears. She realized that she is good at her work and she has no reason to feel this way. She had come to realize that within a few moments, her shakiness can be made to go away. She learnt the art of not showing her nervousness that is felt in the initial moments.
She is not alone in this world. I am sure many of you have phobias you would not admit to others. It is a normal fear that people suffer from. Many people even give up great opportunities that come knocking at their door, just because they do not wish to do something. But how normal is it to give up on your dreams because of something you cannot rationalize to most people?
Phobia or Fear
Experts say that it is normal or even good to have fears at times, since it tempers our tendency to take risks. However, they say that if the fear is extreme, it starts interfering with your daily activities and makes us avoid situations or places that are not actually dangerous. This is certainly not normal fear but a phobia. For example, many people feel nauseous when they look down a skyscraper and this is normal, but inability to sleep because of an impending meeting and the prospect of facing people is a phobia. People with phobias are called phobics. They do everything possible to avoid a situation that causes anxiety. These phobias reduce their self-confidence and their efficiency levels.
This is also known as Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). People with this phobia constantly fear being thought of negatively by others. Some people worry about attending parties, giving job interviews, eating out and in extreme cases, even talking on the phone.
Signs: Social phobics suffer from sweating, palpitations, trembling, dizziness, shortness of breath etc. just with the thought of having to face or talk to people.
How to Resolve: If you feel that way – if it is not extreme, then talking to someone close helps. The mind should be filled with positive thoughts about yourself and distracted from imagining the worst. It helps to seek the help of an expert if you are unable to cope with your phobia.
Public Speaking Phobia
Glossophobia as it is known is one of the most common forms of social phobia. Glossophobics are terrified of participating in group discussions, giving speeches, lectures or making presentations. They fear that they will make a fool of themselves. They have this feeling that everyone is laughing or talking about them.
Signs: It is easy to know if you are glossophobic. You have a meeting or a presentation next month, but you already started worrying about it. As the date draws closer, you find yourself feeling queasy in your stomach, just the thought of the presentation breaks you in cold sweat and you even start feeling dizzy. In extreme cases, people look for excuses for dropping the whole thing at the last minute, even faking illness.
How To Resolve: Take small steps towards learning to face these situations. Practice speaking in front of the mirror or the best thing would be to speak in front of someone close who understands and is sensitive to your problem. Prepare and understand very well the questions you may be asked and the points you will have to make. They say that when speaking you must look into the eyes of the person. However, if you are suffering from this phobia, you do not have to attempt doing that. Just look at the foreheads of people instead. Make sure you are physically completely relaxed before beginning your speech or presentation. Take deep breaths, relax your muscles and meditate if possible. Just remember, that the others are looking at you as a confident person, it is only you that are feeling nervous. Try and get into the groove in the first two or three minutes and soon you will start enjoying the feeling of importance.
Tips for Phobics
Whether it is just general anxiety or extreme fear, trying to deal with it helps.
Talking to someone you trust helps. It will make you see things clearly and give you a chance to face your fears and take action.
Relaxation techniques help, such as yoga, pranayama (deep breathing) and medication. Whenever you feel you are getting all anxious, immediately relax by practicing the technique for a few minutes.
Eating a balanced diet without skipping meals is important. Physical weakness is said to only worsen anxiety.
Do not take caffeine because experts believe that it worsens anxiety.
Exercise on a daily basis. You could swim, job, walk or do aerobics. A fit body leads to a positive mind.
It is in your hands to overcome your fears and lead a happy life. Living with these phobias is belittling yourself and not giving yourself a chance for the best life has to offer. You will have to work hard to take every step possible to achieve what you want to, and remember – it is possible!!