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10 Most Common British Phobias

We all have our fears. Some big, some small, some based on past experiences, others on the fear of what may or may not happen. It is this last group, specifically phobias, that is often the most intri

We all have our fears. Some big, some small, some based on past experiences, others on the fear of what may or may not happen. It is this last group, specifically phobias, that is often the most intriguing. These are fears that we know to be irrational. We can develop a phobia of almost anything, and the degree to which it affects us can shift over time. Mastering a phobia is a mental exercise because there's usually little chance of your worst-case-scenario fears ever being realised. Many of us are afraid of heights but how likely is it that we’ll be perched on an unstable ledge of a cliff only moments away from the fall? Some of us fear spiders, but we know the chances of encountering a truly deadly, venomous arachnid are usually minimal. Maybe because of their irrationality and almost inexplicable nature phobias fascinate us, and there are big bucks to be made in treatments, therapies and exploratory journeys through these fears.

In light of this, the British research group YouGov undertook a study to look at the top phobias affecting Britons. The results do reveal the fears that most commonly spring to mind when you think of a phobia, but they also demonstrate the extent to which phobias permeate society universally, not merely British society exclusively. Participants in the study were asked to rank the extent to which they fear something, by the quintessentially British units of measurement; not at all versus “a little” or “very” afraid. From clowns to crowds, we’ve got everything covered here, so to see how you compare with your fellow Britons (if you're from the Kingdom) or how you'd fit in with the Brits, have a look at these 10 common British phobias.

10 Clowns: 8%

9 Blood: 11%

8 The Dark: 12%

7 Needles: 16%

6 Mice: 16%

5 Crowds: 17%

4 Spiders: 24%

3 Enclosed Spaces: 29%

2 Heights: 35%

1 Public Speaking: 36%

Our number one fear on the list, public speaking seems to provoke some serious panic among the Brits. The famed stiff upper lip is clearly not compatible with speaking to large audiences as 36% of people in the UK consider themselves “a little afraid,” and another 20% define themselves as being “very afraid” of public speaking. The fear can actually be somewhat irrational, as - in spite of the fact that an increasing number of careers require some form of presentations skills that go beyond the Powerpoint screen - public speaking is not something most people are usually compelled to engage with. All the same, the fear of being caught short in front of a crowd appears to have captivated the UK, with more than half of Britons suffering a degree of terror when prompted to make a speech.

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10 Most Common British Phobias