Defeating Homophobia Through Accepting Yourself

How many times have you had to tell another individual that you being attracted to them? I know I have had to do this more than once in my life time. It usually happens during a seemingly everyday conversation with someone I just met or with whom I have a loose association. One example conversation went something like this:

Straight guy (SG): “So, what did you do this weekend?”
Me: “Oh not much, just hung out with my family and went to see a movie with my partner.”
SG: “That's cool. What did you see, did she enjoy the movie too?”
Me: “We saw (insert movie title here.) It was pretty decent.” Yeah, he liked the movie too. ”
SG: “Oh, um, that's cool … You know that I have a girlfriend / wife, right?”
Me: “Well, yeah.”
SG: “Well, I'm not gay or anything or anything like that.”
Me: “What does that have to do with what I did this weekend? You did ask.”
SG: “I gotta go. I got some stuff I need to do.”
Me: “…”

That was pretty much the last conversation I had with that guy. I was dumbfounded as to the direction the conversation went in, and its abrupt ending. I had a pretty good inkling as to what was going on but let it go. Later, via a separate individual, my thoughts were confirmed. The guy was homophobic. As well, he thought that by me essentially outing myself to him, that I had developed a physical appeal to him.

With that said, while I do not wear my sexuality on my sleeve, I do not hide who I am, and when asked I do not avoid the answer. I have become comfortable in my own skin. On the other hand, many men, straight and gay, are not. Not every gay man desires to have a sexual / romantic encounter, or a relationship, with every guy they see – including straight men. At the same time, men (and women) in general, have bought into a fairly twisted stereotype of what a man (or woman) is, does, and acts like. It is my belief that this skewed perception is more prevalent with straight guys, but there are a slue of gay men who go the extra mile to make it known that they are no sissy.

Our society – I'm mainly speaking of America – due to it's myriad of influencers such as, religion, ethnicity, and cultural beliefs, is a very unique mishmash of ideas and individuals. Yet one thing has yet to prevail through out the entire fabric of our populace is tolerance. I would venture to say that a lack of personal tolerance, or acceptance, is one of the root factors.

Maybe I'm a little too optimistic, but I firmly believe that once individuals first become at ease with themselves, they then can become accepting of others. I'm not saying that we have to like everyone we meet. I am saying that our society would be much better if we could become tolerant of ourselves and others.

Fortunately for me, I have straight friends and family members that are accepting of who I am. I do not have to hide or feel shame about any part of my life around them. I am free to be me. There are many gays who have the same freedom. Now, things did not happen overnight with everyone. It was a gradual process. Through love and understanding we were able to get to a place where what mattered was who we were in regard to our relations with each other, not who it was that anyone of us slept with.

In the meanime, as I navigate life meeting new people and developing new relationships I do so with the confidence of knowing that I, and others, fully accept me for who I am. There is no need to worry about those who have not come to a point where they are comfortable with who they are, so they feel uncomfortable around me. Being confident in knowing what my intentions are when I do approach people for conversation, networking, building friendships, etc., make life much easier to negotiate.

So, the next time you find that someone is not willing to have even a simple conversation with you because of their misconceptions of your intentions, just let it go. Be who you are, loving and accepting of yourself. That will shine through, and will attract to you others who are loving and accepting of themselves.

If you are still struggling with accepting who you are take comfort in the fact that you can get help. As a life coach I am skilled in helping you come to a place where you not only accept, but you love yourself too. The benefit of self approval is being able to put yourself on a journey where you accomplish the goals you have set for no one else but you. Make the decision to day to accept yourself. If you need help, contact me. It is my passion and mission to creatively teach people how to better themselves and to pursue their passions and goals.

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Handling Fear – The Rabbinical Approach, the Sales Approach and the Abe Lincoln Approach

On May 10th, I published an article called “Freedom With Fear” about how we will never completely eliminate our fears but we can choose to act even as we are feeling fearful. I suggested that this is the very definition of courage. No fear, no courage.

In response to that article, I received an email from a person I'll call Sheila.

Sheila wrote about a dilemma she had recently experienced. Her son was sick with a high fever on the same day that she was supposedly to attend an extremely important meeting. This, of course, is a dilemma many parents face and it's one whose resolution is obvious: Sheila, of course, stayed home with her child.

However, Sheila reported that she was fearful of calling her boss to tell him she would not be at the meeting. Her fear of making the call added to her fears about her son's health “both of which kept me up part of the night” as she “ruminated” about making the call.

