How to overcome a fear of the dark

It is not uncommon for children, and even adults to be afraid of the dark. Being uncomfortable as the light fades and nighttime approaches may hark back to bygone days, when daylight was necessary for human safety. When the blackness of night fell people were more vulnerable, and this is what fear of the dark is all about: a sense of vulnerability.

Darkness is not something people have control of when it occurs naturally. Individuals can, of course, switch on an electric light to stave off the dark when indoors, or carry a torch when outside. However, the velvet blackness associated with the night can be all encompassing to someone who fears not being able to see what is around them adequately, and imagines all variety of negative issues surrounding them.

Although fear of the dark is not unusual or unnatural, it is not necessary for safety reasons to be able to see all of the time, therefore a fear of the dark is often seen as being illogical. When an individual is safely tucked up in bed, danger is realistically, generally, unlikely to befall them. Therefore continuing to suffer from darkness related anxiety is unnecessary, and it is sensible to look at ways of alleviating it.

Several different approaches may be taken in order to be rid of a fear of the dark. Children tend to fare best if they are exposed to less and less light over a period of time when they go to bed. A dimmer switch or night light can suffice in such a case until a child gradually gets used to being in a darkened room, and recognizes that it is safe.

Both adults and children will find that it helps if they avoid over-stimulating activity before bed. This way their mind and body can relax and become calm, preparing them to be less anxious when it is time to switch out the light and go to sleep. It is never a good idea to watch horror films or read grisly stories before attempting to reach for shuteye. The same goes for playing violent or aggressive computer games, which can heighten a person’s stress response and make them more alert, just when they need to relax.

Just as children who fear the dark can benefit from positive reassurance, which is not over the top, adults can too. Adults however, are less likely to have a caregiver present to serve up some reassuring words as it gets dark. They can though, achieve similar relaxing and confidence boosting results by learning positive guided imagery and meditation to use when they feel anxious.

Neuro Linguistic Programming may also be an option for sufferers who find they are terrified of being alone in the dark. NLP can work for them by helping them associate the darkness of night with positive, happy feelings and experiences, so that when it gets dark they feel calm and pleasantly relaxed.

#Positive affirmations are another method of self-help for people who do not like the dark. Repeating positive phrases that increase self-esteem and decrease anxiety can help alleviate the stress associated with darkness related phobias and worries. One of the worst challenges individuals usually face when trying to get rid of fear is their own imagination. Staying in control of thoughts is just one way of keeping on top of unnecessary fear.

People can overcome a fear of the dark by exploring self-help methods and applying the ones that fit in with their personal values and needs. Individuals who suffer from extreme terror may find professional help from a neuro linguistic programmer is the answer to their problem.

About bridget

bridget webber

Bridget Webber’s background rests in mental health, counselling, hypnotherapy, NLP and art. She brings knowledge from her experiences into her writing and specializes in emotional wellness and the creation of, rather than search for, joy. You can catch up with her insights and musings on Twitter.

Twitter: @InsightManager

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