Earlier this autumn, a study was released exploring the greatest fears throughout the UK from broccoli to buttons and fake nails to fish. Apparently, two-thirds of adults are yet to out grow their so-called irrational fears or accept their phobia, whilst half still have nightmares regularly.
What Scares You?
The survey was conducted to celebrate the release of The Walking Dead: The Complete Sixth Season on Blue-Ray and DVD, yet the undead did not appear on the list. Here are the top ten phobias that appeared on the list, above beards, shower curtains, The Pope and many other oddities:
5. Lumpy Food
When asked about the results Dr Becky Spellman, psychologist and phobia specialist, said: “One explanation is that we do live in a frightening world and that every day we are all at risk – even if it only a small risk – of experiencing something bad happening to us. In many ways, it is easier to concentrate our fears on something that is very unlikely to ever hurts us than to think about the real risks that we are facing, and that are much more likely to cause us problems in life.”
The Cost of Fear
More recently, a new study conducted by Voucherbox has revealed that 48% of us spend over £100 a year in an attempt to overcome our fears. Interestingly, though, many of the 1,000 individuals surveyed during October had very a different top fear to those listed above. The top fear in this study for both men and women was a personal failure, which 12% of respondents admitted to, though personal anxieties such as clowns, heights, crowds and the dark came third on the list after insects.
A total of 29% stated that they spent money on facing their fears by purchasing self-help books and therapy sessions, including hypnotherapy, exposure therapy and psychotherapy. Clinical psychologists tend to agree that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the best therapy for tackling phobias as it deals with both anxieties and your physical response to them.
The fact that so many of us buy into making our fears disappear is rather unsurprising considering the fact 37% of respondents claimed that they faced their fears head on, compared to just 22% who just hoped the fear would go away on its own. Strangely, many frightened individuals invested in cleaning products as well in an attempt to fight their fears, though there’s a good chance this has something to do with the fear of insects.
Don’t Over Do It
If you are planning on irradiating those pesky fears – perhaps as a new year’s resolution or a Christmas gift to yourself- do make sure you work gradually. Exposure therapy is a very popular method for dealing with phobias; however plunging in headfirst is not the best method.
“If you’re afraid of spiders and you try and watch the film Arachnophobia, but end up switching it off halfway through, you only make matters worse,” Andy Field of Sussex University explains. “By avoiding the situation you’re reinforcing the idea that you should be afraid of it. The best way to approach this ‘exposure therapy’ is to never take on more than you think you can handle.”
With a little help, it is possible for all of us to overcome our fears no matter how obscure or weird they may seem. Or, we could simply outlaw those creepy clown costumes so we never have to be afraid again.