Sheila realized that her “biggest fear is the fear of disappointing people.

Than Sheila offered advice I want to share with you. As she was thinking about her fear, she remembered, “I had a great rabbi say to me,” So? “” So you are afraid, SOOO? Why are you letting that stop you? ”

This reminded me of some advice I had received when I was promoting my business, receiving a few “yeses” but mostly “nos.” A friend in sales said to me, “Some will, some will not, so what? Move on.”

“So what?” is a question we can ask in response to any of our fears. For Sheila, she was fearful of disappointing her boss. For me, it was the accumulation of “Nos.”

So to act courageously, you might apply the Rabbinical approach to your fear (“So?”) Or the sales approach. (“So what?”) Or you might consult Abraham Lincoln for inspiration: “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time. ”

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Conquering Gephyrophobia – What Can You Do to Rid Yourself of the Fear of Bridges?

Fortunately, the fear of bridges is reliably rare. However, that does not particularly help if you are unfortunate enough to have a phobia of bridges.

So apart from getting involved in long and arduous journeys to avoid bridges what are your other options if you really are afraid of bridges?

Start by going back in your mind to work out when you first became afraid of bridges. There may have been an accident in your life or you might have seen something on television that triggered some part of your mind to cause you to develop this fear.

Whatever the event is, it affected you deeply enough to trigger your mind into wanting to protect you every time you encounter a bridge.

In an evolutionary sense, that's great! It's how we evolved as a species and learned to avoid things that were dangerous to us. But bridges are a necessary part of our modern life. It's a lot quicker to cross the river using a bridge than it is to wait for a ferry to arrive, if one even exists on the stretch of water that you want to cross.

Sometimes it's possible to plan your journey so that you can avoid bridges, but other times the detour is certainly long for it to be a really major problem to plan any route whatever that does not involve crossing a bridge.

Another option is to seek help. There are hypnosis tracks available on the Internet you can download and listen to and these will often be all you need to remove your fear of bridges completely.

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How to Get Over Your Fear of Flying

The fear of flying is a very common one. In fact, it is so common, that there are a large number of people who would prefer to drive very long distances rather than get on a plane.

In some ways, being afraid of flying is very natural thing. After all, there's a lot of truth in the saying that if God had wanted us to fly he would have given us wings.

The problem is that fear of flying can hold us back in life. It can stop us going on holiday if that involves flights. It can hold us back at work if we are unable or unwilling to get on a plane to go to a business meeting for instance.

So, what can you do to get over your fear?

Start by working out the root cause of your problem. Is it that you're afraid of heights? Is it that you do not like being enclosed in a reliably small space? Is it the lack of control?

All these, and more, are reasons for people being afraid of flying. If you're able to identify which of these – or a different problem – is the main cause of your fear of flying then you're long way towards winning the battle.

If, on the other hand, you're not particularly sure what the problem is then it pays to get help.

There are specialist courses available that are specially designed to help you get over your phobia of flying. Check with your local airport or airline to see when the next one is.

Another option is to use hypnosis to get over your phobia. This is a very discreet way of overcoming the problem as all you need to do is download an MP3 file and listen to it. No one else need know how you overcame your fear. All they need to know is you are now happy to get on a plane and fly.

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Going Out to Pubs and Bars When You’re Emetophobic

Emetophobia is the irrational fear of vomit. It is one of the least-known phobias, but it's estimated to be the fifth most common phobia in the world. Having this condition causes a great amount of shame to sufferers so it promises not to be talked about.

What makes emetophobia have such a strong influence on a person's everyday life is not the fear of actual vomit itself. The biggest problems arise because emetophobics overreact to any threat or small signs of the possibility of vomiting or seeing vomit. This makes them avoid or strictly control many activities which are necessary for day-to-day life.

One such example is maintaining a social life when you're emetobic. This can present numerous difficulties and challenges for someone who can not stand even the slightest hint of someone being sick or vomiting.

So what could be a worse place for an emotophobic to go to than a place where people get drunk – a bar? Not much. The equation goes straight through an emetophobic head: people + alcohol = vomit.

Emetophobics hate going to bars because they just KNOW that someone, somewhere will drink too much. It's impossible to control what others around you are doing and this is what causes a lot of anxiety to them. They fear that there will be a drunkard that does not reach the restroom in time or accidently stumbles on them. To someone with emetophobia, a bar is simply a time bomb about to go off.

