Beware Friday the 13th!

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This sounds more like a Halloween topic, doesn’t it? However, this coming Friday it will be the 13th. I thought I’d share with you some information on fears and phobias – and what to do about them.

There are superstitions like don’t walk under a ladder, breaking a mirror will give you seven years’ bad luck, and don’t forget that the number 13 is unlucky, and so on. Friday the 13th, for example, is a day of doom and calamity. According to the “Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute,” as many as 21 million Americans feel some anxiety about Friday the 13th. Fear of Friday the 13th is also suspected to be the oldest and most widespread superstition affecting us today. Some people go as far as altering their travel plans and/or personal or business decisions on that day.

Fear can be useful as a reminder to be careful. For example, you are with your children at the park and an unleashed dog comes sprinting in your direction. You perceive a potential risk. This is an appropriate fear. Unfounded or overly exaggerated fear is unhealthy. Fear is an emotion that can make your pulse race, give you cold sweats, and can make feel as if you have a knot in your stomach. If your fears are causing paranoia and panic, it is considered a phobia. Let’s go back to the example of the dog. We already know what normal, productive fear is in the above situation. However, if you stay home because you are scared that you might run into a wild animal is unreasonable and detrimental. Common phobias are things like claustrophobia or acrophobia (fear of heights).

Some phobias are intense enough to require medication and therapy, but there are some simple strategies that people can use to help manage phobias.

Think of what’s real versus what is fantasy. If you are imagining the fears and they aren’t based on fact, slow down and determine what is real and what isn’t.

Recognize triggers and respond appropriately. There might be certain stimuli that can get your attention immediately. Maybe there are some distressing world events or maybe a family tragedy. Anticipate your reaction and take a few steps to stop the reaction sooner. If you fell anxiety coming on, go for a walk, concentrate on your breathing, focus on a peaceful thought or an object that gives you comfort. Write in a journal, pray, or meditate.

Differentiate knowledge versus obsession. If you are worried that you are going to get sick, learn what you can do to promote better health –eating right, washing your hands regularly, and exercising. Things like sugar, tobacco, and caffeine can make anxiety worse. Avoid using food or alcohol to cope. Obsession is dwelling on every disease that’s out there. Knowledge really is power and with knowledge you can take on your fears and phobias in a healthy way.

Find a support system. Talk to a trusted friend or family member. If you aren’t comfortable with that, find a counselor, chaplain, priest, bishop, or some other person who is a good listener. Most importantly, don’t label yourself as “crazy” for having phobias. You are not crazy. If you do seek professional help it is okay. Sometimes we all need a little help. Working on your fears is a step in the positive direction.

~ Brought to you by Sugar and Spice Designs.
Please take a look on our blog today to check out our new Thanksgiving and Christmas cards –
‘Tis the season after all!
We also have some baby congratulations and 3D sympathy cards available, too. ~

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