Fear of Spiders and Snakes

Published in Anxiety Panic Attacks on 9th June 2009

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Of all of the irrational fears that human beings deal with, the fear of spiders and snakes is one of the most common. Nearly everyone knows at least one person who is deathly afraid of these creatures.  What’s more, people who are afraid of spiders and snakes have usually never had a truly dangerous encounter with them.  And because they consciously avoid situations in which they might come in contact with a spider or a snake, they never give themselves the opportunity to face and eliminate their fears.

The causes of the fear of spiders and snakes are largely unknown.  Some psychologists theorize that this fear is largely evolutionary – that over centuries, mankind has developed an aversion to these creatures as a means of survival. Others believe that the fear of spiders and snakes is learned, rather than innate – we are taught as children that snakes and spiders are very dangerous, and that if we do not avoid them, they can kill us.

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Regardless of the cause, there are several techniques that you can use to manage your fear of spiders and snakes.  First, it is important that you learn about these creatures, so that you can understand your fears. Relatively few types of snakes and spiders are actually poisonous – in fact, most are quite harmless.  Learning which types are truly dangerous can go a long way toward reducing your anxiety.

Learning what to do if you are actually bitten by a spider or a snake is also an effective technique for letting go of your fear – in most cases, even if you are bitten by a poisonous snake or spider, the poison can be removed or neutralized quite easily.  Learning this can help to empower you, allowing you to engage in activities where you might possibly come in contact with one of these creatures.

Once you have developed an understanding of these creatures, the next important step is to allow yourself to come in contact with them in a safe, controlled environment.  Most zoos (and even many pet stores) have snakes and spiders on display – because visitors are able to see these creatures without touching them, this can be a good way to confront your fear without becoming overwhelmed.

Emotional freedom technique (EFT) is another effective treatment for the fear of spiders and snakes. This technique involves locating and targeting energy centers within the body – stimulating these energy points can provide both mental tranquility and freedom from physical stress and tension. EFT is similar to acupuncture in the way that it targets human energy points; however, with EFT, there are no needles involved.  An experienced practitioner will simply tap on the physical spots where these energy centers are located, releasing their calming potential.

Finally, meditation can be a useful tool for situations in which you might come in contact with a spider or a snake.  Meditation allows you to focus and center your mind, and to access your inner tranquility.  With a little practice, meditation can help you approach these situations with a sense of calmness and confidence.

While the fear of spiders and snakes affects millions of people, you do not have to let it affect you.  The simple techniques described above can help you quickly and easily move past your fear, so that you don’t have to spend your time worrying about whether you will come in contact with a spider or a snake.


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