It’s April 1st, which means we spend the entire day wondering if anything that anybody says to us is actually true or not…..
Now I don’t know about you, but I find April Fools jokes a little… boring. I think as a child, it could obviously sometimes be funny. ‘Look, there’s a monster behind you.. APRIL FOOLS!!’. But we venture into adulthood, it somehow loses its silliness.
In recent years, that has been a rise of people on the internet, particularly on social media, using April 1st as the day to play a silly or sick joke on people. Only last night. I saw posts on Facebook from Baby Loss Awareness groups asking people to please not announce a fake pregnancy and pass it off as an April Fool’s joke..
And I have to admit, there does seem to be more and more of that kind of thing, working its way across the internet.
Another popular phenomenon is to announce the death of a celebrity. Oh so and so died, in the most horrific accident, the news goes viral, and by the end of the day you discover that it wasn’t even true to begin with.
Which got me thinking about Anxiety, Fears and Phobias and how what to you may be an April Fools joke may to some actually trigger a phobia.
Look there’s a spider!!! Oh, haha, April Fools – to someone with an actual spider phobia this can scare them senseless. So, aside from getting up on my soapbox and asking people to be a little more thoughtful this April Fools Day, I also want to give a quick tip for anyone who may find today really stressful because of their fear or phobia.
Be open about how you feel.
The first thing that I would say is be open about how you feel. Tell those close to you and write a status on Facebook. Be vocal about it. Get on YOUR soapbox, and tell people exactly WHY silly April Fools jokes can actually be quite serious for people with a certain issue, fear or phobia. People can only understand if it is made clear to them, as some people don’t intend to cause upset, they genuinely want to be funny.
Make a choice to tackle this.
When you choose to tackle the day head on and not allow others to control you you instantly put yourself in the driver’s seat. Make a choice this year to tackle April Fools with gusto.
Decide that you are not going to go on social media for the day if that is where the phobia is triggered for you. Again, like in step one, be open with people about your choice in doing this. Let them know that you won’t be available.
Next, arm yourself with a plan of action as to what you will do if you find yourself confronted with your phobia. Have a mind tool ready in your mental tool kit, so that you can shut down a phobia response in as little as just a few minutes.
A great one is to use the control panel technique that I have previously given you – that’s the one where you close your eyes and imagine yourself in a control room where there is a large dial on the wall ahead of you. You see the numbers 1-10 and imagine, that one of those numbers is the level that your fear is currently set at. Walk over to it and turn it down to a place where you feel more comfortable.
Practise this often and you will soon get really good at it. Knowing that you have a tool like this to carry around with you instantly takes away some of your fear because a lot of the time we are panicking about panicking.
Have fun this April fools day by all means, I am not trying to be the one who spoils it. BUT please do think on about how people with fears, phobias and losses may feel about seeing people turning what for them could be horrible into something that you think should be laughed at.
Until the next time,