Exposure: Using a Basic Safety Principle to Kill Fear

What are you most scared of in life? For some it’s public speaking. For others it’s heights, enclosed spaces, college exams, meeting new people, public embarrassment, or even dogs.

EHS professionals know repeated exposure to hazards creates, in many cases, a lack of fear. For example, when I was stationed in Afghanistan, I noticed when newcomers to the base heard the alarm for incoming hostile fire, they would immediately duck and cover. A month later, the same people would not even pause their meal at the dining facility when the alarm sounded. Safe or not, they’d learned to kill the fear.

Most of our fears do not have the inherent danger of incoming rockets. Public speaking and college exams are survived thousands of times a day.

If you struggle with fear, remember that exposure will kill it.

“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.” – C. JoyBell C.


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