A new study conducted by researchers at University of California, Los Angeles reveals that the best way to conquer your fears is to describe and label them.
The researchers recruited around 88 people who were made to walk as far as they could towards a large hairy tarantula. They were then asked about their emotions and feelings as they walked towards the tarantula. The volunteers were recalled and were once again made to walk towards the tarantula a week later.
The researchers found that those who had described their fears were able to walk further towards the spider and experienced lesser stress symptoms, such as sweaty palms and faster heart rate, compared to those who did not say anything.
"This is unique because it differs from typical procedures in which the goal is to have people think differently about the experience—to change their emotional experience or change the way they think about it so that it doesn't make them anxious. Here, there was no attempt to change their experience, just to state what they were experiencing", lead researcher Michelle Craske said.