How To Overcome Fear Of Heights While Hiking: 5 Simple Ways
The fear of heights can be a real problem for people who live in mountainous areas and want to go on a hike. Only the least ones manage to overcome this fear without any guidance or help from outside.
Therefore, in this article, we will show you five tips and tricks on how to overcome the fear of heights while hiking. Most of these tips can be done by yourself without any help from outside.
1. Familiarize with the Hiking Trail
Going to an unfamiliar place can cause you to feel anxious, especially if you are an inexperienced, newfound hiker. The last thing you want to pair with that anxiety is the fear of heights.
To help you be better prepared for the journey ahead, we suggest that you try to familiarize yourself with the hiking trail you are planning on visiting. If it’s a popular trail, the chances are high that you will find a ton of information online on what to expect. You might even find insightful articles or video blogs from other hikers that have already hiked that trail. Try YouTube, for example, and type in the name of your hiking trail.
Learning all about the challenges you could be facing on the trail, the approximate altitude you will be climbing to, and other interesting information can help you feel better prepared once you get to the trail. Once you know what to expect, you might not feel that much pressure or fear.
2. Don’t Rush Yourself to Do Anything You Are Afraid Of
Contrary to what some people might tell you, you don’t need to get over your fear of heights immediately. You might achieve the opposite effect and become even more scared of hiking trails with a greater slope if you do that. So, don’t rush yourself to do anything – take as much time as you need.
We want to suggest that you take things slowly and put in some practice. We recommend starting with hiking trails with little to no difference in elevation. As you begin to feel more comfortable with the idea of hiking and gain trust in yourself and your abilities, you can start exploring mountainous trails.
Another thing we would like to suggest is that you make sure you have the proper gear when going on a hike with greater slopes. Hiking boots with quality soles and a good grip are an absolute must because you do not want to slip while hiking. If you want to make it safe, you can also consider investing in things like hiking poles.
3. Think About What Triggers Your Fear
Have you noticed if something triggers your fear of heights when hiking, or if it’s a general fear you have even in everyday situations? If something triggers you, you should think about it and what you can do to overcome it.
For example, we know that a lot of people get scared when they start focusing on the height or how far they have gone. Think about movies in which people say “Don’t look down!” when they’re climbing a building or anything like that. If you start looking down, your eyes will be naturally drawn to the altitude, and you might get even more scared.
If this is something you know yourself as well, try not to focus on the altitude or to look down when you go on a hike again. If other things trigger you, try to think rationally about them and if there’s any need to fear them at all. Learning how to overcome or avoid your triggers will not happen overnight, but once you start thinking and talking about them, you will be able to make things better for yourself.
4. Get Help from Professionals
If you cannot overcome the fear of heights by yourself, try talking to a professional like a therapist or a coach. It doesn’t even need to be a professional – it could also be a hiker who has dealt with such fears in the past and has been able to overcome them. Those people can tell you all about the piece of the puzzle that helped them move past their fears, and those hints might be just what you need to overcome your own fears.
Talking to a professional who can help you manage your fears is also a good idea. They will be able to help you by providing guidance and advice, maybe even suggesting some exposure treatments. You will be able to talk about your fears in a safe environment and overcome them in that environment as well. We recommend combining this with a bit of practice on an actual hiking trail to get the best results.
5. Confront the Fear of Heights and Try to Overcome It
You have to realize that you are the one who has complete control over the things you feel and the things you don’t. Even if you seek help from someone else, you are the one who has to be open to overcoming the fear to be able to do that. As long as you are open to doing that, you will be able to work your way towards eliminating your fear of heights.
Don’t be afraid to confront your fear – this is something that is holding you back from experiencing the wonders of hiking. Hiking is such a fantastic activity, such a rewarding thing, that we don’t think you should allow your fears to hold you back. Try your best to confront your fear, say to its face that it needs to go away, and release yourself from it.
This will not always be an easy thing to do. It might take you time and a lot of convincing to get rid of it, but you have to start anywhere. And believe us, it will be worth it in the end!
People May Ask: Why Don’t You Just Hike in Flatlands?
Flatlands might not be what most people think of when talking about hiking, mainly because hiking is associated with climbing hills or mountains and reaching higher altitudes and even mountain peaks. Hikers often avoid flatlands when planning hikes for these reasons as well. It has been found that most hikers prefer to hike in mountainous areas rather than in flatlands.
But what happens with people who live in the flatlands who would need to travel for hours or days to get to a mountain hiking trail? Our best advice would be to use the flatlands as preparation for longer, more serious hikes. Use them to get in shape and once you do that, take a trip to a mountainous area where you can climb to a higher altitude.
Understandably, people who live in the flatlands will have a harder time overcoming their fear of heights. This is mainly because they do not get the chance to visit places with higher altitudes that often, and thus, they are not used to the altitude. Still, this does not mean that they will not be able to overcome their fears, just that they might need more time and practice.
On the other hand, some people live in mountainous areas. We cannot generalize and say that they would all have an easier time overcoming their fears, whether the fear of heights or other fears connected to hiking. However, we have to consider that they can visit mountain hiking trails more often and practice hiking on such trails more often.
Conclusion: How to Overcome the Fear of Heights While Hiking?
Now you got to know several tips and tricks which can help you overcome your fear of heights during a hike. Our suggestion is to try and overcome your fears of heights as soon as possible so that you do not have to exclude some of the most beautiful mountain hiking trails from your life.