July 12, 2018
Where does it come from and why are people afraid of spiders?
More than likely, this fear has come from a parent or family member. It is my experience that about 95% of people that have arachnophobia is due to a learnt experience. A learnt experience being that, as a child you may have seen your mum scream or panic about a spider and our young instinctual mind says to us “if mum is frightened of that then it must be bad”.
This has instantly set up a conditioned response to be afraid of spiders and your unconscious mind will constantly scan for a spider while you go about your daily routine – have you ever had a moment while watching TV or being occupied and out of the corner of your mind seen a spider? That is your brain doing exactly what it is designed to do!
The other 5% of people who suffer from arachnophobia is usually caused by a negative or uncomfortable experience of a spider crawling on them or being put on them by another person who may think its funny and in some cases a spider in or on the bed.
Fight or flight
When we are experiencing some kind of stress, the brain sends out a signal to your adrenal gland to release adrenalin and cortisol.
Adrenalin is what makes the heart rate increase and lungs to take in more oxygen by making us breathe faster. The heart and lungs work together to push blood and oxygen faster to the arms and legs so we can be prepared for the natural “fight or flight” response, literally meaning to stand your ground and fight or to run away.
Cortisol is released to feed your body with extra energy that has been stored away for these situations. Cortisol regulates the blood sugar levels and acts as the bodies’ natural anti-inflammatory in the event of being hurt should you decide to “fight”.
This completely natural process is the brains natural instinct to survive and will do everything it can to keep you safe. The brain doesn’t know if you are going to be harmed or not, but as we are just animals by nature, the only things to cause us harm when we were living as cave people would be a predator.
How to overcome your fear of spiders
The point is, no one is born with a fear of spiders and so it is actually very easy and to overcome arachnophobia, I know because I have done it myself.
Cognitive therapy or “education” and a couple of coping techniques is often all it takes to overcome something that you may feel haunts your life.
You have absolutely nothing to fear and when spider season comes you could be free of this fear without stress or anxiety, tear free and then there would be very little chance of your children picking up this fear.
Ed Francis, CLINICAL HYPNOTHERAPIST