Anxiety & Mood

How to challenge anxiety by making an exposure hierarchy (1 minute read)

This post “How to challenge anxiety by making an exposure hierarchy” continues with what to do with anxiety provoking, unproductive thoughts. Unproductive topics are those that you have very little control over or which are very unlikely. You can choose among several strategies.

This post continues with Strategy 4 which is about behavioural experiments to test your feared assumptions.

This strategy starts with constructing a personal exposure hierarchy. This is a scale of successive more challenging activities, in which feared objects, activities or situations are ranked according to one’s subjective view based on the level of discomfort or fear they are considered to produce.

For example, if you fear spiders, a hierarchy could be: medium strong fear of seeing a spider in a picture, slightly more uncomfortable when holding a plastic spider in the hand, extreme fear of holding a real spider in the hand.

Then one begins with conducting the activities several times and places that are considered to be mildly or moderately difficult. After successfully completing the activities one moves on to the more challenging ones.

More about how to use this strategy in next week’s post.  

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