“Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the ability to face your fears!” – Paramahamsa Nithyananada Fear is not a bad thing! It is a basic survival mechanism gifted to us by a million years of evolution. Fear is the natural intelligence which keeps us from putting our hand in a fire or jumping in front of a moving bus. However much we may tried to avoid fear, it is an essential part of our lives. How is phobia different from fear? A phobia is an irrational fear, usually of an object/person/ situation that poses little or no actual danger. When a fear gets so exaggerated that a person starts avoiding any circumstance in which they will have to face that fear, it is called a phobia. When it is deep-rooted and extreme, a phobia can completely handicap a person, eventually costing him his job, his relationships, and the ability to experience life fully. Specific phobias (eg. fear of heights or closed spaces or flying) are more common than we imagine! According to the National Institute for Mental Health (USA), specific phobias affect an estimated 19.2 million adult Americans, and are twice as common in women as men. They usually appear in childhood or adolescence and tend to persist into adulthood. In the Vedic system of medicine, phobias are usually traced to traumatic situations experienced in the womb, or even in previous births. That is why the suffering individual is rarely able to offer a logical explanation for his/her phobia. What is the way out of phobias? Step 1: Acknowledge and bring awareness to the fear. Suppression of the fear, telling yourself not to be afraid of the dark or cockroaches because there is nothing to be afraid of only buries the emotion. Step 2: Stop rationalizing. Telling yourself that, after all, a cockroach will not kill us! will work well until the moment a real cockroach is in sight. Step 3: Do not condemn yourself. Understand that you are facing a situation that does not have a logical explanation, and a logical solution. Step 4: Overcoming a known fear is the first step in eliminating phobias. Meditation is a wonderful way to flush out negative memories buried deep in your unconscious. Even as little as 20 minutes of meditation a day can bring about visible transformation in the way you handle the phobia. The suppressed energy can be released through meditation, allowing you to move back into life with confidence and courage and the ability to face any situation as it happens. Link to: Face that fear! - A simple meditation to overcome phobias Sit in a relaxed manner with closed eyes. Recall the situation which brings up the phobia. in youp the phobiIf you are in a safe situation to experience the fear, allow the sensations to happen in your or your child's body; the shaking, sweating, rapid breathing and heartbeat. Acknowledge the inevitable. Yes, you could die in a plane crash! Accepting the inevitability of the situation will change the whole nature of the fear's impact on you. You can also bring up the fear stimulus in the comfort of your home. Just imagine the fear stimulus, such as a spider, and experience the sensations.