Whether we admit it or not, everyone is afraid of something. It can be something small like a spider. It can be something bigger or higher like heights. Or, it can be something like a day on a calendar. Today is Friday the 13th.

The first step in dealing with your fear is knowing what you're afraid of. Many times, you have a generalized feeling of fear. You want to be as specific as possible as to what scares you because this helps you deal with your fears more effectively. Let's say that you're scared of going to concerts. Ask yourself exactly what you're afraid of. Is it the loud noises, tons of people, possibility of getting lost, not knowing how to get out of the building in an emergency. Let’s say you worry about how to get out of the building in case of an emergency. If you locate the exit signs then you're bound to feel calmer.

To decrease your fear, gradually expose yourself to what frightens you. Continuous and gradual exposure will help decrease your fear.

Let’s say that the gradual exposure isn’t working very well or very quickly. Is it ever ok to tell someone to just get over it? No, it comes across as insensitive. It shows your patience. Instead it’s better to help that person overcome the fear by helping them practice getting over it. Let me give you an example. A friend of mine's daughter was about 18 months old when we were at the shore. And the baby was scared of the water and the waves. By holding her hand and moving at her pace, she gradually got closer to the water and eventually touched the water with her toes. After a little while, she walked into the water up to her ankles while still holding my hand. Within a couple of hours, she was jumping in the waves up to her knees and throwing the water in the air. My point is helping someone overcome a fear is more effective than telling them to get over it.

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