Let’s admit it; almost everyone has an irrational fear that makes us uncomfortable about a particular aspect or situation in our lives. For most, the fears are minor, however, when they become severe to the point of causing tremendous anxiety, then they qualify to be called phobias.
Gephyrophobia is one such condition that affects some people today. For this case, persons affected with fear of crossing bridges and tunnels or taking part in anything to do with the activity. The phobia can significantly impact on lives and even careers of those affected including runners and drivers. For the case of the former, the experience of participating in certain races such as the New York Marathon can be extremely daunting given that the runner needs to cross over five bridges along the course.
In this post, you get to understand a few key details about Gephyrophobia, its symptoms and practical tips to help you overcome the phobia and ultimately get your life or career back on course.
Common causes of Gephyrophobia
As is the case with all other forms of phobias, the cause of Gephyrophobia is linked to the past negative or traumatic experiences that might have involved bridges. Additionally, others relate this condition to other related phobias such as those involving heights or that of enclosed/restricted areas. Traumatic movie scenes or news related to bridge accidents or awful incidents can also be a major trigger for this condition.
Symptoms of Gephyrophobia
-Commonly, Gephyrophobics will experience rapid heart rate that can be accompanied by sweaty palms. The phobic will also want to squeeze his/her eyes at the sight of the bridge.
-You might also experience general body numbness, shaking/trembling or having nauseated feelings when passing over bridges.
-Shortness of breath when running over a bridge.
How to overcome Gephyrophobia
As a rule of thumb, the first stage entails recognizing and acknowledging that indeed whatever you are experiencing is just a learned behavior that can be unlearned. Yes, this might sound inconvenient and perhaps uncomfortable to take but it is one of the most important steps towards treating the condition.
You can then engage in other exercises that have proven to be immensely important for successfully overcoming Gephyrophobia.
-Breathing exercises and regular meditation are some of the powerful techniques that can easily be conducted by Gephyrophobics to produce significant results. You will need to regulate your breathing pattern which ultimately eases your anxiety.
-You can also overcome this phobia by gradually taking smaller challenges such as crossing shorter bridges or those that do not rise quite high off the water. This is known as gradual desensitization, a process that can come in very handy in preparing you take on larger bridges in future.
-Another self-help technique involves rationalizing negative thoughts that ultimately bring you anxiety associated with crossing bridges. You can do this by simply writing down positive thoughts or speaking out your fears to close friends and loved ones. You could also seek their help while crossing the bridges which will assist you to gradually conquer the phobia.
-Lastly, you may want to consider seeking professional help such as psychiatric counseling, talk therapy or Hypnotherapy, which are some of the proven ways of handling severe cases of Gephyrophobia.