“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” -Franklin Delano Roosevelt
A little bit of fear is normal, and can even be healthy. Fear is what keeps you from running into a busy road without looking or makes you double-check your mirrors when we back the car out of the driveway. A little bit of fear helps keep us safe, but what happens when that fear begins to take over and negatively affect your behavior and life in general?
A common fear for people is speaking in public. Speaking in public is not inherently dangerous, but many people find themselves extremely anxious, or even fearful when asked to speak in public. Maybe you’ve always wanted to act on stage, but the fear of public speaking prevents you from participating. Or maybe you’re so anxious to speak in front of people that you avoid a job opportunity or meeting new people. If you find that your fear holds you back or creates bigger problems in your life, facing your fear may help you learn to better cope with that fear and ultimately overcome it.
Overcoming Fear with Adventure Therapy
Adventure therapy is an evidence-based therapeutic approach that utilizes the powerful healing properties of the outdoors to promote change and growth within individuals. Young adults can especially benefit from this programming because it completely removes them from the distractions and of their life at home and allows
them to focus on their own personal growth and healing.
Adventure therapy can be an incredibly effective tool to help people overcome their fears. It puts you in intentionally challenging situations and requires your full attention. The first step in overcoming your fear is acknowledging that it exists. Often time fear hides in secrecy. People may feel ashamed of their fear and feel unable to talk about the issue. Adventure therapy provides a safe but challenging outlet for participants to talk about their fears. There’s nothing surprising about being afraid to repel down a cliff, so it becomes easier to talk about the feelings of fear. This can help you to learn how to communicate about fear and understand the benefits of acknowledging those feelings.
The next part of overcoming your fear is building tolerance. If you avoid situations that make you feel fearful, your tolerance for these situations remains low. By engaging in activities that trigger those feelings of fear, you begin to teach your brain that these activities are not actually dangerous, and therefore do not need a fear response reaction. Adventure therapy activities build on each other. Rock climbing begins by understanding the gear and how to effectively use it. Then participants learn about the safety and execution of their equipment. After that, they can begin to climb a route. The first route can be small, just a couple of feet off the ground, then with practice, eventually become a full ascent. This is the perfect example of building tolerance around any fear associated with the activity.
Lastly, adventure therapy can become even more effective when used in tandem with clinical therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help desensitize you to your fears one small step at a time. Treatment may involve talking about your fears, practicing relaxation strategies, and managing anxiety. A mental health professional can help you work at a pace that is comfortable and healthy.
blueFire PulsaR Can Help
We help young adults and their families overcome challenges that limit their potential. We help young adults step out of their comfort zone, improve their self-esteem, and help our clients build their confidence through self-success. Our program helps create positive changes and improvements through engagement and adventure. We have a supportive environment that encourages clients to push themselves physically and emotionally to create lasting changes. For more information please call (208) 269-7554.