Among the many other things a sufferer avoids, it is very common, almost universal to find that the aromatic avoids drinking alcohol. The connection between drinking just slightly too much and vomiting is too strong. So when they do go to a bar, they will most likely be the designated driver, being the sober one in the group.

And having to drive home a group of drunk people in an enclosed space means terror to an emetophobe. They have to drive in the constant fear that somebody will ask them to pull over, or simply vomit in the car. Most emetophobes can not pull this off.

Another thing – even if the emetobic person manages to get himself or herself to go to a bar, maybe getting a single drink, probably not, but there's still a huge challenge. And that is going to the restroom. Going to a clean restroom in a high-end mall is a tough challenge by itself for any emetobic, but going to a restroom where people probably have thrown up if not that night, then at some time in the past, is almost sure to bring on a panic attack.

Hopefully this article will give you an idea of ​​the kinds of challenges an emetobic person goes through every day of his life. If you think about it rationally, the fear of vomit should not be so debilitating, but it's when the fear is about any threat of vomit, that's when you start to see it's a serious problem.

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How Fear of Vomiting Affects Your Everyday Life – Public Restrooms

Emetophobia, or more plainly the fear of vomiting is a debilitating condition affecting many people. But with the shame that sufferers feel over being afraid of this, it's mostly kept a secret, and so not many people are aware that such a phobia even exists. But it's estimated to be the fifth most common phobia.

Here is an example of how this condition affects such simple things as going to the restroom for someone who is an emetophobe. Public restroom are usually unpleasant places to go anyway, but it becomes a nightmare for someone who is afraid of vomiting or even anything that may suggest vomiting.

The phobia creeps into every aspect of a sufferer's life, since they can not take part in normal activities like the rest of the population can. It is unimaginable to someone who is not emetophobic to understand how large an impact it makes on one's life – it can completely take it over.

If you rarily think about it, it may not seem like a big deal – how often do you vomit or even see anyone vomiting? Not a lot, I would guess. But the fact that people who know nothing about this condition miss is that it's not the fear of vomiting itself that causes one to live on edge, but rather it's the threat, even the most remote threat, of vomiting taking place. Sitting around, worried that someone is going to throw up soon is probably a worse thing to have than the panic attacks.

So that might help you understand a little why going to a public restroom, for example in the mall, is such an incredibly difficult task for an emetophobe. According to one emetophobe, she went for a year avoiding going out simply because she would have had to use a restroom if she did go out. It was that bad.

When an emetophobe walks into a restroom, they do not see a restroom. They see a place where many other people have been there before her, and some of those people could have been sick. Thoughts jump around wildly for an emetophobia sufferer. They are afraid that if the person who visited a stall before them had the stomach flu. Because if they also picked it up, they might get ill and vomit. That's an incredible stress to bear.

Everything in a restroom is a source of distress – the door handles. What kind of sicknesses might the last person have had? The sink – what if someone had vomited up their lunch into it and left their germs there. What if while being in a stall, someone else runs up into the restroom and throws up in the stall right next to you?

These are just some of the pressures that emetophobes are put under when doing such tasks that appear to us as simple and mundane. But to someone who can not bear any indication of vomit or even being sick, it's traumatic.

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What Are the Causes of Emetophobia – The Fear of Vomiting?

The word emetophobia itself is derived from the Greek word 'emesis' which stands for vomiting, while the suffix -phobia means an illogical, debilitating fear of an object or situation. People who suffer from this condition are called emetophobes, and it simply means that they are terrified of vomiting or seeing vomit or seeing someone else vomit (even on a photo or on television).

The fear may extend to stimuli which are related to the feared object – such as simply being in a situation where such a threat exists, and being afraid of being sick in general. It is the overly general fear of the threat of corruption in a wide variety of situations that causes the most problems to sufferers. One common example is needing to control how food is prepared and needing it to be clean.

There is very little awareness of this phobia in the public consciousness. This despite being among the most common phobias, the 5th most common according to one estimate. Emetophobics are deeply embarrassed over being afraid of vomit and many sufferers feel that they are alone with this problem, and are not told to talk about it publicly.

That is why there have also been very little scientific studies done into the exact nature and causes of this phobia. If it were more thoroughly-researched, the results could point to one method of treatment over another as being more effective at treating the symptoms. But at this point in scientific inquiry no such distinction can be made.

There are many interrelated factors that cause the phobia in individuals. It is not limited to any one age group – both young and old people tend to have emetophobia. There are a few indicators that it may be more common in young adults.

