As autumn turns the corner, wintry weather looms and climate changes threaten, an army is silently on the move.

It’s not the British Armed Forces though. I refer to the squadrons of creepy-crawlies, spiders, ants and beetles who hate the cold and rain – and march into our warm, dry homes.

We squirm and flinch. Some of us scream or leap on tables. Others panic or can’t sleep.

Gemma in Watford writes: “I’m petrified of spiders and wake up at night thinking about them. Can you help?"

If you’re anxious “thinking” of spiders, it’s not “spiders” you’re responding fearfully to, it’s your "thoughts about spiders". In a TV thriller, when there’s a man with a knife, why don’t you dial 999? Because it’s just on TV. You know the knifeman’s just an image. Likewise, the thought you’ve labelled “spider” is just an image. Understanding this deep down helps.

Hillingdon Times:

Hillingdon Times:

Other bugs bother Justin: "A moth flew into my mouth when I was young. Now I’m afraid to open my window, even on hot nights. Any suggestions?"

We have a survival instinct. Part of us decides if it needs to protect us from threats, but sometimes we make a wrong call. I once helped someone so scared of pigeons on pavements, my client would rather step into traffic. Pigeons seemed the greater threat. Consider it’s more important to stay cool at night than avoid “perceived threats” from moths, and you’ll stop worrying.

Getting back into the school-run routine after holidays stresses Leanne: "I struggle not getting angry with my kids as they refuse to hurry to school on time. What’s your advice?”

Who chooses whom you listen to? You, right? Who chooses who your kids listen to? They do. Your anger may be a response to the frustration of trying to control something that isn’t yours to control. There’s no law saying, "Children must listen to parents”. Considering this can help loosen the anger response.

Russell from St. Albans asks me: “We’re due to be going on a long drive soon and I’m dreading it. I get very anxious on motorways. Why?”

Perhaps you’ve had a bad experience on motorways, an accident or panic attack, maybe not being able to exit created some claustrophobic tendencies. Shift your focus from ‘why you feel this way’ to ‘how you can change’. People often focus too much on the “why”, but this doesn’t necessarily make them better. Instead, ask: "How can I establish better patterns moving forward?”

• Hertfordshire-based Howard Cooper is a leading ‘Rapid Change’ expert. To ask Howard for help with a problem you'd like his advice on in his column, email