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?”
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?
--From Lizzy, 12
I used to have a huge problem with that too! But once I started auditioning for plays and musicals, I had to conquer my fears because generally you don’t audition in groups and some of the time the other people auditioning will be in the same room. One thing you can try is to pretend that all the people in the room aren’t there. Try finding a focus point behind them so it looks like you’re facing the audience without looking directly out at them. Just know that every audience that you will ever perform in front of is there because they WANT you to do well. I hope that helps!
--Natalie, IML Mentor
Have you checked out different breathing exercises you can do to help calm yourself down before you start singing? My teacher taught us one to do before a test, where you draw in a breath for four seconds, hold it for two, let it out for four seconds, and then start again. It really helps me whenever I'm nervous! Also, see if you can get your friends to sit in the first and second rows, or as close to the stage as possible; seeing them might help you calm down, too, and I'm sure they'll be very encouraging to you. Good luck, I really hope you do well!
--Sarah, IML Mentor
I suggest using the "teddy bear method" of approaching it. Sing the solo in your room with your teddy bears. Then when you're going to do your solo, just pretend that you're singing in front of your teddy bears. I tried that when I had the same problem and it worked great. I hope your solo goes well.
--CinKay, IML Mentor
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?
--From Brittney, 13
Trust me, I know how you feel. When I was thirteen, I had to get all of my wisdom teeth taken out (that's four teeth!). I used to be really scared of the dentist too, and it's definitely not a baby fear; there are lots of adults who fear the dentist. In fact, in some ways I'm still afraid of the dentist. One thing you can do is explain to your dentist about your fears, especially in light of you having to get a tooth taken out. If you've got a good dentist, he or she will do his or her best to make you feel more comfortable. Also, you can do a lot more research or even volunteer at a dentist's office, which is what I did, and it helped me a lot. There are also plenty of people around who you can talk to, like your friends or parents, who can help you feel better about your fear. They might even have the same fear themselves, so you won't feel so alone or babyish! I hope you feel better about the dentist soon. It's not really such a bad place, and having a nice smile is so worth it. (Trust me on that one too. :P)
--Sarah, IML Mentor
Being afraid of the dentist isn't babyish. Being able to admit your fear to anyone isn't babyish. We all have our weird fears that we think are babyish, like my fear of the dark. But anyways, it's okay to be afraid. Places like the dentist or the doctor can be scary at first. I suggest bringing something that makes you feel comfortable like a stuffed animal. I know it sounds little kiddish but it works! I was afraid of getting my ears pieced but I brought my Webkinz with me and it made me feel better, and I'm 14. Good luck with the dentist!
--CinKay, IML Mentor
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!
--From Daniella, 12
Public speaking gets a lot of people down so don’t feel like you’re alone! A good way to conquer this fear is by getting more involved in social situations, even if it just means speaking up during a conversation with your friends or raising your hand a little more often during class. Another good way to practice is by reading out loud to yourself; you’ll become more confident in your words and learn to break out of your comfort zone. If you know that your teacher is going to have the class present essays, try reading it out loud to your parents or siblings to get the hang of speaking in front of people, that way you will have already practiced and will have fewer nerves in class. The way I conquered my fear of public speaking was by leaping out of my comfort zone and auditioning for my school play. It may be scary at first, so try doing group presentations, then pair presentations, then eventually you’ll be comfortable enough to speak, present, or even act all by yourself in front of an audience. As for the cashier thing, I completely understand where you’re coming from. I used to have a problem with ordering food at restaurants until I finally realized that no one was judging me and that I was too self-conscious. It’s easier said than done I know, but not caring what other people think about you is the first step. You just have to picture that everyone you are speaking in front of are there FOR you and NOT there to MAKE FUN of you.
--Natalie, IML Mentor
I get really scared when I'm up in a crowd. However, when I'm well-practiced and really know what I'm talking about, it's not so bad. I understand how nervous you can get up there in front of a crowd, but you just have to tackle it head-on. Keep in mind that most of the kids in the crowd will be sympathetic to you. If someone does laugh at you, just ignore them. You're not speaking to them, you're speaking to the people who actually ARE interested in what you have to say, so the kids that laugh at you don't matter. When you're doing things like talking to a cashier, remember that most of them are just in a hurry to get on to the next person. At the end of the day they probably won't even remember you among the sea of people they've had to deal with, so you don't have to feel as bad if you mess up. Good luck with your problem! I hope I helped.
--Sarah, IML Mentor
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