Emetophobics are usually people that as young children experienced severe bouts of vomiting, or were exposed to someone else vomiting severely with a regularity. This may have been due to illness or pregnancy in their mother. Or if the child had a tendency for self-stimulated vomiting that leads to an increase risk. Another factor that is known to lead to phobia in some cases is going through gastrointestinal surgery. Some cases of this phobia have been due to mental disorders, or at least attributed so.

In one particular study conducted by Dr. Angela L. Davidson, it was concluded that emetophobics are people who are more likely to have what is called an internal locus of control in regard to their day-to-day life. The locus of control simply described shows where an individual thinks that control comes from. If the locus of control is internal, it means that the person believes that they have control over their own actions in a situation, while an external locus of control means that things are out of their control, sometimes in luck or fate. Note that this is a regular scale, not a black-and-white category.

The study explained how having an internal locus of control leads to becoming emetobic – individuals that are going through through bouts of vomiting find that this is within their control, but that it's hard to relinquish this control while vomiting, so leading to a phobia.

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Can Needle Phobia Hypnosis Help You Overcome Your Fear of Needles?

Fear of needles is one of those nasty fears that at first sight does not sound too much of a problem but, on further inspection, impacts your life a lot. Can needle phobia hypnosis help you to overcome your fear of needles?

Chances are that you first learned to be afraid of needles at an early age. Possibly when you visited your dentist and needed to be jabbed. Or maybe you accidently stabbed a finger or other part of you when you were playing as a child.

Whatever the reason, it's now impacting your life more than you'd like. Needles are used for vaccinations, local anesthetics and many other things. They also feature regularly on television shows and movies, so you can not escape them there either.

Which is where needle fear hypnosis can come into its own.

You'll be taken into a state of deep relaxation, either by your local hypnotherapist or more likely by listening to a downloaded MP3 hypnosis audio file.

Once the track gets you to that state, the voice will begin to reprogram your subconscious mind. There are several ways this can be done but the end result is much the same regardless of the approach. The track will work to convince your subconscious mind – the part that is reliving the fear of needles every time one threats to come into your life – that there is no clear and present danger from something that is designed to help protect you.

Needle phobia hypnosis may take a few listenings to fully take effect but there's a good chance your phobia will be lessened even with one hearing of the hypnosis track. It's an inexpensive way to get over this awkward fear.

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Phobias People Have About Their Home

Humans have a lot to be afraid of. Even though we are more capable at protecting ourselves than perhaps any other species on the planet, we are also aware of more dangers. Add to that our extremely complex and capable mind, and we are bound to get carried away by our fears sometimes. Many of the most common phobias are ones that occur in and around the home. Afraid? Give a name to your fear with these ten household phobias.

1. Arachnophobia: an irrational fear of spiders and other arachnids. This is by far the most common phobia among humans, as it is estimated that it affects over half of American women have it and a quarter of American men. This can be especially problematic if you find a spider in your home, because you may feel uncomfortable being or sleeping in that room.

2. Agoraphobia: a fear of open spaces, leaving your home, and or embarrassing situations. This fear can really trap someone in their home, as it is the only place they may feel comfortable and safe. Agoraphobia is a crippling condition because it can prevent people from engaging in normal social interactions and meeting people out of fear of rejection. Some remain housebound for years at a time.

3. Acrophobia: the fear of heights. Another extremely common fear, some people can experience panic or even vertigo when on a high floor in a building or while climbing a ladder. Even if you do not live on a high floor, regular home maintenance may call for climbing ladders, creating some inconvenience for the acrophobe.

4. Claustrophobia: the fear of small, defined spaces. Claustrophobes may have a problem with airplanes, trains, and even elevators. They may not be able to enter certain parts of their home, particularly attics and basements.

5. Mysophobia: the irrational fear of germs. This can translate into extreme hygiene and cleaning habits, similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Mysophobic people may wash their hands hundreds of times a day or wear a breathing mask in public. They may obsessively clean their home as well.

6. Amathophobia: the fear of dust. The home must be a terrifying place for those who suffer from the fear of dust. Dust is an extremely common occurrence, and depending on how large your home is and how many dust-collecting surfaces it has, attempts to battle it may be completely time consuming.

7. Ecophobia: the fear of home. Ecophobes may be nomadic or homeless, depending on their degree of fear. They will find a lifestyle that will allow them to avoid having a home.

8. Domatophobia: the fear of houses. Domatophobes are not opposed to having a conceptual home, as long as it is not a house or near houses. The inner city is an ideal place for domatophobes to tear.

