A person standing on a mountain peak overlooking a valley with a lake in the distance. Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

Do you get nervous around heights?

I know what it's like! For many years, I used to avoid heights like the plague because of a scary experience I had in my childhood.

When I was a child, I experienced a traumatic event that has stayed with me into adulthood: I fell from a balcony, suffering multiple injuries.

This incident left me with a deep fear of heights, particularly when it comes to looking down from tall buildings. The fear is so intense that even glancing out of high windows can be overwhelming.

Over time, I discovered effective strategies that gradually diminished my fear of heights, enabling me to joyfully and enthusiastically embrace elevated places.

Now, I confidently explore high locations, savoring every moment and experience, free from the fear that once held me back due to childhood experiences.

A person slowly walking up to a balcony and peering over the edge.

If this story resonates with you, you can overcome your fear of heights by following my example!


How common is acrophobia?

Acrophobia, which is a common phobia, is estimated to affect approximately 3% to 6% of the population.

To cope with it and even overcome it, you have to face the fear because:

  • Avoidance can reinforce the fear, making it stronger over time.

  • Facing the fear can lead to a sense of empowerment and increased self-confidence.

  • Exposure allows you to learn new and healthier ways of coping with the fear.

Tips to overcome fear

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My dream was to go hiking in the mountains with my friends, but the childhood incident left me with a fear of heights that made it difficult to even look out of tall building windows. Despite this, I was determined to fulfill my dream. 

A lightbulb on a wooden background. The text reads Image courtesy of Dreamstime

Overcoming fear takes time and effort. But it's definitely doable. Below are some tips I used, and I hope they'll be helpful for you as well.

Tip #1: Acknowledge your fear

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It's true! 

Many people, including myself, experience anxiety at the mere thought of going to high places.

However, by acknowledging the fear and accepting that it is valid, you can start taking steps to overcome it. So, the next time you feel scared, don't pretend it doesn't exist. Instead, accept it, acknowledge it, and work towards overcoming it. 

Remember, it's okay to feel scared, but it's not okay to let that fear control you.


Why is acknowledging your fear necessary to overcome it? Select all that apply:

Tip #2: Gradual exposure to the fear

Gradual exposure is the most effective method.

Start low — start with a walk to the bottom of a hill and build yourself up to walk higher and higher. Alternatively, you could do this with a multi-story building, gradually moving up a level!

This method takes time, but eventually, you'll be at the top of the hill and able to do something you never thought you'd be able to.

Your Ultimate Interoceptive Exposure Therapy Guide

Benefits of gradual exposure to fear:

  • Helps increase confidence

  • Reduces anxiety over time

  • Helps to desensitize you to your fear

  • Enables you to gain a sense of control over your emotions

  • Improves your overall quality of life by overcoming barriers and fears

If you feel like you can't manage gradual exposure on your own, you can consult a specialized therapist for assistance.


You need to dive off a 10-meter diving board to pass a swimming exam. How can you practice gradual exposure to overcome your fear?" Select all that apply:

Tip #3: Find a supportive person

Lots of people feel shy or uncomfortable about telling their fears to others. But having someone who understands and supports you can make all the difference when facing fear.

People climb a snowy mountain while supporting each other. Photo by Jackman Chiu on Unsplash

How does a supportive person help?

  • Encourages and motivates you

  • Provides empathy and understanding

  • Offers a different perspective

  • Provides practical support to find resources

Tip #4: Celebrate small victories

Overcoming fear is a journey, but celebrating small victories along the way is crucial to staying motivated and positive.

A person throws up their hands in victory at the top of a mountain.

I find that these celebrations give me the push I need to try something even bigger, like climbing to a higher floor or reaching new heights.

Remember that every step forward, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.

Take Action

You can do it!

It's quite normal to feel scared of heights, but with some determination and effort, you too can manage and conquer your fear, just as I did.

Conquering your fear will enable you to live and relish life more comprehensively, and you'll be thrilled about it! A group of climbers hiking along a ridge with hiking poles.

Prepare for your next adventure:


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