Itsy, Bitsy … Spider?! Cockroach!? Lizard? @$#@!!!

Written By

Annelise Piers

Fear no more.Annelise-04 Loading

This is my story, but it could well be yours. It came to light when I moved cities and came face-to-face with my first-ever lizard. You know that feeling when the blood drains from your face, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and you’re paralysed with fear. I can’t remember if I screamed that first time, but I know that my subsequent encounters with it and its community left my throat sore and my whole body trembling uncontrollably.

AND this, from someone who had known no fear: I’d climbed the outside of my building to the second floor with a professional guy from the municipality on a ladder (we’d been locked out of our flat so I needed to keep my dog calm while the man broke the balcony door down). The regular building tom-boy, I was the first one up a tree or lighting bombs at Diwali, so this response was very unsettling.

What was even more unnerving was how this fear began to dictate choices I made such as holding back peeing at night for fear of stepping over one of the tribe. Things got worse when I moved out into the country — I was now well and truly in reptile country and not rubbing shoulders with their concrete-jungle relatives.

Guess those prayers I cried out in moments of fear got answered when Rahul (my business partner) and I began to play doctor with our many Neuro Linguistic Programming tools, the Fast Phobia Cure being the one we ‘labed’ — the first one we experimented with. Now if you think I’m going to say that I was healed that very first time we ran the exercise, errrr…. I’m not, ‘cause that would be untrue. I did, however, begin to see these little guys differently … and that’s the operative word, isn’t it: in your head you find you’ve been making such big pictures that one notices every gross detail. With my first tweak, my brain began to see them as they really were and strangely they seemed to move much slower than those speedy Gonzalezs of my past.

In time, I began to step out more, share a bathroom, and wait for it … even admire them close up. And what’s more, the brain has a wonderful way of generalising, and in this case I found I was easy around most living things that didn’t look remotely like us.

So with my new-found freedom, I couldn’t help but evangelize to friend and foe, urging them to step out of their skins — in a good way! So from getting on an airplane, marrying your beau with the big dog, being able to drive yourself around town independently, or taking the lift to your new job on the upper floor, the world’s your oyster.

So here’s a quick change you can make and for once you’ll hear us say, “Please do try this at home”:

  1. Think of what you’re afraid of
  2. Notice what you’re seeing in your head – how big is the picture(s), how close, still or moving, coloured or black and white, clear or hazy … you get the picture …
  3. Now put a big, black frame around the picture, shrink it down to a small stamp size, and keep turning the picture from black to white and white to black as you blink your eyes several times, fast
  4. Now think about that thing that used to make you afraid and notice how you feel about it easily

This is just one of the fun ways to play with your neural pathways and create better responses to old triggers.

Now did anyone say “take a bungee jump?!”




Annelise Piers is a hippy yogi (minus the dreadlocks -- for the moment) who has immersed herself in the practice, researching and delivering content in an easy-to-apply design. Women's hormonal-balance coach, health blogger and yoga teacher, writing is her way of staying out of trouble. A corporate trainer/coach gone rogue, her newly-discovered purpose is to help women stop bouncing off the walls ‘those’ times of the month and trade in their broomsticks for magic wands.

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