If you have a panic attack after taking three steps up a ladder, you may be suffering from acrophobia, which is an extreme or irrational fear of heights. Many people have at least some fear of heights. Falling from high up is dangerous and fear is the emotion that helps us avoid danger. But for some individuals, their fear of heights is much more extreme.
Implement these tips and overcome your fear of heights:
1. Think things through logically. You may have been in situations where you felt a great deal of fear and anxiety about high up places, but you weren't truly in danger. Thinking in a rational way can help.
• If you’re three steps up a ladder and you start to lose your balance, you can most likely jump off easily and be just fine.
• If you get scared on a roller coaster, try to realize that an amusement park isn’t in the business of injuring, maiming, or killing their guests. Roller coasters are engineered to be incredibly safe.
• If it's terrifying for you to ride in a glass elevator where you can see how high up you are, recognize that the chances of being seriously injured in an elevator accident are very small.
2. Control your breathing. A lot of times when you’re fearful or anxious, you might forget to breathe. This can cause lightheadedness, worsen the anxiety, and even make you start to hyperventilate.
• Take some slow, deep breaths. This will lower your heart rate and help you calm down.
3. Prepare yourself mentally before a fear-provoking situation. Prepare yourself if you know you're going to be riding in an elevator, climbing a ladder, going to the top of a tall building, or planning some other activity that involves heights.
• Besides thinking things through logically and controlling your breathing, try to visualize yourself going into the situation in a calm and relaxed manner.
4. Face your fear. Breathing and relaxation exercises can help you cope with your fear when you are in a situation that makes you nervous. But the only way to truly overcome your fear is to face it head on.
• Some people do things like skydiving and bungee jumping to get past their fear. The situation terrifies them, but they try it anyway.
• A less extreme way to face your fear would be to do things like going up to the top of a skyscraper, hanging out on a rooftop patio at a restaurant, or riding a Ferris wheel at a carnival.
• Face different experiences with heights at your own pace. Take it one step at a time. Eventually, you can work your way up to the top and back down without any fear.
Although many sufferers deal with their acrophobia by avoiding situations that trigger their anxiety, there are much better strategies to use. There will be times in life where you may have no choice but to travel to new heights. When that happens, keep these tips in mind to help you get through those uncomfortable situations.