Each phobia is different and no single self-help programme will work for everyone. You may decide to use your own self-help strategy or get help from a mental health specialist, such as a psychologist.
A self-help programme could include:
- lifestyle changes
- a course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- attending a self-help group
- using exposure therapy to overcome your fear
- a combination of these
Making some simple changes to your lifestyle may help reduce the symptoms of a phobia, such as panic attacks.
This could include:
- regular exercise
- eating regular, healthy meals
- getting enough sleep
- reducing or avoiding caffeine and other stimulants
Exposure therapy (desensitisation)
Exposure therapy involves gradually increasing the length of time you're exposed to your phobia.
For example, if you have agoraphobia, a fear of open spaces and public places, you might start by going outside your house for a very short period of time, before gradually increasing the length of time you spend outside and the distance you travel from your house.
Exposure therapy can be a very effective way of enabling you to cope with your anxiety.
Other self-help techniques
Other self-help techniques include:
- relaxation techniques – a series of physical exercises that help you relax and control your breathing
- visualisation – combines relaxation and breathing techniques with mentally visualising how you'll successfully deal with a situation that could cause anxiety
- self-help groups – a useful way of meeting others with similar experiences and sharing ways of coping
Read more about relaxation tips to relieve stress and dealing with panic attacks.