This post continues on what to do during the worry hour, more specifically what to do after identifying which of your worry-themes are productive and/or unproductive, se definitions introduced in earlier posts. After identifying and analysing your unproductive/unhelpful thoughts/themes according to earlier posts, you can choose among several strategies. Here comes exposure, a favourite within traditional CBT. Note, you only should try this after learning how to calm yourself and if uncertain or feeling fragile together with a licensed therapist:
Make an imaginal exposure by really entering into the worst possible scenario. Make sure you before doing this have learnt the techniques for calming yourself when experiencing anxiety/stress posted earlier.
If you for example have a fear of flying due to fear of being in a plane crash, it is a rather unproductive worry since you have no control of the plane and it is highly unlikely. Statistically, it is more likely to be in a car accident than in a plane crash.
Visualise the worst possible scenario, imagine in details how it feels to be in the situation: what you and others around you would think, feel, say and do, and keep asking yourself what is the worst with experiencing this while visualizing, breathing calmly and being relaxed. Continue until you have visualized all of your imagined worst-case scenarios as they come to mind.
You will likely experience and hence realize that the worst case, even if hypothetically terrible (it will not likely happen), did not create the kind of reactions you feared, but instead that the anxiety or fear loosened its grip of you. Recall that if your level of discomfort is 8 or higher, revert to the stress management techniques posted earlier. Remember, if you feel fragile, it is better that you do these kinds of exercises together with a licensed therapist. Always ask beforehand what methods they use since it can vary a lot.
More strategies about what to do with unhelpful/unproductive thoughts as well as about exposure in later posts.
#worryhour #unproductivethoughts #CBT #anxietyreductiontechniques #imaginalexposure