Track Your Progress
It can help to track your fear during your exposure exercise and to remain in that situation until your anxiety comes down by about 50%. For example, if you were sitting in the cafeteria and you rated that as a 6 out of 10, try to stay there until your anxiety comes down to a 3 out of 10 or lower before leaving to do something else, even if you feel the urge to leave sooner.
Keep doing a specific exposure exercise daily (or as often as you can) until you rate it as a 2 or 3 out of 10 for several days in a row. Then it’s time to move on to the next thing on your fear ladder.
Re-rate your entire fear ladder every once in a while. You may be surprised that as you make progress with the items at the bottom of the ladder, the situations in the middle and near the top don’t seem as scary any more.
Your ratings of feared situations will also help you see the progress you have made and figure out what you still need to do to beat your anxiety!
Remember to Reward Yourself
Let’s be honest, facing your fears is not easy. So remember to reward yourself when you do it!
It can be really helpful to use specific rewards to motivate you to achieve big goals. For example, plan to get yourself a gift (Xbox game, music, clothes, treat) or to do something fun (go to a concert, movie, out to dinner) when you finally ask the person you like to go out or go for that summer job interview.
Talk to your parents and friends to see if they might help you celebrate when you reach an important goal.
Don’t forget the power of self-talk. Tell yourself “I did it!” “That was awesome!” “I rock!”– it feels good!