How to overcome your fear of heights while hiking

By Stef Zisovska
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How to overcome your fear of heights while hiking

Stef Zisovska
 
 
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Hiking and conquering high peaks is among the most exciting of outdoor activities and one that many people enjoy in their free time. But there is one serious issue that happens to a lot of people that love hiking, and that’s suffering from a fear of heights. Imagine yourself walking in a beautiful natural environment, leaving the everyday world miles behind and then getting struck by fear when you’re just about to reach the highest point of the trail.

Luckily, there is a solution for the problem, so instead of remaining scared and letting the fear stop you from doing what you love, start acting differently and beat the fear by following these simple steps.

Be prepared for the challenge

Fear of heights
Fear of heights

Climbing in unknown and dangerous terrain alone is risky enough by itself, so the last thing you need to add to the situation is fear and being unprepared. First of all, make sure that you are physically prepared for the task and don’t force yourself to climb a mountain that’s too difficult for you. Prior to your hike, have a good rest, eat well, and try to relax your mind. If you think negatively, that’s what you’ll attract.

Also, be prepared gear-wise, and make sure you have everything you need for any weather condition. Maybe the forecast says it’s going to be sunny, but you never know. Pay attention to waterproof gear, sunglasses, a wool hat that covers your ears, wear layers, and comfy shoes. Bringing enough food and water is a must! When you prepare well, you will feel more secure about yourself and the hike.

Build your confidence step by step

Things don’t change overnight. Be patient with yourself and understand that getting passed any kind of fear can take time. Start with short hikes that you’re familiar with and go with someone you trust. It’s important to know that you can reach the end of the trail and its highest point, and know that nothing bad will happen to you. As with any other thing in life, hiking requires practice. You need to practice first on lower-altitude trails with smaller challenges and then go for the higher ones.

Don’t judge yourself. Learn to to take things step by step. When you overcome the fear of climbing smaller mountains then you can go to the next level and conquer higher peaks without a problem.

Practice focusing techniques and see what works for you

Focus
Focus

Some people that have problems with heights prefer to move all the time, without stopping, while others like to observe the terrain for a moment and plan the next steps. What helps a lot in these situations is to meditate for a minute, breathe deeply and focus on the terrain in front of you. See it all from above and understand that it’s totally possible. Visualize yourself crossing the difficult part of the trail. Make sure you don’t stop for too long because you will get overwhelmed by fear again and just linger there not able to move forward.

Don’t eliminate fear, but learn how to control it

A little bit of fear is always needed to protect us from dangerous situations. The key is to keep it under control and don’t let it get behind the wheel. It’s all about being comfortable inside your fear, not banishing it entirely. Focus all your energy on dealing with your fear and don’t let it rule your thoughts. Learn to accept it as a positive thing, but don’t let it block you. Remember that being scared isn’t the problem, the problem only arises when that fear prevents you from doing what you love. Be brave and good luck!

A little bit of fear is always needed to protect us from dangerous situations
A little bit of fear is always needed to protect us from dangerous situations

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