9. Topophobia: the fear of being in certain places. Sometimes a particular memory or event that happened in a place has made it scary or upsetting to be there. In varying degrees, this is a common fear or disturbance, although it can be particularly damaging if that location is your home.

10. Koinoniphobia: the fear of rooms. This phobia can be very damaging to a normal existence, as it makes being indoors in general uncomfortable in some situations and unbearable in others.

Keep in mind, everyone has fears-even irrational ones-some of the time. So if your fear is cleaning, then maybe I can help … Please visit our Denver Cleaning Services website and click through to the blog for simple tips on keeping your living environment clean.

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OMG! There’s a Germ on My Spoon!

Today I got a national health newsletter in the mail with this headline: DANGEROUS BACTERIA ARE EVERYWHERE!

OMG! There's GERMS out there! Run for the hills!

They are spreading the hype that bacteria is killing everyone, and you should buy their brand new whiz-bang product to kill those nasty germs. Many news shows are going around around different towns and wiping all sorts of surfaces, and guess what they're finding?

There's BACTERIA Everywhere!

-Deadly bacteria in dirty laundry (What? No way!) – salmonellosis and hepatitis A
-Clean laundry also has deadly bacteria – fecal matter
-Restaurant tabletops – coliform and flu viruses
-Kitchen sinks – more bacteria than the toilet!
-TV Remote Controls – flu viruses
-Liquid hand soaps in public restrooms – fecal matter – not just on the dispenser, but actually in the liquid soap itself! WTF?
-Grocery carts – fecal matter … fecal matter? Really? Do people really scratch their butts right before they get a shopping cart?

Many countries across this great Earth do not worry about all this crap, yet seem to live quite well. I just came back from a 2 month trip to Vietnam. No one worries about germs there:

* Pre-cooked food was left on the open stove all day to collect bacteria – only to be heated up to kill the bacteria later in the day for dinner. No refrigeration.
* Rice left out in the streets to dry out in the sun – cars drive by, people are walking around, birds fly over it.
* Using boiled water from the local river to wash dishes.

And guess what? I saw no one get sick while I was there – it's just a part of their everyday life. They live good, long healthy lives – average life expectancy is about 70 years. I saw many people in their 80's and 90's who were very healthy and active.

Everyday I ate at the local street tables like the locals do, not in the fancy restaurants. I even drunk the local tap water. I was exposed to all of the local bacteria, and after all of this exposure to GERMS, guess what happened? I got a small amount of diarrhea for a day or two when I first got there, but, after a couple of days, I must have gotten immune to it because I never got sick again, and I was there for 2 whole months!

I Survived!

I've lived over 45 years of my life without ever handling anti-bacterial wipes or lotions. Heck, we never even heard of anti-bacterial wipes / lotions when I was growing up. I'm 57 right now, and guess what? I'm still alive and healthy! OMG! It's a miracle! No, it's just common frickin 'sense. Once your body is exposed to bacteria and viruses, it builds up an immunity to the invaders. The more you let your immunity grow, the healthier your body gets. It's really amazing how your body works to keep you healthy if you let it.

I have friends who are germophobes, and they are always using anti-bacterial lotions yet they still get sick a lot! They are not allowing their bodies to do what they do best – build up immunity! By constantly using anti-bacterial wipes and lotions, you are training your local bacteria to become even stronger to counteract the anti-bacterial chemicals. Overuse of antibiotics is bringing on the development of super germs, which are requiring the drug companies to come out with stronger and and more expensive antibiotics. It's becoming a deadly spiral.

STOP THE MADNESS!

Learn to let your body keep you naturally healthy.

I know there are people who have genetically impaired immune systems. This article is not for that small percentage of the population. It's for everyone else.

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What is Emetophobia, Also Known As Fear of Vomiting?

Emetophobia , or more plainly the fear of vomiting is derived from the Latin root emesis, which means vomiting. There is very little public awareness about this condition, but according to some estimates it's among the most common – one list places it at number five.

Many emetophobia sufferers keep quiet about it because they're embarrassed over it, so that's why there is so little publicity about it. And it really is a serious and debilitating condition – whereas with other phobias you can usually avoid the source of your fear. When you're afraid of flying, you can take the car instead.

What makes fear of vomiting such a big problem is that when you suffer this fear, you are afraid of YOURSELF. And there is no running away from yourself, the fear can accompany you everywhere. Life really is a tougher for emetophobia sufferers, and they have a higher risk for depression and anxieties.

