by Dr. Rob Lancer
It is tough if not impossible to overcome fear by avoiding or trying to escape from it. For people, with anxiety disorders, irrational fears grow in one’s mind like weeds in a garden. Irrational fears rarely follow a pattern of rhyme or reason, and they multiply if they are not attended to properly. So if a person attempts to avoid or escape from a fear they become helpless and hopeless overtime because the irrational fear still exists within the person’s mind. So avoidance and evasion are faulty methods for ridding oneself of irrational fears.
The reality is that the more you struggle with irrational fear, the more frustrated and deeper the problem becomes. It is a losing proposition. The approach that has proven most useful for people I work with is to have them ‘Face Their Fears.’ The process of facing one’s fears requires that you are willing to exit your comfort zone and stretch your “limits” to learn that your fear is an imagined one that your ‘anxious thinking’ has created. It is of vital importance that you ‘Face Your Fears’ in a strategic manner. You must learn to gradually and systemically take steps to overcome your fear.
For example, if you are fearful of heights, you don’t go to the top of the highest skyscraper and look down. Rather, each day and week you progressively work on scaling taller and taller buildings. The stronger the foundation in overcoming your fears the greater the chances you will conquer your fears. It takes hard work on a consistent and persistence basis.
Here’s another example: if you fear to speak in front of a large audience, then you need to rehearse in front of friends or family members, then move on to a slightly larger and larger group, until you conquer your fear. Each time you stay with your fear longer and longer, your prior assumptions about the fear will start shrinking and become smaller and smaller.
Remember, it is what you learn in the process of overcoming your fear, not in the actual concurrence that will provide you with the greater sense of self and confidence. However, you must go through the difficult process and not settle half- way to conquer your fear. As well, it is part of the process to have anxiety. However, you must learn to work through the anxiety to get to the next level of accomplishment. Not only will your comfort zone grow and your inner strength improve, but you will also discover that you are greater than you were when you initially started your journey.
CBK SKILL CHALLENGE
Hold your fears up to the light.
Question your beliefs about your anxiety.
1) Put your fear on trial.
2) Begin to look and think about your anxiety and worries in a new way.
3) Don’t work and rework the anxiety over in your mind. It only gives it power. Instead, write down all threats a particular fear has over you, and judge it. Put on paper.
Remember, – you can’t solve a complex math problem in your head, so why would you attempt to approach a fear solely in your mind? Get your ideas out of your mind and put them on paper. This process will turn them from personal thoughts into measurable goals.