Don't Try Harder, Try Different!

Simple strategies for handling anxiety and stress.

More steps

Time to list what you fear...

OK, we introduced the idea of trying something different, and now we need to get to the "how" part of that. Here is your assignment for all of you who are ready to try some stress reducing exercises.

I want all of you to make a list of the following items: Things that you fear, Things that you feel hopeless about, People that bother you, Situations that lead you to feeling uncomfortable, Emotions that are difficult for you to experience, Places that you avoid, and Anything else that you would like to work on that is related to Anxiety and Stress.

After making the list, then I want you to write out some details about each of the things that you listed - what do you fear about them, what bothers you about them, what is it about these certain emotions that is so difficult, why do you avoid this or that place...? This information will be essential for us a few posts down, so hold on to all of this.

Finally, I want you to rank order all of what you wrote down from what you think would be the easiest thing to work on first to the hardest thing to work on, and write that last. Then, put the rest of what you wrote somewhere in the middle (you may want to use a rating scale, such as 0 - 10).

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We are all going to start to work on this together, starting with the lowest listed item on your hierarchy of fears. If you are comfortable, publish what you will be working on first - this can help with some accountability. I look forward to seeing what you are all ready to challenge. But, hold off on the challenge until the next post, when our first lesson on how to challenge stress and anxiety will be reviewed.

Patrick McGrath, Ph.D., is the Director of the Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital's Center for Anxiety and OCD Program and president of Anxiety Centers of Illinois. more...

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