What causes one to suffer from this condition? Usually it's an experience from one's earlier years when the person has had a negative and often traumatic event that created this association in their brain. Quite often parents have had a large role to play in this, for example by causing excess shame or guilt over throwing up.

There are many common factors that all emetophobes, or people who have fear of vomiting, share. This includes diving foods into safe and unsafe categories and refusing to eat food in the latter category, limiting traveling, not drinking alcohol. It's also very common to be afraid of eating in public or in any location where you can not control the preparation of food.

Something that often also accompanies fear of vomiting is a fear of people who are ill. This may be a clue into the causes of this condition. There have been very little studies done so not much can be conclusively said. Science has not given any definite explanation to the causes behind this fear. However, emetophobia sufferers can probably make a good guess about the experience that might be behind it.

There have been attempts at curing fear of vomiting, and some of them are more effective than others. Hypnosis has been claimed to work, as well as cognitive behavior therapy – which basically is about learning to take control over your thoughts and redirect them. The emetophobe will have to try out different therapies for themselves if they are to get an idea about the effectiveness of these.

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Effective Ways of Overcoming a Social Phobia

Many individuals suffer from a social phobia which is an extreme fear of crowds or social situations that cause them to have symptoms that include trembling, shaking, excessive sweating, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and nausea. This type of anxiety disorder can significantly affect the quality of an individual's life and can lead to a more serious type of anxiety disorder known as agoraphobia which can cause an individual to become conferred to there home seriously affecting there social life and ability to maintain employment.

While the symptoms of a social phobia can seem overwhelming, there are many methods and techniques that can help an individual overcome their anxiety that include professional and self-help. There are a variety of self-help methods that can aid individuals in overcoming their anxiety and vary from one individual to another as to what may work best. These methods include reducing or limiting stimulants such as beverages containing caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Getting the proper amount of sleep can also help those with a social phobia as a lack of sleep can intensify the symptoms of anxiety. Learning relaxation techniques including certain breathing methods can also help reduce or eliminate anxiety symptoms.

If you have a social phobia, chances are you also have negative thoughts that contribute to your symptoms of anxiety such as thoughts that include a negative perception of what other individuals will think of you or negative thoughts about yourself such as whatever you may have to say during a social situation will seem foolish or boring. Challenging these negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive ways of thinking can significantly reduce or eliminate your symptoms of anxiety. There are also other methods of social strategies that many individuals have utilized successfully in overcoming their social phobia.

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An Overview of the Three Main Categories of Phobias

Phobias are an extreme unrealistic fear of places, situations, or specific objects. There are three main categories of phobias which include social phobias, agoraphobia, and specific phobias.

Most individuals have some type of phobia such as having to take an exam or making a public speech and will experience a brief period of fear or anxiety in these situations. However, individuals who have an extreme phobia will have intense physical and emotional distress that can last a long period of time and be disruptive to their everyday life. While not all types of phobias require treatment, severe cases – such as agoraphobia – require therapy and sometimes medication to overcome the fears.

Social Phobia and Agoraphobia and Specific Phobias

Individuals who suffer from the anxiety disorder of social phobia have an extreme fear of social events or public places. This fear is based upon their false perception that they will be scrutinized and embarrassed, humiliated, harshly judged or criticized.

In several cases of social phobia an individual can withdraw from all social activities and even have trouble keeping a job that involves interaction with others. In some cases, this isolation can lead to severe depression, financial difficulties, and substance abuse. The symptoms of a social phobia can often mimic that of a panic disorder or agoraphobia.

Agoraphobia is defined as “fear of open spaces” and is an anxiety disorder that can be extremely debilitating to the individuals who suffer from it. Individuals with agoraphobia suffer from panic attacks and have an extreme fear of crowed or public places where they feel they can not escape such as shopping malls, elevators, or airplanes.

In several cases of agoraphobia the individual can become confined to their home as their fear of having a panic attack is so overwhelming that they are unable to go out in public. Specific phobias are a phobia involving a specific object, circumstance, or situation. There are numerous types of specific phobias which include snakes, spiders, public transportation, and water.

Symptoms and Treatment

The signs and symptoms of a phobia disorder are all very similar in nature regardless of what type of phobia it is and include intense anxiety in the situations that are feared, going to extremes to avoid any places, objects, or situations that cause the fear and anxiety, having a panic attack, and the physical symptoms of a rapid heartbeat, sweating, and shortness of breath.

