During a recent air trip from Lagos to Abuja, a colleague became severely uneasy and restless.

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As the aircraft landed in Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, he summoned the courage to say in a discomforting tone, “I think I have the fear of flying”.

It then dawned on me that many of us do not know we have these social and common fears until we experience them firsthand.

In view of this, we will dissect five common fears and how to manage them.

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Aerophobia: Fear of flying

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the total number of passengers who passed through airports reached 3,845,853 in the first quarter of 2018 — a 33.51 percent year-on-year growth from the same quarter of 2017.

Some of these passengers will have the fear of flying but may have no choice but to fly, given the insecurity on Nigerian roads.

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If you fall into this category, here are some simple steps you can take to manage it.

The major approach is to undergo exposure therapy with the help of a professional. The therapy will help you to become gradually more adjusted to the ideas and sensations of flying.

A self-help approach is to distract yourself during a flight. You may either read a book, watch a show or listen to music. Or better still, sleep off.

Glossophobia: Fear of public speaking

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Speaking in front of people may trigger anxiety and discomfort. Sometimes, you’ll have a running stomach, and in the extreme, you may have blood running through your nostrils.

To manage this fear, you need to always prepare notes before giving a public speech, and practice often – speak to your mirror.

Also, speak to yourself for at least five minutes a day. You can record with your phone or other recording devices to measure your improvement.

Autophobia: Fear of being alone

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People who have this type of fear feel paranoid and unsafe even in the most comforting and secure place. They never want to be alone, but always want the presence of other persons to feel safe.

People with autophobia are often treated with psychotherapy. The most common type is exposure therapy.

In this case, patients will be exposed to the source of their fear over and over till they can eventually face it. But if it persists, medication can be useful. So, see your doctor.

Claustrophobia: Fear of confined spaces

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This fear is triggered by an intense fear of confined places, such as the elevator, or a small room without windows.

Claustrophobia is a common fear and a feeling that seems like you are having a panic attack.

It can be managed by breathing slowly and counting to three with each breath, visualising and focusing on a place or moment that brings you inner peace.

Hemophobia: Fear of blood

Seeing blood for many is a trigger; an irritation that can make them sick for days. Some people cannot go near hospitals because of the fear of blood.

This fear falls under the category of ‘specific phobia’. It can, however, be managed by relaxation – anything from meditation to breathing exercise can help to take your mind away from the visual of blood.

In severe cases, you need to see your doctor.



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