Everyone feels afraid from time to time, and it's easy to feel embarrassed or helpless about it. Here are some ideas and advice for overcoming our fears.
Advice Questions about Feeling Afraid:
- "I'm really afraid of death, I'm not religious. At night, I think about how death is forever, for eternity. Yeah, I think dark thoughts. And I need help to get rid of them. Any advice?"
- "I have a really bad fear of needles (or vaccinations). After getting scared at the school immunizations, I feel as if I want to get this fear under control. Do you have any advice?"
- "I am really, really afraid of going to the doctor, I find going they're soooooo scary. I am TERRIFIED of hospitals, ambulances, or anything else that has to do with a doctor. Please help!!! How do I get over this fear? I have to have a physical soon and I most certainly do not want to go!!! I really need to overcome my fear, but I've had it for a really long time."
- "My parents both work. I have to stay home alone, and I'm scared. What should I do?"
- "Every night I get these panic attacks and I keep thinking that these ghosts or demons are gonna pop up and scare me or even posses me. I stay up to almost 6:00am every morning, thinking about this! I'm afraid of the dark and vampires. I start to see things and my heart races. I even cry it's so bad. I shake and toss and turn. I only feel better when my dad gets up for work or when it's daylight. I have a serious problem that I don't know how to fix."
- "Student council elections are coming up in my school. I want to run for VP. But first, I'm nervous to give a speech to some four hundred kids. Two, I'm a little bigger than some of the kids. I'm scared maybe they'll judge me on that. Any advice?"
- "This may sound weird, but I'm afraid of singing solos in front of lots of people. I'm okay when I act or speak in front of tons of people, but singing makes me really nervous and I always start singing bad when I am really nervous. I'm okay when I sing in groups. Can you help me handle my solos?"
- "I know this sounds babyish, but I have fear of the dentist. It just seems so horrifying to me. I'm really scared, because pretty soon I'm going to get a tooth yanked out. Any advice?"
- "I have public speaking problems. My teachers want me to read my essay in front of my class and I refuse. It's not only in front of class but also when I'm talking to a cashier I get nervous. English is my first language so I don't understand what is happening!"
- "I've got a problem. Last year I got a really expensive snowboard. Well, I'm just a learner. Every time I get off the chair lift I fall and humiliate myself! I love snowboarding. All my friends keep telling me to just keep practicing but the more I go, the more I fall and the more I fall, the more embarrassed I am. And the more embarrassed I am, the less I will want to go. If I never go, I will never learn so I don't know what to do!! Help me, I hate this situation!"
- "I'm addicted to the computer. I have a habit of always going on. How do I stop?"
- "I would like to know how to overcome my fear of heights because I have got this event coming up and you have to abseil (climb down a rope) off the top of a climbing wall. I know it isn't much but it scares me to think about it. If you can help, please do!"
- “I have a fear of talking in front of people. Even if it’s just a few people, I get nervous talking out loud in front of them. I get sweaty, and my heart beats so fast since English is not my first language. I can speak English fine, but I'm not confident enough to speak out loud because I might make a mistake in my pronunciation and my peers would laugh at me. What should I do to overcome this fear?”
- “I'm 12 and I'm still afraid or the dark!!!!!! But I'm mostly afraid
of vampires. Whenever I'm left alone downstairs, my parents tell me
to shut off everything. I turn off everything a little far from the
stairs, then when I turn off the 2 final switches, I run up 13 steps
just to get to the upstairs living room. Anyway, how should deal with
my fear? PLEASE HELP!”
- “I'm a real scaredy-cat. I am afraid of rides, mostly roller coasters. If my friend forces me to come on a ride that I'm really scared of, I cry before the ride starts and the guy operating the ride lets me off. At the end of the school year the school band is going to a rating festival in Pennsylvania, and afterwards we are going to Hershey Park. I hate 80% of the rides there, and I'm afraid people are going to make fun of me for refusing to go on most of the rides. Please help me! (If your advice has anything to do with going on the rides I'm scared of, I WON'T DO IT!)”
- “I'm ten years old and will be going to summer camp this summer...I'm worried that there might not be privacy when I change clothes or bathe. I'm also worried about being away from home and my family two weeks straight…What can I do?”
- “Ever since I found out I had asthma, I have just been sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I'm afraid to go exercise or that I might have an asthma attack. What should I do to get over my fear? A couple of my friends have asthma and my mom says I should talk to them. Should I do it?”
- “I am afraid of tornadoes. When I hear the weather report,
I cover my ears. I know it is SO stupid, but I am terrified of them. When it's raining or there is a thunderstorm, I get scared. I live in Minnesota, and we get tornadoes once or twice a year. The last tornado that we had here was in May on Mother's Day, and it was right by where I was. It was only 1 mile away! Can you help me with this problem?”
- “My mom signed me up for sleepaway camp this year. I have been before, and I was miserably homesick! I don't know how I am going to deal with going again. At night, I worry that I just won't be able to make it. How can I deal with this?”
