From being judged by others to being scared of spiders, it’s very rare for a person not to have a fear or phobia of something or another, no matter how big or small. Fear is a pretty universal – and potentially all-encompassing – feeling, but do you think you’d pay to overcome your greatest one?
A recent survey by Voucherbox.co.uk has revealed that nearly half of Brits (48%) spend more than £100 a year trying to fight off their greatest fear. Some people consult self-help books, while others turn to hypnotherapy or psychotherapy to tackle their phobias.
In the UK, the biggest fears people harbour were found to be:
- Personal failure, including financial loss or unemployment
- Social situations
- Death or sickness
Was Aristotle correct when he said: “He who has overcome his fears will truly be free”? Maybe it’s not overcoming the fear, so much as accepting it and not allowing it to control your life or your being. Most children are afraid of the dark at some stage or another, but it’s very rare for that fear to still be as prominent in adulthood. It could be that the child has overcome the fear itself or merely that they have grown to be more courageous and to face that fear bravely.
For many people, it’s possible to treat or deal with a fear or phobia by avoiding it. No one’s ever forced to pick up the daddy long legs they fear greatly! However, it’s common for people to look to a professional when the phobia takes over part of their life. A fear of flying, while avoidable, could severely limit someone’s life opportunities and hinder their overall experiences.
The biggest fears revealed by the survey were those that most people will perhaps have experienced themselves or at least be able to empathise with. But there are some far more unusual fears and phobias that you’re far less likely to have come across…
In no particular order, here are some rather unusual fears:
- Turophobia – fear of cheese; it could be one variety or a number of different types.
- Somniphobia – an irrational and excessive fear of falling asleep.
- Hylophobia – fear of trees; often thought to stem from fairytales or scary stories in childhood.
- Pogonophobia – fear of beards.
- Nomophobia – fear of being without mobile phone coverage.
As you’d expect, the last one is a fairly recent discovery for researchers. A disturbingly large number of people really worry about losing signal, running out of battery or even just letting their phone out of their sight for a while.
We, as a society, are changing and evolving all the time. So, it seems, are our fears and phobias too. So can you ever really, truly face your greatest fear? Or will there always be something else out there that’s set to dwarf your last phobia?