by Melanie Rossouw

“There is no illusion greater than fear.” -Lao Tzu

Ever wondered what it is about needles that give people the heebie-jeebies? We know that the fear of needles is real, so we’ve unpacked some myths and tips to help you – and especially that loved one you’ve been begging to donate blood with you for years – to finally lay those debilitating fears to rest.

According to, needle phobias can have their roots in childhood, stemming from often inaccurate memories of painful injections, and they can go hand-in-hand with a fear of the dentist, where these needles may have been administered. It also states that childhood fears can also be exacerbated by relatives or others close to the child who have phobias of their own, which rub off on the vulnerable young person and stay with them for years to come, creating a continuous circle of fear.

Furthermore, it also indicates that a fear of needles may also be attributable to evolution. For thousands of years, until fairly recently, having the skin pricked by a sharp object was highly likely to result in injury, infection or even death, meaning individuals who instinctively avoided such objects would be less likely to die. Now there’s something to ponder and it does make these fears not seem as irrational as one would believe. But as W. Clement Stone so wisely stated:

“Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.”

So without further ado, we present a few practical tips for overcoming a fear of needles:

  1. Identify the root. Reassess where the root of your fear came from and purposefully aim to overcome it. If you confidently make the decision today that this fear ends with you, it will.
  2. Give yourself a pep talk. While talking to yourself may be frowned upon in society, we give you full permission to give yourself a hearty pep talk. And what works wonders, we’ve found, is bringing your own rent-a-crowd or cheerleading squad of buddies to the blood donation party who will cheer you on as you go through the process – an added bonus is if all of you donate together. And if pep talking is not your thing, prayer and meditation has been found to be equally effective.
  3. Get our nurses or team members involved. When you go to your blood donation clinic, tell our team in advance about your fear. When the time comes, our nurses and team members may take a little extra time to make you feel more at ease and talk you through the process.
  4. A last important tip is to stop taking ownership of the fear by calling it “my” fear of needles, and instead call it “the little fear that couldn’t.” There is tremendous power in your words and any agreement you make with an emotion, so break off any agreement you made with having a fear of needles and watch it dissolve into the illusion it really is.