Creating a MAP - Part 2
Sessions 4-6: Behavioral Tools Part 1, Including Physiological/Feeling Tools
These tools are designed to teach you how to increase a sense of calm and relaxation in your body, and to reduce or eliminate unwanted physiological arousal or anxiety. In addition, you will learn how to make an anxiety hierarchy, also called a fear ladder, that you will later “climb” as part of the exposure portion of your personal MAP.
To help further your understanding about how anxiety presents in the body, and to learn how to decrease unwanted physical signs of anxiety by applying various relaxation tools. If you choose a specific relaxation tool you like, you do not need to learn other relaxation tools. Stick with what you pick! The second objective is to develop a fear ladder, which will serve as an important item on your road map as you learn a variety of skills using this program.
Topic: Learning to relax
Instructions: Take some time to try out some relaxation exercises that can help you “dial down” the physical symptoms of anxiety. Learning to relax is a skill. The more you practice it, the more effective it becomes. For the next week, set aside some time every day to practice at least one relaxation exercise.
Topic: Relaxation (continued), and starting to build My Fear Ladder
Instructions: For the next week or so, continue to set aside time every day to practice at least one relaxation exercise. Like strengthening a muscle or learning to play a musical piece, practicing in small but frequent batches, and doing this consistently over time, will ensure the skill becomes automatic. Once it’s automatic you'll be able to apply it under any situation, including when your anxiety peaks and you want a skill to help you ride out your anxiety. In the Facing My Fears: Exposure section, learn about a key strategy for overcoming fears and work on Step 1 – making lists of situations, places or objects that you fear. Use the My Fear Ladder worksheet to make your lists by filling in just the “situations” column. Use a separate worksheet for making lists of fears related to different themes (e.g., social, dogs, etc.).
- Calm Breathing (Review and practice)
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation (Review and practice)
- Facing my Fears: Exposure (Step 1 only)
- My Fear Ladder (write your items in the “situation” column only)
Topic: Finish building My Fear Ladder
Instructions: Now that you have some lists of feared situations, places, or objects, it’s time to start building a fear ladder, which will help you tackle your anxiety by facing your fears head on. Focus on Step 2 in the Facing My Fears: Exposure section below. Use the My Fear Ladder and Fear Thermometer worksheets to finishing building your fear ladder(s) by filling in the remaining columns. You will return to the final steps in facing your fears in later sessions.
- Facing my Fears: Exposure (Complete step 1 and do step 2)