This article is about overcoming an irrational fear of fainting. If you regularly feel light-headed, dizzy, or faint unexpectedly, please seek medical advice.
“Hello, about 2 years ago I pierced my finger with a staple while opening a package and fainted at home. Ever since then I have had a chronic fear of fainting again.
It’s whenever I go out in public the consistent thoughts of ‘I hope I don’t pass out’ just play through my head like a tape recorder and eventually I just panic and have to go sit down to calm down, and get a grip on reality that it’s not real and that I physically have no reason whatsoever that I would pass out.
I truly believe that I won’t pass out and the thoughts are irrational and also its not really ME thinking this stuff but my mind running wild and its almost like a habit to think this way. I try to live in the present moment but I just feel sometimes that its so hard to break from these irrational thoughts and control my mind.
What would you suggest I do to finally take control of this thought and eliminate it for good? Thank you so much!!!”
This is a great case of our minds being dysfunctional — not serving our best interests. I can relate to your problem, I remember I was very “mental” back in school…
I used to run through difficult/embarrassing scenarios in my mind, and of course that attention made the problem worse…
Naturally, I assumed I needed to THINK about the problem in order to get rid of it and solve it (BIG mistake!) For example, I remember going through a spell where I kept thinking “I hope I don’t blush. It’ll be terrible if I blush, everyone will look at me and that will be really embarrassing”…
And then of course I would imagine how embarrassed and awkward I would feel if I blushed, and guess what… I would blush… How’s that for a self-fulfilling prophecy? :-) And of course, but for the thought, and then the attention to the thought, it would never have happened.
Of course, what I should have done is NOT given that thought my attention. Equally, to overcome your fear of fainting, you want to calmly NOT give your attention to the thought “I hope I don’t pass out”. What you want is calm distraction. However, stressing about NOT thinking the thought won’t do… that’s just another form of attention to it.
In the same vein, the frustration you feel when the thought pops up is counter-productive. That trains your brain that this is important, that this is something that needs your attention, a problem that needs resolving. This is TOTALLY understandable of course, we’re trained to put attention on perceived problems.
But what you want is the opposite — you want a calm decision to simply not engage with the thought, to calmly distract onto something else right away…
And that Dana, is how you overcome fear of fainting :-)
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