Facing Fears Tools
The first three tools are best if your anxiety is stopping you from doing things that are important to you, or that you wish you could do (such as being able to go out alone with the baby).
Tool 4 is best when you are putting in a lot of effort trying to feel less anxious. Tool 5 will be beneficial if you find yourself worrying a lot.
Each section for these tools contains a few different exercises you might want to do to reduce your anxiety:
- Tool 1: Real-Life Exposures (gradually facing things that scare you in real life)
- Tool 2: Mental Exposures (gradually facing things that scare you in your head such as traumatic memories and frightening images)
- Tool 3: Anxiety Experiments (“shaking things up” and trying out new responses to anxiety)
- Tool 4: Resisting the Quick Fix This tool is best if you might be doing things that are temporarily helpful but actually keep your anxiety going (such as checking repeatedly to make sure everything is all right).
- Tool 5: Managing Worries This tool offers strategies to help if you think you worry too much.
Tips for trying them out:
- Just try out one exercise at a time; you don’t have to do them all!
- Pick the one that seems to be calling out to you and the difficulties you’ve been having.
- Focus on just one exercise for at least a week, and see what happens, before going on to another.
At first you will probably feel anxious when you try using these tools. That is a sign that you are on the right track! But the more times you do it and let the discomfort rise and fall, the less anxious you’ll feel in the long run. You are doing weights with anxiety and building your strength. Don’t take our word for it. Test it out! Watch the anxiety decrease as you build your tolerance.
The goal is not to prove to yourself that things will always work out (although most of the time they will), but that you can sit with the anxiety or uncertainty and be okay.