Phobias do not typically go away on their own, and in severe cases that interfere with the functioning of a normal life, medical treatment is required. These treatments typically consist of of psychotherapy in mild cases and may be a combination of therapy and medication in more severe disorders.

The therapy most commonly used with these types of disorders is exposure therapy or “systematic desensitization” which includes imagining or coming into contact gradually with situation or object that is feared. Fortunately, with the proper diagnosis and treatment plan, the majority of individuals with these types of disorders can alleviate their symptoms and overcome their fears.

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Truth Or Consequences, Could Your Germaphobia Come Back to Bite You?

Everywhere you go, germs and bacteria surround you and so does the fear of how they may harm you. The media is arranged with sensational stories about the hidden germs in hotel rooms, and the ever-encroaching threat of foreign and exotic, even life-threatening viruses. We have become obsessed with germs and bacteria, but bacteria are everywhere – around us and inside us. And even though we know that not all bacteria are harmful, we are constantly seeking to eliminate them … consequences be damned!

Creeping In: How The Seeds of Germaphobia Were Sowed

Our national obsession with germs and bacteria may have started as far back as the Civil War but seems to have taken root in the early public health campaigns of New York City. With the advent of clean drinking water and new sewer systems, a new level of awareness regarding the importance of cleanliness and good hygiene as well as the hidden health threats looming in filthy, unsanitary conditions.

Many of our beliefs around gases and disease may have been fueled by the work of Pierre Bechamp, and later, Louis Pasteur. Pasteur is well known as the scientist who bought us “Germ Theory” and led us to believe that germs from the outside world invade our bodies and “cause” disease, which is why we have to kill them before they kill us. In an ironic twist, it turns out that Pasteur had plagiarized some of the work of Bechamp, who demonstrated that it's the “terrain” (meaning the environment inside your body) that matters more than the germs themselves. Pasteur distorted the work of Bechamp and made a name for him self by asserting that it was the other way around. As he lay on his deathbed, he admitted that Bechamp was right when he uttered “The microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything.”

The proliferation of Pasteur's “germ theory” combined with the success of early public health campaigns historically gain a rise to a new generation of household cleaners, personal care products, and drugs designed to kill bacteria and germs. Juliann Sivulka's extensive research, presented in Stronger than Dirt: A Cultural History of Advertising Personal Hygiene in America, suggests some of the “anti-microbial” advertising began as early as 1875 and continued well through the twenty century.

Without any guidance on how to lead healthier lives and strengthen our immune systems to better handle the biological challenges we may encounter, we're increasingly coming to relly on anti-bacterial (and potentially toxic) products like bleach, ammonia, isopropyl alcohol, and more recently, hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial soaps, to assuage our fears. Many of these products now contain worrisome ingredients like Triclosan, a derivative of Agent Orange, which over-use is creating new resistant strains of bacteria or “Super Bugs.” Ironically, these Super Bugs pose an even greater threat to our future ability to resist infection and disease, which begs the question is our fear of germs really helping us or could it inadvertently hurting us? Knowing the genesis of our “germaphobia,” it's not hard to see how the work of a misguided scientist coincided with larger commercial interests to bring us to this point.

Germaphobia: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

There's no question that there are harmful bacteria that can make you very sick or even kill you – the SARS and Swine Flu strains being the most recent threats that come to mind. But we can not let our fears of these viruses blind us to the potential harm that comes from trying to kill all germs and bacteria (real or imagined). Or more to the point, what's the hidden price we pay when we use a product or take a drug that's designed to kill “bad” bacteria but it also kills “good” bacteria in the process?

Our intestines are loaded with “good” bacteria (intestinal flora) that help break food down so the body can make use of its nutrients. Much of the “good” bacteria in your digestive tract also protects you from poisons in food and other infections like yeast infections which thrive on excess sugar in your gut. When you have an infection (like a bladder or upper respiratory infection), the antibiotic your doctor prescribes kill both good and bad bacteria. While you may rid yourself of one problem, in killing the “good” bacteria, you may be getting another problem. Women often get a yeast infection as a direct result of taking antibiotics for other infections. Then they are given a different antibiotic to address that problem and the cycle perpetuates. Or, as is often the case, the condition clears up only to return months or even years later.

