How To Face The Things You Fear (Part Two)

How To Face The Things You Fear (Part Two)

by Dr Emma Gray - 22nd October, 2014

The second part of this blog outlines a therapeutic strategy to help us to face the challenges that we avoid as a result of anxiety.

1. Identify your challenge and break it down into steps or sectors. For example fear of taking a work trip abroad might look like this:

– The night before

– The journey to the airport

– Negotiating Departures at the airport

– Boarding the plane

– Take off

– The Flight

– Landing

– Negotiating Arrivals at the airport

– Journey to hotel

Breaking a challenge down in this way makes it feel more manageable but also gives you the opportunity to experience small boosts to your confidence as each step/sector is completed. Confidence is pivotal when tackling fear/anxiety as it is the antidote to that part of the mind that underestimates your ability to cope.

2. Now for each sector identify the worst case scenario, making sure that you follow your thoughts all the way to the predicted catastrophe. For example for ‘The night before’ the worst case scenario might be that you have a panic attack, back out of the trip and lose your job.

3. When we become anxious our minds exchange possibility with probability. So, most things are possible but you need to ask yourself how likely they are. The next task is to give each identified worst case scenario an accurate probability rating making sure that you take in to account all past experiences not just the negative ones e.g. 0.1%. This exercise allows you to step back from your anxiety and accurate evaluate the risk you are considering talking.

4. Now identify a way of dealing with each worst case scenario, the idea being that if you know you can deal with the worst case scenario, every other scenario will be a walk in the park. This again will provide a boost for your confidence and an antidote for your anxiety.

5. Finally as you embark on your challenge make sure that you acknowledge your success as you complete each sector, pausing to congratulation yourself, after all, you are doing something that part of your mind believes puts you at significant risk.

To recap the previous part of this article, click below to navigate.

Dr Emma Gray

Dr Emma Gray

I am often the first person with whom my patients share significant and intimate thoughts and memories; I never take that privileged position for granted nor the opportunity to help someone to feel better about themselves and discover a more fulfilling life. One of my colleagues once described me as a natural psychologist; I guess she was alluding to the fact that I feel at ease being a therapist, I can empathise with people’s distress and discomfort but don’t feel overwhelmed by it, I can understand their problem and know how to help, it has always just felt like what I should be doing.

Read more about my approach to counselling here...

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