Overcoming the fear of falling may not be an easy task, but we’re here to explore how we can accomplish this anyway.

There are multitudes of people who are afraid of falling. Some fear falling down after tripping over an object, while others have a fear of falling from great heights. Regardless, the fear is real and can sometimes hinder a healthy life.

I have a fear of hurtling toward the ground, falling to my death, and sometimes I dream about this too. Yes, it’s horrifying, but it shouldn’t rule my life.

What causes the fear of falling?

There isn’t one cause of falling fears. There are many psychological and physical influences with this phobia. While one person may feel like avoiding extreme sports, like mountain climbing, another may just be afraid to take a simple walk for health reasons.

So, let’s explore what makes us so afraid, and let’s find a way to work on overcoming some of these causes of fear.

1. Fear of falling in infancy

At birth and until around the age of 9 months, infants fear mostly nothing. However, at the age of around 9, after using certain toys like baby go-carts and other similar toys, infants suddenly became aware of heights.

In an experiment conducted by scientists from the University of New York and Rutgers University, it was discovered that infants that couldn’t even crawl were reluctant to cross a glass covered ledge (perfectly safe). The infants were afraid but started to try and find other means of getting off the imaginary ledge. Studies also show different temperaments among infants.

This means, as humans, we are taught to fear from visual information out of the environment. Otherwise, it’s innate.

This may help:

The only real help you can give your child is education as they grow older. Yes, it’s important to teach about safety, but it is just as important to teach about bravery as well. It’s about good judgment, logic and safe environments.

2. Previously fallen

One of the simplest reasons for the fear of falling is the remembrance of a previous fall. If you’ve fallen quite a bit throughout life, you may have developed a fear of hurtling to the ground and falling into dangerous terrains, such as rocks or steep declines.

I have been acquainted with a few people who’ve twisted their ankle, and afterward, seem to have this mishap as a common occurrence. Hence they are always over-cautious. On the negative side, being overcautious can sometimes cause a fall, and so, it can work both ways.

This may help:

For those who’ve fallen in the past or fallen many times, courage is the only real way to release yourself from the fear and falling. Yes, it is possible that you will fall again, but it is also possible that you can run a marathon and never stumble once. Keeping active and keeping your muscles strong will help you develop a new history of less falls, and thus give you the confidence to fear not.

3. Awareness of elderly age

Our elders are wise and beautiful people, but unfortunately, their bodies have aged as their wisdom has grown. Many older adults acquire a fear of falling due to things they understand about osteoporosis or vision weakness, such as cataracts.

We all face some of these issues as we grow older, and it terrifies us of falling down. This fear, to the elderly, can mean easier breaks when falling down, such as with hip fractures. It also means slower recovery time as well.

This may help:

Make sure all checkups are up to date. This includes checking your vision and bone density. You must also commit to some sort of physical activity to keep your muscles strong, which help protect your bones. Research all the ways you can retain your health as long as possible and decrease your chances of falls.

4. Motion and space discomfort

Another reason we may have a fear of falling is due to motion and space discomfort, which is related to vertigo. However, motion and space discomfort can be attributed to anxiety that’s already present. Surroundings, such as large crowds moving around can cause panic and a feeling of unstable ground. Even a focused object can cause spacial discomfort.

This may help:

Although you can try to be strong on your own and overcome this discomfort, you may need professional help. I have anxiety and take certain medications to help me get through the day. Seeing a therapist can help you talk through the things you’re experiencing and recognize where they’re coming from.

5. Unable to control posture

If you’ve become brave enough to climb heights, then the fear of falling can develop at some point. While some of the climbs may be okay, if your posture becomes unstable, your fear may kick in. Once the posture does change, panic may make you unable to steady your footing, thus causing a sudden fear of heights and of falling.

This may help:

Partaking in activities while on solid ground can help you strengthen your muscles and also improve balance. This decreases the chances of imbalance and posture issues. When climbing to great heights, it may be easier for you.

6. PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder can also trigger a fear of falling. It’s not so much a fall from the past, as it’s the simple loss of control during your traumatic encounter.

The loss of control also takes control of your sense of safety, especially with things like crowds, strangers, and even the fear associated with falling. You can sometimes feel the lightness under your feet when you feel you’re beginning to lose control.

This may help:

If you think you may be suffering from PTSD, you should seek professional help right away. Not only can PTSD cause fear of heights, but can also cause many negative results. While some friends and family members may be able to help, therapy may be the best way to help process your past traumas.

7. Fear of heights

Obviously, the fear of heights causes fear of falling. I have a fear of heights and when I climb to high places, my entire body starts to tingle. I lose balance because my mind is telling me that I am going to fall. It seems my logic fails me completely.

This may help:

A fear of heights can be alleviated a bit by getting used to higher places. It is usually a slower process where you endure a bit of height a little at a time. As you experience a higher altitude and let reasoning take place, you realize you will not necessarily fall just because you are at a higher place. You can go higher each time you practice this.

8. Dreams of falling

If you dream of falling, sometimes it affects nothing at all. At other times, it can create a horrible fear of losing balance and falling to the earth. Of course, most people never really reach the earth before waking. While falling in a dream may seem harmless, it can create a fear of falling during waking life.

This may help:

Remember, it’s only a dream and no indication that you will fall in life. Althgouh it may be scary, it’s usually a symbol of something else altogether. The meaning of falling dreams is a topic for another post altogether, and you can read about it in this article.

Conquering the fear of falling

Yes, you can conquer your fear, and falling will not be something you’re afraid of, well for the most part. There are many things in my own life that I am afraid of, and I am trying to overcome them a little at a time, and this is how you have to start. Just take one step at a time, and before you know it, you will be doing things you’ve never dreamed.

References:

  1. https://www.livescience.com
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com

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