A great way to challenge our fears and feelings of anxiety is to engage in exposure therapy, to slowly take steps to show ourselves that we can handle being in situations that make us anxious. However, exposure therapy is oftentimes a scary thing to participate in. Why? Because it’s hard to face our fears when they are the exact thing that cause feelings of unease.
To many of us, exposing ourselves to what makes us anxious may seem like a lose-lose situation. If we take steps to face certain fears, we may begin to feel overwhelmed. However, if we don’t, we risk suffering with anxiety for the rest of our lives in a way that is both debilitating and unhealthy. So what do we do? Here’s my advice:
Since exposure therapy is an excellent way for us to learn that we do have the ability to get through our anxiety, I think it’s extremely important that we take advantage of the opportunity. However, I fully understand how scary and daunting the process can seem. Exposure therapy takes us out of our comfort zone and forces us to deal with our anxiety. However, exposure therapy is not meant to be something you rush into. It is a process that is best done at your own speed as long as it is consistent.
An example of exposure therapy to overcome anxiety
A great example of exposure therapy is if you found it anxiety provoking to go places alone. You could start out going somewhere where you feel more comfortable and practice getting lost in something you enjoy (whether it be writing, reading, watching TV with headphones on as to not disturb others, or any other activity). You could ask someone you trust to pick you up at a certain time and just practice focusing on what you enjoy instead of your feelings of anxiety. This way, if you succeed in getting through your fears, you can show yourself that you can indeed face your anxiety head on and get through it.
Trying new things to overcome your anxiety can be scary. Just thinking about it can cause a level of anxiety that is overwhelming. However, as hard as it is to hear, we have to find ways to challenge our anxious thoughts and prove to ourselves that we are stronger than them.