It’s strange how, as we get older, many of us develop irrational fears of one sort or another. Fear of heights (technically called acrophobia) is, apparently, the commonest and Dr Wild, a clinical psychologist from Oxford University was quoted in this week’s
Stylist as saying, “The majority of people have a fear or heights. The older we get the more ingrained it becomes”. But it doesn’t have to!
Having had no fear as a child, as I went through my 20s and 30s I developed an increasing terror of heights. However, I hated the fact that it limited me and the family and would force myself to climb buildings, towers, walk along cliffs etc. It was often my children who had to use all their innate psychological skills to get me down from exciting expeditions to the Whispering Gallery in St Paul’s or the Cologne Cathedral spire – going up tended to be more or less OK but coming down was definitely not as my legs turned to jelly and panic set in! It came to a head in China on my own when I struggled to get down from the Great Wall, which is extremely steep in places, and stepping out from the lift on the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai – onto a glass floor 350 metres up! That, I decided, was my last venture up anything higher than a step ladder!
Challenge by Choice
However, a few weeks later I was on my first NLP course in the New Forest – part of which is an afternoon on a high ropes course. “Challenge by choice” was the phrase our instructor used, and we were, of course safely
roped up with a colleague on the ground managing a belay rope. Supported by other
delegates, and my newfound NLP state
management skills, that first day I climbed a tree and walked across a log suspended between two trees – a long way off the ground!
On my second course I did that again, plus several other more challenging tests culminating in climbing up a tall pole onto a very small platform with another person and jumping together onto a trapeze somewhat out of reach... from which the only way down was to let go and let the belay rope bring you down! It wasn’t easy, but the elation at having conquered my fear was intense, and never left me. I’m well aware that I need to keep challenging myself or the old fear can re-establish itself, so wherever I go I’m always the first to go up the tallest building, up the steepest mountain road etc – can’t wait for The Shard to open!
NLP coaching can assist with all sorts of irrational fears in very few sessions, by helping you manage your mental state, or in some cases by carrying out a fast phobia cure.