How to Overcome a Fear of Snakes

If creepy crawlies make you shiver in fright, learn to conquer your fear of nature's most misunderstood creatures with these tips.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Use what you have learned about snakes to aid in conquering your phobia. Realize that snakes are not slimy, they're not evil, and they have no interest in biting you as long as you're not a threat.
  • Step 2: Find a qualified therapist that specializes in fears and phobias and who works with systematic desensitization or exposure therapy. Don't go on living in fear, and don't be afraid to ask for help.
  • FACT: Studies suggest that the fear of snakes stems from our earliest ancestors, who learned to fear these creatures as a means of survival.
  • Step 3: Focus on breathing to avoid anxiety and panic. But don't try to distract yourself from what is going on. This will only slow your progress.
  • TIP: Listen to motivating music before each exposure or ask a friend to help with emotional support.
  • Step 4: Do some research about snakes and learn all you can about these reptilian creatures -- often, phobias stem from a misunderstanding which leads to conjecture and myth.
  • Step 5: Expose yourself to snakes gradually. Try looking at pictures of snakes and then move on to videos. When you get comfortable, head to a zoo for a closer look. If you can get past that, you're ready to go to a pet store and actually touch a snake.
  • Step 6: Pinpoint the reason you're afraid of snakes. Some people are unnerved by the snake's flicking tongue, the way they move without arms or legs, or their scaly skin. Most people are afraid of being bitten and poisoned.

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