How to Face Your Fears

The Wellbeing Doctor

I'm an NHS Clinical Psychologist (in training) sharing practical evidence-based ideas for looking after your mental and physical health.

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We’re all scared of lots of things -fear is part of being human. But there are some things which we might develop a fear or phobia of which is holding us back in life, and we’d love to overcome! Some common examples include spiders, public speaking or going to the dentist. ⁠

In psychological therapy, we often use a technique called “graded exposure” to help someone to overcome their fears. ⁠

Here’s how you could give it a try:⁠

1. Create a fear ladder – draw up a hierarchy of things associated with your fears based on how scary they are. At the bottom of the ladder write the things you can already do and work up to the things which are the scariest and which you would like to overcome at the top of the ladder. ⁠

2. Start working through your ladder from the bottom up doing each of the things on there. Keep repeating each item over and over again until it feels comfortable. When you’re getting bored of it, that’s when you know it’s time to move up the ladder! Hold an awareness of what you thought the worst thing would happen is for each activity and find out if it actually happens.⁠

3. Stay in each situation until your anxiety reduces. Rate your anxiety on a scale of 1-10 at the beginning of each task and stay in the situation until you notice a significant fall in your anxiety. It’s important to learn that anxiety ALWAYS falls, and if you give up too soon, you won’t give yourself time to learn this!⁠

4. Remember to reach out for support from someone you trust if you need it when giving these a go and don’t forget to give yourself a reward at the end of each task – each step of the ladder is a huge achievement!⁠

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The Wellbeing Doctor

I'm an NHS Clinical Psychologist (in training) sharing practical evidence-based ideas for looking after your mental and physical health.

Follow On Instagram

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