Bridges are designed to get us safely from one place to another – typically one side of a river to the other. But if you're one of the people who fills with fear when you even think about crossing a bridge, you're not alone. This phobia happens a lot, in varying degrees of severity.

The fear can be made up from several component parts – it's often coupled with a fear of heights as (almost by definition) bridges are typically separated from the ground by a volume of air. There can be other factors as well – if you're a control freak, the thought of someone else's work holding you up does not help – and these can all play their part if you suffer from a fear of bridges.

At best, your fear means that you're in a heightened state of worry when you cross a bridge.

At worst, your phobia means that you need to take a long detour to make sure that you're avoiding the bridges on the short route to your destination.

So, what can you do to at least reduce your fear to a manageable level?

Enlist the help of a friend

Friends can help with ressurance and can – literally if necessary – hold your hand during the crossing.

If you've got access to a friend who is prepared to help you increase your phobia, this can be a good place to start.

Of course, it's not always practical and there will likely come a stage where your friends gradually make up more excuses as to why they're love to help but can not make it this time.

Start small

Most fears are quite scared themselves.

That may sound odd but it's definitely the case.

This means that you can chip away at the edges of your fears and phobias and reduce their confidence in themselves. Which, in turn, helps them to go away.

Starting small also means that your fear does not have much chance to act – you're almost taking it by surprise.

Chances are good that there are a number of small bridges near you. Ones that are only a few feet above the ground and that you can cross if a few steps.

Those “beginners bridges” are worth tracking down and using.

Of course, if they're old and rickety then you may want to move onto your second choice as the actual or perceived lack of substance in the bridge can be another component in your fear.

Consider hypnosis

Hypnosis is not just bound to odd television or stage shows.

It's been used by countless people over the years to help overcome limiting beliefs such as your phobia of bridges.

At its heart, hypnosis is just an enhanced way of day dreaming except that you'll be doing it consciously by listening to an MP3 rather than just letting your mind wander aimlessly.

Hypnosis works well for fears and phobias – especially ones where there's a seldom a rational explanation.

It's also cheap and has a high success rate, so you'll be in good company if you decide to go down that route.