What Is The Fear Of Heights Called – A fear of heights (or something!) can be scary. Regardless of your specific fear or anxiety, we all have similar experiences to some extent. In my life it was extremely high.
For example, if I were standing on a tall, narrow bridge, or even just standing inside a tall building, my heart would start beating, my breathing would be faster, my stomach would sink in, my fingers would tingle, my body would freeze and my mind would race and say me to run away from here Do any of these experiences sound familiar?
What Is The Fear Of Heights Called
At first I thought my experience was typical, but I realized that not everyone has the same answers as me! I was told that eventually my feelings would go away, but they just didn’t. Although I was still frozen with palpitations, other people seemed to be fine on balconies, leaning on ledges or just walking around anywhere high.
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Honestly, I wasn’t too worried about it because I’d be happy to stay away from heights if it meant I wouldn’t experience those unwanted sensations in my body.
However, by avoiding heights, I started missing out on things I thought would be fun. For example, I enjoy active physical activity and outdoor activities, but I avoid hiking, rock climbing, or other high-risk activities. Even more, it meant I couldn’t spend fun time with friends or family.
I don’t remember the exact moment, but one day I decided to try exposing myself to the heights if it meant my feelings would disappear. It was a slow process, but eventually I started going on some hikes and climbs, but I still had these unwanted feelings. My God!
For 10 years I’ve been actively trying to get rid of my fear of heights, realizing that I might not necessarily get rid of the fear, but I might just be able to learn to be at peace with it. Receptionist handling skills and commitment help us do just that.
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I started learning to make more room for these unwanted feelings (even though they are still there) and still do the things that are important to me. ACT skills have taught me to manage my fear more effectively, so I’m not nearly as limited as I was a few years ago.
In fact, just last year, I got to do something on my bucket list that had been giving me anxiety for a while – bungee jumping!
They were still there from the day I booked my bungee jump to the moment I stood on the edge of that bridge. My heart raced, I breathed faster, my stomach sank into itself, my fingers tingled, my body froze, and my mind raced, trying to convince me not to jump…
But I still managed and it was amazing! I’ve always wanted to check bungee jumping off my bucket list and I didn’t let my fear take it away.
Ways To Overcome A Fear Of Heights
If you have a fear of heights (or something!) or want to learn more about the ACT and learn effective ACT skills quickly, call us on 07 3193 1072.
If you want to take the leap, I’d love to help you on your journey. How to overcome a fear of heights People are trained to avoid dizzying places, but if this fear interferes with life, exposure therapy can help
American photographer Margaret Burke-White (1904-71) in the Chrysler Building overlooking New York in 1931. Photo by Time Inc/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty
Some may think that the consequences of avoiding heights are minimal. But imagine that you are invited to a job interview on the 16th floor of an office building in the city. Or your kids want a quick family trip. Or your friends decide it would be fun to always hike to a beautiful vantage point. For people with a phobia of heights—an extreme, persistent, and irrational fear of being up high—these scenarios can become real problems. What to do in such a situation if you are afraid of heights? Do you miss this job? Do you make excuses for your children? Are you disappointed in your friends?
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Many of the symptoms of acrophobia, to use the technical term, are shared by other anxiety disorders. These include physical symptoms such as shaking, sweating, pounding heart, difficulty breathing, nausea and dry mouth. People with acrophobia usually feel an intense fear and anxiety of heights and want to avoid them. There are also symptoms more unique to acrophobia, such as dizziness and an urge to fall to your knees or grab onto something.
A certain amount of caution is common and reasonable when it comes to heights. Many animals and human children avoid the natural steep descent even before they have experienced real altitude. Evolutionary accounts suggest that we are all born with this fear because avoiding heights helps keep us safe. The problem only arises when this anxiety around dangerous heights begins to generalize to other, less dangerous situations, and begins to interfere with daily life.
A strong fear of heights can develop for several reasons. First, a traumatic or frightening event, such as falling from a tree or ladder. This can trigger a fear of heights because the distressing experience becomes associated with heights in one’s memories – especially in people who are already prone to anxiety. They then begin to avoid all heights, believing they may lead to a similar terrifying experience. The more such people avoid heights, the less opportunity they have to learn that heights are generally safe, so the fear persists and intensifies.
However, you can’t always trace your fear to a specific traumatic event – many people with acrophobia cannot connect their fear to a specific experience. It’s also possible that some people will simply never have repeated and safe access to heights, which helps most of us manage this innate fear. Finally, people with height phobia show subtle differences in their ability to maintain their balance compared to those without height phobia, even when not exposed to heights. The reason for this is, among other things, that they have more difficulty integrating perceptual information from their visual system. Today, it is thought that a combination of several factors causes acrophobia.
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It is estimated that up to one in three people experience some degree of “visual height intolerance”, where looking at something tall can make them fear they will lose their balance and fall. If your fear of heights is starting to interfere with your daily life and prevent you from doing the things you want to do, you might want to try doing something to reduce it. Cognitive behavioral techniques are an effective treatment for many phobias, including acrophobia, and here are some general principles you can try for yourself.
Recognize and understand the symptoms of anxiety. The human anxiety response is a natural part of healthy activity. When we perceive a threat, our sympathetic nervous system is activated and begins to prepare our bodies for action. This is known as the fight or flight response and it protects us. Many of the unpleasant symptoms of anxiety are caused by our body trying to pump more blood to our muscles to prepare us for fight or flight. For example, our heart beats faster and we breathe faster to get more oxygen to the muscles, and we get dry mouth and “butterflies” in the stomach as energy and blood are diverted from these areas to our muscles.
Hyperawareness and misinterpretation of these physical sensations is a common problem in many anxiety disorders, including phobias. For example, in acrophobia, a person who feels nauseous and dizzy while at a height may believe that these are signs of an imminent catastrophic fall. This can make the anxiety worse because the fear of falling may make the physical symptoms even worse.
To avoid misinterpretations and to ease anxiety tolerance, try to get to know the physical symptoms of anxiety. This will help you see your symptoms for what they are: nothing more than your body’s natural fight-or-flight response. Although we can’t just decide to turn this system off, the anxiety response doesn’t last forever. Remember: anxiety always passes.
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Gradually build your tolerance for these symptoms around altitude. Graded exposure therapy takes advantage of the transient nature of anxiety, and helps you tolerate your body’s anxiety response and recover from it. The idea is to gradually expose yourself to the thing you fear, start small and slowly move to more difficult situations. You practice each step until your anxiety subsides, which helps you create new memories of experiencing the feared object or situation without anxiety. As you practice and become more confident, you replace your stimulus associations and
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