Many specific phobias, such as a fear of driving, often affect a person's ability to live a normal life. Fear of roller coasters is unlikely to affect a person's daily life. For people who want to conquer a fear of roller coasters, learning and practicing the same skills that treat anxiety disorders provides relief.
Exposure slowly desensitizes people to their fears. For people with significant fears, even imagined exposure causes anxiety. Imagine watching a roller coaster and work up to envisioning riding on a roller coaster. Keep practicing until anxiety dissipates. Look at pictures of roller coasters and watch videos of people riding on roller coasters. Continue with exposure to pictures and videos until anxiety decreases. Go to an amusement park and watch other people ride on a roller coaster.
Learn Safety Statistics
Anxiety causes exaggerated thoughts. People who fear roller coasters tend to imagine a high likelihood of dying as a result of riding the roller coaster. Conduct research to learn about roller coaster safety information. Learn about how roller coasters are built and the safety features that prevent injuries and accidents. Find out how often accidents occur and how few people die as a result of riding on a roller coaster each year. Examine these statistics and compare them to everyday activities, such as driving a car, to determine which activities are the most dangerous.
Replace Negative Thoughts
Anxiety tends to cause a variety of catastrophic thoughts. A person without a fear of roller coasters looks at a roller coaster and thinks, "I will have a lot of fun." A person who fears roller coasters sees the same roller coaster and thinks, "I will fall out of the seat and die." Learn to recognize and replace these anxiety-provoking thoughts with more rational thoughts. Replacing an anxious thought with a more realistic statement helps reduce anxiety.
Distraction helps people pay less attention to their feelings of anxiety and anxiety-provoking thoughts. When in line for a roller coaster, do not focus on how scary the ride looks. Instead, engage in conversation, look around the park or do anything to provide a brief distraction from the ride. Learn meditation skills to practice while waiting in line. Focus on taking slow, deep breaths. When boarding the roller coaster, envision successfully completing the ride.
- San Francisco Bay Area Center for Cognitive Therapy: Specific Phobias
- The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook; Edmund Bourne; 2010
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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