How I’m A Celebrity star Jordan North could overcome his fears after breaking down on the show

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Jordan North vomited at the mere thought of having to tackle his fear of heights on the opening episode of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here. While, he also had to enter his “happy place” while completing a Bushtucker Trial that involved snakes.

The Radio 1 DJ even prefers to take the eight flights of stairs than enter the lift at work, which was revealed by colleague Nick Grimshaw.

His former housemate and talkRADIO presenter Darryl Morris has added: “He's terrified of everything”.

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He’s not the only person who suffers with fears – around ten million people in the UK have a fear of something – but in many cases these are phobias that can be overcome. This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby declared she was afraid of flying.

Ironically, Holly’s phobia was brought on by filming a programme about people who were afraid of flying. Doing dips and rolls in a light aircraft gave her a fear of flights, and Holly was worried that she would pass on her fears to her three small children.

Determined to beat her phobia, she underwent counselling with psychotherapists Nik and Eva Speakman. The therapy helped Holly quash her fears and, to prove it, she even took a photo of herself smiling on the plane on the way to her summer holiday last month. She said: “I felt so much more relaxed, I could look out of the window without the ground coming towards me.”

Phobias are often triggered by an upsetting incident in our childhood. Singer Adele is now terrified of seagulls after a scary attack when she was just nine years old. “I was walking down the promenade in Tenby, eating a 99, when this huge f*****g seagull came down and swiped it off me,” she recalls. “I’ve still got a scar from its claw on my shoulder. I thought it was going to take me away with it. I’ve got a phobia of seagulls now.”

What causes a phobia?

There are four main reasons people develop phobias:

One or both parents have a phobia. They are genetic, and therefore you are more likely to develop one if your biological parents are phobic.

You had a bad experience as a young child such as being stung by a bee, or having a barking dog suddenly jump up at you.

Someone you looked up to as a child had a real fear of something and you ‘copied it’ without meaning to. This is not genetic, but learned behaviour.

Evolution. Common phobias are things like spiders, snakes and animals with big teeth, and it’s interesting to note that these things were dangerous to our ancestors for millions of years in our evolutionary history. X-Men star Jennifer Lawrence was scared of shooting scenes in the Hawaiian jungle for The Hunger Games because of her spider fear: “Everybody told me there were no spiders, so when I saw three, I started crying. Jungles are not easy when you’re afraid of everything.”

How to overcome phobias

Experts see phobias as a type of anxiety disorder and they can be treated in similar ways. We asked Dr Andres Fonseca, a consultant psychiatrist, for some tips…

Learn self-soothing techniques

Do you feel your heart pounding when you even think about your phobia? Practising techniques like deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can really give you the skills to manage the anxiety that comes with a phobia.

Create a 'ladder’

To do this you need to face your fear in manageable chunks and you define these steps in your ‘ladder’. You start off thinking of the thing you fear most, then you move on to looking at a picture, and the end goal is to end up touching the thing you are scared of.

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Challenge thoughts

Many people with a phobia get automatic negative thoughts the minute they see or even think of the thing they fear. The thoughts are always worst-case scenarios and the person with the phobia accepts them as the truth. Imagine you have a fear of spiders. The first thing that pops into your head when you think of a spider is, it will jump on me and bite me – it might even kill me! The trick is to catch and challenge the thoughts. Think instead, really? It is probably more scared of you than you are of it. You know it is totally harmless.

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