This phenomenon, when played out on a big scale, can have significant consequences, as was the case in 2007, when there was a huge outbreak in drug-resistant staph infections. While this has been an ongoing problem in hospitals, it was rare to see an outbreak of this magnitude in schools and even the locker rooms of professional sports teams. Thanks to our incantant use of antibiotics, this bacterial strain has become immune to what was previously used to kill it. The result? Each year in the United States, we lose almost 18,000 people to this type of infection. Ironically, it seems the only cure is to further the cycle by creating stronger (and theoretically better) antibiotics.

The good news is that science is beginning to recognize that we've gone too far with antibiotics and is looking at the use of gentler, safer plant-based alternatives. Tea Tree essential oil, with its strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, has shown promise in a number of different studies as a safe and effective way of killing “bad” bacteria without destroying the “good.” It is widely used in Australia (where it grows in abundance) to successfully treat conditions like yeast infections and Athlete's Foot.

In his book “Life Helping Life,” Dr. Daniel Penoel, a renowned expert in medical aromatherapy, points out that Tea Tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) has great potential as an antibacterial agent, but its different from conventional antibiotics in that it attacks only destructive bacteria. It was “created from life to help life,” so it knows what to do. Other essential oils that show promise in the treatment of bacterial infections include Thyme, Oregano, and Clove Bud. And a number of other essential oils with their anti-viral properties, have been identified as strong immune system defenders. To put things in perspective, studying the use of essential oils in the treatment of illness and disease is a required part of the curriculum at medical schools in France, indicating their validity as a legitimate alternative.

The world is undeniably full of bacteria. Both modern medicine and society have long exceeded the boundaries of sensible practices in their respective approaches to dealing with it. Only by taking a step back and openly embracing natural alternatives will it be possible to successfully turn the tide of antibiotic-resistant infections that threatenens us today.

© Copyright 2010 Dropwise Essentials

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Public Speaking – Overcome the Panic and Anxiety

Many people that may otherwise seem confident and self assured in other areas of their lives experience high levels of panic and anxiety when they have to address an audience. Fear of public speaking has often been observed to rank higher than the fear of death. This article discusses the fear of public speaking and how to overcome the panic and anxiety that may cripple you.

Some people that experience panic and anxiety attacks and are set to give a speech or address an audience often experience major worry weeks or months before the speaking engagement and being able to accomplish this task without having a panic or anxiety attack. The public speaking can be any setting whether a podium or an office meeting or a class presentation, or being asked to give an opinion or feedback.

In an office setting, this can be detrimental since you will be so afraid that you do not add anything to a meeting and remain quiet doing the meeting. In offices where you need to be noticed, you will often be passed up for promotion even when you work the hardest.

The fear usually centers on having a panic or anxiety attack while you are speaking and being unable to complete the speaking engagement because the panic takes over and the constructive thinking required flees. You will imagine fleeing in an undignified manner and making up excuses later for your behavior.

Others who fear public speaking simply fear blanketing or feeling uncomfortable under the scrutiny of others. They may experience jitters or nervs but they are not familiar with the panic attack or the debilitating threat that sufferers of panic and anxiety experience.

How do you overcome the fear of public speaking as a panic or anxiety sufferer?

Embrace the unnerving sensations that you experience when you think about public speaking because they may never go away in their inheritance. Simply approach them differently when they come over you when giving a speech or in a meeting.

In order to overcome this fear, you need to build your confidence back to the levels that were before the unnerving sensations came over you that usually cause you to flee because you fear the onset of a panic or anxiety attack.

You need to realize that no matter how tough, it gets, you'll finish the speech and not flee and that you will not become incapacitated at all if you continue with the speech. When you believe that you are not in any danger, you will be able to overcome the sensations and panic attack.

It is often common to experience anxiety before the speech and to feel that that you are letting yourself down with the anxiety. Simply take a breath and relax and know that this is okay and that it is natural to feel anxious.

Do not try to push the emotional energy and excitement into your stomach but simply move through it by remembering yourself that you are okay and that you will not die. No one has ever died from giving a speech. Remind yourself that you can handle anything without giving into the panic attack.

If your major fear of speaking is caused by a feeling of being trapped, prepare some mental releases before the speech such as turning the attention back to the audience member for feedback on some of your points if allowed. Have people introduce themselves, ask if anyone has questions, etc, which will relax you and your audience.

Sometimes podiums can disconnect you from the audience so grab the mike and wander the stage. Look at people one by one which shrinks the room and further reduces the anxiety. If you are stumped, discuss your team and tell the audience about the other experts on your team that will be able to assist with the question and return a suitable response.

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