Ants are a lot smaller than us but they’re normally not found alone. And, depending on the type of ant, when they bite or sting your reaction can range from just being irritated by the fact they’ve done it through to an allergic reaction which, in some cases can be dangerous.
Which means there’s a good survival instinct reason to be afraid of ants, even if the ones closest to you don’t do anything nasty.
Learn to stay calm
As you’re moving away from the ants – always assuming that’s possible – do your best to calm down.
Long, deep breaths in followed by equally long, deep breaths out are a good start. If you find it difficult to concentrate on your breathing while you’re in the grip of fear, play yourself a guided breathing audio to help the process. It will help you calm down which will reduce the fear you’re feeling.
Reprogram your mind
This is actually an easy technique but it’s best done away from any ants or other creepie crawlies. It works very well if you can remember a specific time and place that you suffered your fear – the most recent time or an earlier one.
Settle down in a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed.
Imagine yourself sitting comfortably in a cinema seat and the screen has paused at the time when you finished your ant encounter and had survived.
The projectionist now rewinds the film to a point in time just before the ants made their appearance. Imagine the film being played backwards.
Now imagine that happening again, but all the colour has been drained from the film and you’re left with a sepia or black and white movie that gets played again backwards but twice as fast. In your mind, play some circus music over the backwards film as well.
Repeat that process a few times and then imagine the projectionist handing you the reel of film and letting you destroy it.
If you need help doing this, there’s a guided version of the process here.
The whole session doesn’t take very long but it erases the short cuts your mind has been taking that have caused you to be afraid of ants, so the next time they cross your path it will be a lot less stressful.
Exposure therapy can work
This is best done with a friend or a professional.
The idea is that you confront your fear but under controlled circumstances. And then gradually increase the exposure.
Since you can’t herd up an ant colony, this is likely to be time based – maybe only a few seconds at first, gradually increasing the amount of time you can be close to ants without turning into a quivering wreck.
The friend or professional is there to help and reassure you.
Hypnosis does a really good job of helping us to overcome our fears.
First, you’ll be taken into a state of deep relaxation.
Then the hypnosis audio will give your subconscious various tips to help it deal with your fear in a way that’s less destructive to you.
Depending on how deeply relaxed you are (that varies from session to session, even if you’re listening to the same audio as previously) you may or may not consciously remember the words used. But that doesn’t matter because they’ll be remembered by your subconscious and the next time you bump into a colony of ants. you’ll be a lot more relaxed about the encounter.
You can download a hypnosis audio to overcome your fear of ants here.