I learn how to face my fears and operate outside of my “comfort zone.” I can have courage and recognize that fear is normal and that it can act as a guide. I can visualize what I want to have happen, rather than worrying about what I fear. I can avoid avoidance. Avoidance only makes my fears worse (See Action #72 and www.anxieties.com for suggestions on ways to handle anxieties).
I need to check out the “facts.” Is the threat a realistic fear or am I over blowing the situation? What has to happen for this situation to be less emotional? What can I do to ensure safety and feel more in control?
Think of a fear you have overcome in the past. How did you handle this? Individuals handle their fears by having the courage to do (confront) the very things they feared. Through repeated exposure, what you feared loses its potency to evoke such fearful emotions and accompanying avoidant behaviors. How can you apply such “courage” to any remaining fears you may have?
Treatments for individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder focus on reducing trauma-related anxiety by encouraging the client to confront situations, activities, thoughts, memories and feelings that are feared and avoided, but that are not inherently dangerous. Avoidance behaviors are the major factor that contribute to chronic PTSD and interfere with the resolution of emotions.
“I have learned to reduce my fears by reducing avoidance and confronting previously avoided and feared situations.”
“I have learned to break the habit of avoiding.”
“For a long time, I feared my memories of what I experienced. Such avoidance only made things worse.”
“I had a phobic avoidance of all trauma-related events and reminders.”
“It is like the classic example of when an animal is fed something at a given location in his cage and it makes him sick and nauseated. No matter how many times one feeds the animal good food at that location, the animal will resist and will not voluntarily go there to collect available food. Like that avoidant animal, I have to learn to approach, rather than avoid. This is where courage comes into play.”