Anxiety: More About Exposure
Here comes more details about how to make an exposure to overcome fears and avoidance behaviors. On Saturday, about the feeling fear, I will post important dimensions to consider before and after making an exposure.
Remember: if you feel fragile or concerned, then these kinds of exercises are best done together with a licensed and experienced CBT-therapist.
To make an exposure – example fear of flying:
Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. Imagine being in a plane. Look around you to make sure you fill the scenery with details.
Then imagine how it would feel to, for example, crash or be ill. Start with what would be the first signs of something is going wrong: Is it turbulence, a thunderstorm, terrorists or are you fearing having a panic attack or going mad in some way?
Imagine in details how it feels to be in the situation: what you and others around you would think, feel, say and do while you breath calmly and relax your body.
Then, as you see this worst scenario in front of you, think about what is the worst with this happening and imagine this visually happening by seeing it in front of you and then ask yourself again what will be the worst with that, for example maybe you will die, what wold that look like and what would be the worst about that: you will miss your family – and what would be the worst about that… Continue until the end of that thought line and until you have visualized all of your imagined worst-case scenarios.
Recall, if your level of discomfort is 8 or higher, revert to the stress management techniques posted earlier, see under stress at www.jennyrapp.com.
You will likely realize that the worst case, even if hypothetically terrible, did not happen – you are still alive and did not experience the kind and intensity of reactions you feared. For anxiety and fear to diminish this has to be repeated several times during the week.
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