Fear of heights is common, and facing your fears can put you on the fast track to being able to embrace a wide variety of new adventures and experiences. Plus, facing your fears is really the only way to “get over them.” The longer you avoid this exposure, the more crippling these fears can become. In severe situations, fear of heights can lead to people being unable to fly on airplanes, enjoy sweeping views, and even minimize their options for housing.
No amount of statistics usually helps someone with fears. For instance, knowing that the odds of a plane crash are much, much lower than that of a car crash often doesn’t get rid of someone’s fear of flying. Experience is what you need, and there are several fun and exciting ways to undertake a height-based experience to help you get over your worries:
- Hot air balloons. Going on a hot air balloon ride gives you a view like no other. It really helps that the baskets are small and sturdy. These rides can be customized to suit your needs. It’s a good idea to work with a company and pilot who understands the fear of heights, so always check with them beforehand. In some cases, your doctor may be able to prescribe a one-time medication to help ease your anxiety (because nobody needs a panic attack when they’re tackling their fears).
- Zip lining. Many people are surprised to learn that virtually any person of any age, height, or weight can go zip lining. Flying through the trees like Tarzan is a quick way to face your fears, and the good news is that it usually takes only seconds to go between platforms. Making sure the company you use has a stellar reputation can help decrease your fear of heights.
- Checking out an observatory. Whether it’s the top of the Empire State Building or the Eiffel Tower, as long as there are tall buildings or monuments, there will likely be an observation deck. In some cases, you may be able to climb to the top, which can help ease anxiety because it gives you more control. Some people with fear of heights prefer to check out observation decks that have certain kinds of security (such as wired fencing vs. glass).
- Skydiving. This is an extreme way to face your fears, but an effective one. Most first-time skydivers choose to go tandem for a number of reasons. This means you’re physically tied to an expert, so you don’t have to worry about “blanking out” when it comes time to open the parachute. Surprisingly, gliding down in a parachute is quiet and serene. It’s the perfect complement to the seconds of free falling, which go by lightning-fast.
- Parasailing. If you’ll be near water, parasailing is a fun way to face your fears without getting too high off the ground. The added security of knowing there is water below you instead of ground can also help. Parasailing gives you incredible views of the water, and seeing the world from a bird’s eye view is an excellent perk to getting over your fear of heights.
- Bungee jumping. Bungee jumping is the ultimate challenge for those with a fear of heights. Unlike skydiving, which is loud and cold when the plane door opens, bungee jumping doesn’t have the same element of urgency. You can often choose to have the attachment at your ankles or waist, which provides some sense of control. Some people prefer to bungee jump over water or a net for added security, while others go all-in on their first jump and choose a company that doesn’t offer that assurance.
No matter where or how you choose to face your fears, keep in mind that most people don’t “get over it” immediately. You’ll likely have to come face to face with your fears a few times before you notice them start to subside. However, repetitiveness breeds familiarity while vanquishing fear.
Not all fears are warranted, and if you think your fear of heights is hurting your lifestyle, it’s time to get help. Severe fears can be better treated by working with a mental health professional specializing in phobias, so if the thought of experiencing heights truly terrifies you, it might be time to reach out to a professional for help.