If you read nothing else, read this section!

You probably already have been trying to control your anxiety, with mixed success. But some of the strategies you are using may actually be backfiring.

Here are three points to consider first, before learning more about the specific tools to build confidence and overcome fears:

1) Do the opposite

One of the best ways to challenge your anxious beliefs is by actually doing the opposite of what your anxiety is telling you to do. This means choosing not to listen to your anxiety most of the time. Your anxiety is not always working in your best interest. It is not helping you discover what will bring you happiness and contentment. It is only concerned with getting you to avoid what you fear and to avoid discomfort. If you are waiting for your concerns and worries to go away before trying something new, you might be waiting a long time. Or you may never do it at all. See anxiety experiments for more about this.

2) Act first, and new thoughts and feelings will follow

For example, many of us were anxious about learning to drive a car. We might have tried to overcome this fear by telling ourselves we could do it, and that it wasn’t as dangerous as we’d feared. If we had refused to actually try driving until we felt less anxious about it, how helpful would that have been? Could we really gain confidence about driving without getting behind the wheel? The main thing that reduces fear of something is actually doing it: getting the opportunity to have the experience and see for ourselves.

3) Most importantly, take small steps to move towards your goal: a life lived according to what you value, NOT lived according to the demands of your anxiety

  • What is really important and meaningful to you?
  • Is anxiety getting in the way?
  • Acting in accordance with your true goals and values often means acting opposite to your anxiety.