This post “The 4th strategy for handling anxiety provoking thoughts” 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.
Strategy 4 is about behavioural experiments to test your feared assumptions. These experiments are real life exposures for stepwise challenging your fears out in the real life. As with most anxiety treatment within cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT, the focus is to reclaim life and stop avoid doing things you would like to be able to do even while experiencing anxiety.
Exposure therapy has for many decades been one of CBT’s most powerful and effective methods to help clients, who limits their life by avoiding objects, activities and situations they fear, to confront their fears. The foundational reasoning is that the normal human tendency/learning strategy of avoiding what is feared can reduce fear in the short run, but in the long run it often makes fear worse, restricts one’s life and also has a tendency to spread to more areas of life over time. More about how to use this strategy in next week’s post.
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