- “I feel so stupid. All the time when I'm at my house, I feel like someone's watching me through my windows. It's not so bad in the daylight but I always try to act different just in case it's someone from my school. At night or when it's dark I get freaked out. My stairs face my front door (which has a window) and whenever I go upstairs when it's dark, I have to run and hide behind a wall. I don't know how to get over it. Please help!”
- “I feel like a jerk. I'm afraid that my life will change forever once I get on a plane, and that I will never be the same as before. I'm 11 and scared. Can you help me out?”
I've got a problem. Last year I got a really expensive snowboard. Well, I'm just a learner. Every time I get off the chair lift I fall and humiliate myself! I love snowboarding. All my friends keep telling me to just keep practicing but the more I go, the more I fall and the more I fall, the more embarrassed I am. And the more embarrassed I am, the less I will want to go. If I never go, I will never learn so I don't know what to do!! Help me, I hate this situation!
--From Hannah, 12
I can see why you're getting frustrated! BUT, the first thing you have to do is get confident. If you don't think you can do it, you won't be motivated enough to try! Confidence is key! Second of all, practice makes perfect! Maybe start on smaller hills, and once you get used to going down a smaller hill, move up to a slightly larger one. Now, if you find a hill that's a little too small for you, just find a bigger one. Don't do anything you can't do, that'll just embarrass you more. Also, don't care about what other people think. Think about it this way: all of the people on that hill started where you are now! If you have a passion for snowboarding, follow through with it! If you like it so much, it shouldn't matter how good or bad you are, as long as you're having fun! So, start practicing now, and before you know it, you'll be hitting the big slopes!
--Emily, IML Mentor
Have you considered going snowboarding with a friend who's still a learner too? Surely you have at least one that's not practiced. If you can find one, then not only will becoming experienced snowboarders be a great bonding experience for the two of you, having someone around who's inexperienced will make you feel less self-conscious. No matter what, don't give up! Your friends are right: you just have to practice. We all had to learn our skills sometime. When I first started swimming, I could barely keep myself afloat, and now I swim in competitions. Don't feel embarrassed when you fall. What's more important than the falling is picking yourself up. Good luck, I hope I helped!
--Sarah, IML Mentor
I'm addicted to the computer. I have a habit of always going on. How do I stop?
You shouldn't have to stop using the computer completely; it's a fun thing and very good for research. Perhaps you could just limit your time to an hour a day. On the weekdays, I only use the computer for a 1/2 hour a day, and it gives me enough time to play some games and do the things I want to do without going overboard. Consider trying to fill up your free time with friends, the outdoors, books, and (though I wouldn't recommend too much of it) television. Once you get used to not being on the computer as much, you don't even notice that you're not on! Good luck!
--Sarah, IML Mentor
If you want to stop going on the computer, a good alternative is to find a new hobby. It may be a sport, drawing, painting, or something else! Join a school club (I'm in Key Club, a community service based club.) or volunteer doing a variety of things. You can also tell your mom or dad you don't want to use the computer as much, and have them set certain times when you can or can't use it. Best of luck!
--Alison, IML Mentor
Hi there Amanda!
What I do is allo
w myself to go on the computer for an hour every day. That way, I can spread out my computer time evenly. I usually go on half an hour in the morning, and half an hour in the afternoon. Now don't worry, you don't have to count school work with this, but if you REALLY want to cut down, you might try these limits and see how much better you feel about your computer use.
--Emily, IML Mentor
I would like to know how to overcome my fear of heights because I have got this event coming up and you have to abseil (climb down a rope) off the top of a climbing wall. I know it isn't much but it scares me to think about it. If you can help, please do!
I used to have a fear of heights and still sometimes do. To get over my fear, I just faced my fear head-on. I went to the top of a very high building and looked out over the balcony. When I realized that I conquered my fear and could survive big heights, heights were no longer a big deal. Maybe you can do the same. I know that it might be hard and seem impossible, but climbing that wall will be rewarding in the sense that you would have conquered your fear and are no longer bound to what you are scared of. I hope it all works out and good luck!
--Joy, IML Mentor
WOW! You're for sure braver than I am, because that sounds pretty scary to me! When I was in the sixth grade, my class went on a field trip to this ropes course in Malibu. I looked up and saw a 50 foot pole towering over me, and when the instructor told me I was supposed to climb up the pole and jump off, I was TERRIFIED! After passing on all the activities, I finally got the guts to try one. My heart was pounding, there was sweat all over my forehead, but I knew I would regret it if I didn't do this ONE thing. So really the only thing left to do was close my eyes and jump. I admit, it was sort of a blur...but I learned something important from it: you can't always make fear go away, but you can take that chance, that breath, and it might be worth it. I can't tell you how to avoid being afraid of taking a risk, but I can tell you that sometimes, when you know it's safe, taking a risk is definitely worth it!
E-mail this page to a friend