Can you trick your brain into thinking you're not scared?
This is something I have always wondered because, you see, I am terrified of heights.
It's an issue I've always dealt with and it has stopped me from experiencing things which would have been genuinely fun.
For example, in year four, we went abseiling - I say 'we', but truthfully, my class did and I sat and watched. Why did I sit and watch? Perhaps because the idea of the rope breaking and me falling down a cliff didn't seem all too fun.
Seeing the smiles on their faces however, I knew that I was missing out on a great experience and it was this fear of heights that stopped me from having a good time.
I'm now 22 years old and you guessed it... still absolutely terrified of heights.
However, I don't want this crippling fear to stop me from doing things that seem fun anymore.
So, I had a thought - If I were to convince myself that I'm not scared, perhaps I can stop this fear?
I know it sounds far fetched, but the brain is an amazing thing. So, it was with a brave face, a dose of determination and a slight smidgen of trepidation that I decided to put this idea to the test.
How was I going to test this? Well, of course I was going to put myself on one of the highest and scariest rides in Australia - The "Sling Shot" in the Gold Coast.
If you're not familiar, the "Sling Shot" is a ride in Surfers Paradise that sees two people strapped into a seat being launched 90 metres into the air, just like a sling shot, according to their website.
So, with my brave girlfriend by my side, we bought our tickets and took our seat.
As the harness was lowered onto my chest housing an incredibly fast-beating heart, my chance to escape was gone.
"I'm not scared," is what I thought as I looked into the sky, knowing within the next minute, that is where I was going to be.
As the contraption we were harnessed in was lowered toward the earth, I felt like a cannonball being loaded into a... well, a cannon?
I continued to desperately delude myself by claiming I wasn't scared, but to be honest, I was absolutely terrified.
With my mind full of noise, the sound of the music blasting in my ears, the countdown began.
"I'm not scared, I'm not scared," I naively thought to myself in an attempt to convince my brain that I wasn't scared.
Three, two, one...
Absolute, genuine distress.
As I was flying through the air like a scared Spider-Man, I couldn't help but feel as if my attempt to convince my brain that I was not scared had somewhat worked.
That's not to say that I wasn't scared, because at first I was.
But as the ride slowed down and I began to bounce up and down, my repetitive "I'm not scared" seemed to have had some effect.
So, when looking back at the initial question of "Does convincing yourself you're not scared work?" Kind of?
I believe had I not said I wasn't scared, I may not have ever got on the ride to begin with.
So next time you feel scared or you're afraid you're going to miss out on something fun because you're a bit worried, swallow your pride and give it a go... you may just like it.
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