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Overcoming Anxiety by Confronting Your Fears

Part of the Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

No single strategy works more effectively in overcoming anxiety than exposure. Exposure involves putting yourself in direct contact with whatever it is that makes you anxious. Confronting your fears directly is one of the most powerful ways of overcoming them, and works well with the following conditions:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD): A chronic, long-lasting state of tension and worry.

  • Social phobia: A fear of rejection, humiliation, or negative judgement from others.

  • Specific phobia: An exaggerated, intense fear of some specific object, such as a needle, an animal (a spider, maybe) or a situation, like being high off the ground.

  • Panic disorder: A fear of experiencing repeated panic attacks in which you feel a variety of physical symptoms, such as light-headedness, racing heartbeat, or nausea. You may also fear losing control, dying, or going crazy.

  • Agoraphobia: This problem often, but not always, accompanies panic disorder. You worry about leaving home, feeling trapped, or feeling unable to get help if you should need it.

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder: Repetitive, unwanted thoughts jump into your mind and disturb you. This disorder can also involve various actions that you perform repeatedly as a way to prevent something bad from happening. Frequently, these actions don’t make much sense, but they make you feel better, safer, and less anxious.

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