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Your Anxiety Toolkit

Your Anxiety Toolkit aims to provide you with helpful tools to manage anxiety, stress and other emotions that get in the way.
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Aug 25, 2018
Addressing Fear Like A Scientist

Addressing Fear Anxiety Depression Intrusive Thoughts CBT Mindfulness Uncertainty Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Eating Disorder BRFB's Your Anxiety Toolkit Kimberley QuinlanIn this episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit, we talk about Addressing Fear like Scientists.  Not the scary white haired kind!  In this week's episode, we talk about becoming scientists who run studies that are rational, evidence-based, and experienced-based.  Each time we have a thought, we have an opportunity to be a scientist.  Don’t worry about those white coats.  You don’t need them for these experiments.  And you don’t need to have a fully fledged scientist degree either.

The human brain has up to 70,000 thoughts per day.   That is a LOT of thoughts.  When it comes to managing anxiety, much of the work is being able to identify which thoughts that are distorted (or errors) and which are not, so we can respond skillfully and mindfully.  This is not an easy feat and takes ongoing work and courage.

The other day, I started thinking about all the lovely people who are being tormented by scary intrusive thoughts, unwanted emotions, and sensations that make them think and feel like there is something wrong with them.   Sometimes these intrusive thoughts make us believe that something bad will happen, or that terror is on its way.  Often when we have these unwanted, intrusive thoughts, we go into a pattern of trying to disprove these possibilities.  We start to shift our day, just to prove that this is in no way possible.  We try to make the uncertain, certain.

The problem with this is that we are not actually resolving the issues in REALITY.  What we do when we have these obsessions is we create a new reality where the fear is less likely to occur.  We do this by avoiding events or people or places. We also try to ensure that our fear won't come true by mentally reviewing all of the possible scenarios and how they might play out.  Once we have mentally exhausted ourselves with identifying what specific scenarios might cause troublesome outcomes, we promise ourselves to never put ourselves in those situations.

How To Address Fear Like A Scientist

Addressing Fear like a scientist involves asking yourself a few very hard questions.  Take a look at these questions and do a quick review on how you are responding to your anxiety and depression.

  • What hypothesis (theory) is my depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) trying to prove?
  • Is this hypothesis true and based in reality and reason?
  • Can I test the evidence in a non-biased way?
  • Can I look at it from every angle without running away from fear? Or trying to solve it? Or steer the outcomes?
  • Can I sit with the results of the experiment?
  • Am I spending my time trying to prove my hypothesis or am I open to actually doing the work of a scientist, who is unbiased and accepting of the outcomes?

I invite you this week to be more vigilant about addressing fear like a scientist who tests the hypothesis in a non-biased, rational and reality-based way.  I know this is hard, but you know what I am going to say here. It is a beautiful day to do hard things.

Also, CBT School is also excited to share that our lovely friend Stuart Ralph is offering The OCD Summit, an online summit specifically for OCD therapists.  The OCD Summit will be a  6-week webinar series where Stuart Ralph, host of The OCD Stories podcast, will interview some incredible scientists and clinicians in the OCD field, with you the therapist as the audience.   Kimberley is honored to be selected to be one of the panelists for this exciting event.  Registration will include 6 topics curated for your continued development as an OCD therapist, where you can ask questions and network with other therapists in the private FB group community.  Click here to join.

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