Recognizing And Challenging Your Fears

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The most prominent of anxiety disorders is that which is accompanied by fear. Some of those who have anxiety are aware that their fears are unreasonable while others are oblivious about them.

Here are some examples of people’s fears that might be linked with anxiety disorders and the corresponding consequences:

My husband looks sick. I’m afraid he’s dying (generalized anxiety).

Result: She will force her husband to have himself checked until she finds something wrong, including having him go through tests and procedures despite finding concrete evidence that her husband is well. This might eventually cause conflict, and ironically, she will be the one suffering from anxiety and depression.

If I go to the party, people might laugh at me, and I’ll be more embarrassed than ever (social anxiety).

“If you find yourself avoiding parties, work gatherings, or even your own friends and family, there may be a fear of judgment or underlying feelings of inadequacy.” – Dr. Marisa Alter, PsyD, a clinical psychologist

Result: If he doesn’t overcome this, he will never be able to socialize and keep in touch with friends and a possible partner in life, and will end up being insecure, anxious, and alone for the rest of his life.

I might have a panic attack if I drive and go straight for the other cars (agoraphobia).

Result: He’ll end up not driving at all, which may mean that he won’t be able to continue working and seeing other people, causing major depression.

Unreasonable or irrational fears are dangerous and deceitful. Fortunately, there is a way of facing these fears so they won’t take over your life, though it’s not very easy. It is by challenging these fears mentally and behaviorally.

How To Challenge Your Fears

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When you begin the process of challenging your fears mentally, you will initially need to think about the result of these thoughts coming to reality, as well as evaluating the actual outcome of his fears.

Considering the first example, an anxious wife who is so scared that her husband is dying. With the help of a therapist, it is beneficial for her to think about her husband’s feelings when she pushes her to do tests because of her fears. What’s worse is if he is just all tired from work, but there’s nothing wrong with him but his wife insists that he’s dying! The therapist will need to guide the wife through the process of controlling her fears and focusing on what’s in front of her – a husband who needs more of her care rather than her negativity.

“Fear is our internal alarm bell for danger,” says Dr. Orma. “Without the ability to feel fear, we wouldn’t live very long because we wouldn’t be aware of, or care about, the threats around us.” – Steve Orma, PsyD, a clinical psychologist

Confronting Your Fears Head-On

Challenging your fears behaviorally entails an attempt to face the fear head-on and find out what happens. This is more difficult to do than just mentally challenging your fear. With the third example in mind, the person will attempt to get into a car and drive. If he experiences a panic attack, he is asked to stay calm, pull over, and wait until his attack subsides. When it does, he is to resume driving. This can be pretty stressful for him, but it is a very effective method of overcoming his irrational fear. Eventually, he will learn to control that fear and become more confident that he can master the technique. He will then look forward to driving and confronting his phobia head-on, leading to the mastery of the technique.

Taking The Challenge Of Therapy

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“Therapy is intended to be a place to carefully and safely start to turn toward whatever it is you’ve got.” – Molly Bowman, MS, LPC

If you or a loved one are suffering from anxiety with irrational fears, or fears that you think are just reasonable, but others may not have, you have only to seek the help of a therapist and go through cognitive behavioral therapy, a specific method that teaches the principles mentioned above. Do not be hindered by the fears that limit you from achieving the life you want. Challenge your fears, confront them, and learn to get rid of them mentally and behaviorally, and have the life you deserve.

Effective Techniques To Better Deal With Those We Hate

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Our everyday life involves a lot of interactions with varying types of people, some we love so much that we can’t seem to end our day without talking with them or seeing them, and others we loathe enough that we can’t stand even seeing the sight of. Perhaps we feel awkward, envious, irritated, or nervous being around them, or worse, they provoke us because they are too clingy, insensitive, obnoxious, and rude. Or maybe they did something that hurt us so much that we couldn’t find any reason to forgive them.

For most of us, it would be ideal not to keep in touch with them at all. However, if this is what we will think, this would ultimately lead to polarization and differences even in our cultures. It also affects our mental and emotional health tremendously. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone you’re battling in court with, a former friend that you saw in a party, or your former partner who just makes your blood boil every time you see him. Sooner or later – and the sooner, the better – you’ll have to deal with this hatred for your peace of mind. 

“The strength of forgiveness has been shown to have a powerful buffering effect on stress. Those who are highly forgiving of themselves and others have a far less chance of having a mental illness.” – Ryan M. Niemiec Psy.D.

Below is a list of fundamentals that you can utilize as effective tools to better deal with these interactions.

  • Make Sure You Are Taking Care Of Yourself. It is more difficult to tackle a troubled situation or relationship if you have not taken care of yourself in the first place. You may have noticed that you are crankier when you lack sleep, or you were not able to do your usual exercise regimens, or you don’t feel well because your immune system is down. You need to be ready for these kinds of interactions, no matter how big or small it is for you. Eat right, exercise, and find ways to calm your mind like meditation or mindfulness.

“Prioritizing daily self-care and making efforts to take action. Accepting that daily self-care is hard work and challenging.” – Edna M. Esnil, PsyD.

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  • Create A Concrete Plan And Do A Mental Rehearsal. Studies have proven that levels of mental and physical stress are reduced when one can control and predict his emotions in a troubled relationship or interaction. To do this, you can plan a simple strategy that details a specific encounter and how it might probably feel. What are you going to do if the outcome is not good? Is there an alternative technique you can use instead of a violent reaction? What can you talk about that won’t alleviate the awkward situation? Your strategy may not precisely work the way you planned, but you are saving yourself from more emotional turmoil by being prepared.

 

  • Don’t Take It Personally. Often, we don’t want to be around someone because he makes us feel bad about ourselves. We feel that we are belittled and it affects the way we think about ourselves too. But remember that we can’t please everybody, so we simply must learn to separate a person’s impression of us from our impression of ourselves. Perhaps the person doesn’t like us because of who he is, not because we are.

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  • Try To Be Empathic. Part of anger management or addiction program is to ‘convert’ hurtful or hateful feelings into feelings of empathy and kindness. An example would be finding a reason for a person’s intolerable behavior towards you, like, “Maybe he’s so insensitive because he has lived his entire life alone,” or, “He’s probably always mad or pessimistic because he has a dying mother.” Practicing kindness is simply deciding to send mercy and goodwill to others, even to the ones you hate. You don’t have to forgive the person right then and there.

“I’m pretty blown away by the idea of Loving-Kindness Meditation. Meaning, instead of drowning in sadness, purposefully spending a few minutes wishing people well (from you to a mentor to a stranger to a person you know struggling) can actually lead to productive actions and increase your joy.” – Jennifer L. Taitz, PsyD

When you have mastered these techniques and will be able to conquer hatred and replacing it with compassion and kindness, you can help the rest of the world by teaching others and changing others’ emotions positively in your little corner!