Author: Bertil Hjert
Exposure therapy as treatment for Social Phobia is exactly what it sounds like, exposing your mind and body to that which you fear. By gradually exposing and training your mind that the feared event is not as horrible as you think it is, you are working to desensitize yourself to the stimulus.Â
A). During exposure therapy, you expose yourself to small doses of the feared event and increase the duration of exposure over time. If you are afraid of talking in groups, start by imagining yourself in front of groups, then speak in front of a couple of family members or close friends, then a couple of acquaintances and build up to a room full of strangers.Â
You donÂ´t need to pay someone to help you; you can work on this at home.
1. Start off imagining an event that causes severe anxiety, talking to your boss, asking a girl out, talking in front of your class, whatever it may be. Feel the anxiety, nervousness and agitation wash over you. After a minute or two, withdraw your mind from that situation. You have endured it and you are still here to tell about it.Â
2. Increase your exposure time gradually and then work your way up to real life exposure to the situation.
B). Image desensitization is a great way and process to implement exposure therapy on your own or in a group setting.Â
A great place to find support while you are working to desensitize yourself to the social phobia inducing situations is to work in a group with other sufferers. By rehearsing stressful situations within a group, not only do you know you are in a safe place where you will not be judged but you might learn from other suffererÂ´s coping strategies.Â
The second part of the cognitive behavior approach involves retraining the thought process in your mind. For many anxiety sufferers, the immediate and instinctive thought reaction to stressful situations is negativity. Social phobic donÂ´t see the glass as half full but rather half empty and dirty.Â
It is important to substitute positive thoughts for the negative ones and not to overestimate the dangers, reactions and thoughts in any given social situation. You have a surprising ability to cope with what the world throws at you; you just need to uncover those resources.Â
Cognitive restructuring is used to help social phobia sufferers uncover the thoughts that automatically flood their minds whenever they are in stressful situations.Â
The thoughts flooding in the head probably involve fears of messing up a story, sounding stupid, having people think you are an idiot or maybe theyÂ´ll just turn their backs and walk away, completely uninterested in anything that comes out of your mouth.Â
Are these fears realistic? You need to test these notions to see if they compare with what will happen in the real world. You have told funny stories before, so you can probably do it again. Even if the story is stupid or uninteresting, the listeners would surely never be so rude as to turn their backs and walk away and most if not all will at the very least pretend to be interested.Â
However, you could also tell an interesting and engaging story that starts you down the road towards new friendships and better interaction with colleagues. If you constantly look at and examine your beliefs and rationalize them it can chip away at the long-held, negative beliefs that are holding you back. You can train your mind not to react negatively in every circumstance and certainly not to overestimate or over exaggerate the negative.Â Â About the Author:
Download your free eBook "Stop Panic Attacks and Deal with Your Anxious Thoughts" here: FREE REPORT STOP PANIC ATTACKS- From Bertil Hjert - The author of the PanicGoodbye-program. Read more about this brand new course at the: Panic Goodbye Program
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