Facing Our Fears

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Almost everyone at one point in their life has had irrational fear-of spiders, for example, or high places. However, for most people, these fears are minor and don't necessarily effect their lives in such a drastic way.

For some, these fears, known as phobias, grow over time and eventually become so severe that they interfere in people's everyday lives. The good news is these phobias, with proper therapy and self-help strategies can eventually be overcome.

Many phobias tend to begin in childhood, often due to a traumatic experience, and continue to grow into adult life. Many symptoms can manifest in those suffering from phobias. For instance, some physical signs include difficulty breathing, and sweating. Whereas, some emotional signs include overwhelming anxiety, and an intense need to escape the situation.

Synonym Match:

Match the words from column 1 with the corresponding synonym in column 2.

Column 1 Column 2
1.) irrational a.) overemphasize
2.) phobia b.) worry
3.) severe c.) disturbing
4.) traumatic d.) irrational fear
5.) symptoms e.) serious
6.) manifest f.) unreasonable
7.) overwhelming g.) indicator
8.) anxiety h.) reveal
9.) cope i.) immense
10.) over exaggerate j.) manage


  • 1.) Do you suffer from any fears or phobias?
  • 2.) What are some fears or phobias you have overcome?
  • 3.) Have you ever experienced a traumatic experience in the past? How has it affected you today? For example, a fear of drowning, due to a near death experience as a child.
  • 1.) How do you cope when you find yourself placed in stressful situations?
  • 2.) Is there anything about your job or school that you find creates anxiety? For example, public speaking or working in groups.
  • 3.) Who do you turn to when you are faced with a difficult problem or situation?
  • 1.) Many Korean women have a very strong fear of pigeons and big dogs. Are their any logical reasons to the origins of these fears in women?
  • 2.) What are some ways men in your culture try to exhibit masculine or macho traits?
  • 3.) How has pop culture or the news affected how you live your daily life? For example, the media might over exaggerate and spread fear of a new flu or virus which causes panic in society(MERS, Ebola, etc...).


  • irrational: Not logical or reasonable. "He was acting irrational because his girlfriend just broke up with him."
  • phobia: An anxiety disorder where you have an irrational fear towards something. "His phobia of dogs lead him to avoid the park altogether."
  • severe: Very strict or harsh. "He was suffering from a severe cough over the weekend."
  • symptoms: A physical or mental feature that indicates a condition or disease. "Dental problems may be symptoms of another illness."
  • manifest: To display or show a feeling by the way someone is acting. "She manifested signs of depression."
  • overwhelming: A very large amount or a very strong emotion. "The amount of energy in the room was overwhelming."
  • traumatic: Emotionally disturbing or distressing. "He grew up in a very traumatic environment."
  • exhibit: To deliberately display a quality or behavior. "Your dog constantly exhibits fear of abandonment."
  • over exaggerate: To overstate the truth. "He always over exaggerates how pretty his girlfriend is."
  • anxiety: A feeling of worry, or unease, typically about an upcoming event or something with an uncertain outcome. "The workers are faced with a lot of anxiety, since the new CEO mentioned lay-offs in the near future."
  • cope: To deal effectively with something difficult. "He would be suitable for the job. He has proven his ability to cope with difficult situations in the past."

Daily Expressions & Idioms:

1.) get ahead: Means to make progress in your career or life.

"I can't go out for drinks tonight. I need to get ahead in my math class."

2.) get along: Means when two people or groups are friendly with each other.

"Everyone in our neighborhood gets along really well."