Psychology shows us how we can overcome any fear

Extinction. It’s a term you might attribute more to dinosaurs than overcoming your fears.

So what is it?

The phenomena where a response to a stimulus is eliminated by repeated exposure to the stimulus.

Extinction (psychology)

In other words, by exposing yourself to something, you can eliminate your response to it. There’s much more to it, but you get the gist.

So why is this important? The answer relates to fear. Fear is a common malady that we all face. Life is scary. Fortunately, we have this secret weapon – Extinction.

Overcoming Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia is the intense fear of spiders.

Amy was determined to overcome it. Little did she know it meant letting that hairy thing take a stroll right over her face. But neither would she have thought to be cured of her fear in 7 days. That’s the power of extinction. You face your fear without trying to escape it.

Stoicable Cartoon blog images 1 3

The good news?

Extinction works for almost anything, you name it: Public speaking, social phobia, OCD, fear of heights, phobias, fear of fear, fear of thoughts, PTSD. The list goes on.

Now, the results are unlikely to be as fast as Amy. But, with dedication, nothing can withstand the power of extinction.

Two steps to extinction

  • Expose yourself to what you fear.
  • Do not try to escape it.

When things get hard, remember that without fear, you can’t be brave. Finally, if you’re ever unsure what to do, ask yourself this:

What would I do If I weren’t afraid?

Spencer Johnson[1]
Published in Self Improvement, Learning, Productivity, Psychology, Science
Picture of Stoicable


Exploring the wisdom and lessons of Stoic philosophy

Get Your Guide To Stoicism

Explore Stoicism with our free foundational course sent to your email. Subscribe below for access.


Ready to begin your Stoic Journey?

Get access to
All of our Stoic

Copy link