Welcome back, everyone!
Welcome back to the Series on Problematic Anxiety-Related Behaviors.
Today, we are talking about Mindfulness-based tools to help with Reassurance Seeking.
For those of you who don’t think this topic applies to you, stick around a little. You might find that you are employing this behavior, even in slight and tricky ways.
As mentioned in the last episode, there are behaviors that you can reduce, which will result in better outcomes when it comes to anxiety. Last Week we discussed Avoidance and how this compulsion only makes fear worse. This week, as we mentioned, we are discussing Reassurance Seeking Compulsions.
So, What is Reassurance Seeking?
Before I give a definition, let me give you some examples and you can see if you resonate with any of these.
Am I doing this right? (Common in Perfectionism)
Did you turn off the stove? Did I turn off the........ (Common in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
Are you sure everything will be ok?
Do I look ok? (Common in Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Eating Disorders)
You still love me, right?
Do you think I will fail this test? (Common in Perfectionism)
Do you think I hurt their feelings?
Do you think they are mad at me?Do you think I could get sick? (Common in Health Anxiety and Contamination OCD) Did I hurt someone? Could I hurt someone? (Common in Harm OCD)
Don't get me wrong. These are questions that I would consider “appropriate” questions.
However, the problem lies in their frequency and intention.
If you find yourself asking questions repetitively, or you find yourself asking these questions when you know they don’t have the solution/answer, it is probably Reassurance Seeking.
Also, if you find yourself asking these questions when you could be finding the solution yourself, this could be Reassurance Seeking.
And lastly, if you find yourself attempting to find certainty in a situation where there is little to NO certainty, this podcast is for you!
Reassurance Seeking is an action of removing someone's doubts or fears. Reassurance seeking is very common (and problematic) behavior in Anxiety Disorders such as OCD, phobias, panic disorder, Generalize Anxiety Disorder. It is also common in Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Eating Disorders.
That being said, it applies to us all, in our management of our own anxiety.
The goal is to recognize that we must not reach outside ourselves to remove our doubts and fears.
Drawing other into our anxiety usually only makes it messier and creates a dynamic where you feel reliant on them to manage your anxiety.
Also, Reassurance Seeking complicates relationships and can backfire. People may not give you the response you were looking for and cause you to have even more anxiety.
Often clients report that their partner sometimes is very supportive and answers their questions very well, but over time, then the partner gets annoyed and then it creates friction. Does this sound familiar?
The goal is to acknowledge your own fears as they arise, either allow them to simply be there using your mindfulness skills or work through them on your own.
Remember, treat your fears the way you want your brain to interpret them in the future.I hope that is helpful! Have a wonderful week.
I am so excited to share with you some news about the work I am focusing on in 2018!
But first, let me tell you the back story.
Each year, I do my best to attend several conferences for OCD, Anxiety, Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s) and Depression. I have had the privilege of presenting at many of these conferences over the years and I often return home in a state of joy, empowerment and determination to help those who struggle with these debilitating disorders. I love learning all about the evidence-based treatment modalities for OCD, Anxiety Disorders and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors such as Trichotillomania and Skin Picking and using the skills to increase recovery outcomes and improve self-esteem and self-care.
However, last year, I left one of the conferences quite sad. I was sad for those sufferers who attended the conferences and then had to return home to their hometown, with very little support and no evidence-based services but licensed mental health professionals. So few therapist know how to treat OCD, BFRB’s and Anxiety Disorders using the treatment modalities that are so successful and appropriate.
From this frustration, I decided to create an online psycho-education platform where I can offer support and educational products to those who cannot access correct care.
I am so proud to announce the creation of CBTschool.com. CBTschool.com is an online platform when you can access information and online courses on how to overcome your struggles with OCD, Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s), Anxiety Disorders, Panic and Depression. Each course will apply Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (hence the term CBT, in CBT School) and Mindfulness Tools. These are the exact tools I use with my clients every day in my office.
I currently have one course ready to be purchased, called Mindfulness School for OCD. I will talk more about this in coming podcasts. Keep an eye out, as there will be more to purchase very soon.
In addition to the online courses, I plan to meet at a designated time each month to join with you on Facebook Live and Instagram, to answer any questions you may have and help you along with your journey.
More exciting news is the YOUR ANXIETY TOOLKIT podcast is now a production of CBTschool.com and we will continue to provide evidence based tools for Anxiety, Depression and Emotional Dysregulation.
Lastly, if you check out CBTschool.com’s websites, you will see that there is also some awesome free PDF’s available to help you with self care and mindfulness.
Now, onto the important stuff!
This episode is a part or an ongoing series where we discuss Problematic Anxiety Related Behaviors (also know as Compulsions).
In this episode, we will discuss a very important and problematic compulsion, which is Avoidance.
Avoidance is a common behavior we employ to manage anxiety, fear, panic, obsessions and intrusive thoughts.While our brain uses "flight" to activate us to run away from real danger and stressors, we sometime use avoidance and "flight" to avoid thoughts and fears of bad things happening.
The problem is, the more you avoid events or experiences that you perceive to be dangerous (when really they are not currently a risk to your wellbeing) the more you tell your brain that that event or experience is dangerous and the more your brain responds with physical anxiety when you go to the event or engage in the experience.
Example: What if I get sick if I touch that door handle or ATM teller?
NOTE: Sentences that begin with “WHAT if” imply that they have not happened yet.
If you were my client and this was a common fear for you, and you have been avoiding this, I would have you go and use the ATM bank teller!!
By not avoiding, we unlock the fear response cycle our brain is looped into.
This applies to fears that you are a bad person, that you will do something wrong, that awful horrible things will happen.
Trick!!! When I say that….what is the immediate thought you have?
But, Kimberley, my fear is serious!! Nope. Your fear is a thought
But Kimberley, I could ruin peoples live if I stopped avoiding the thing I am afraid of. POSSIBLY!!
Here is my questions for you. What kind of life do you want to live? Consult with your values.
Do you want to live in fear? Do you want to let anxiety make your decisions? Or even more, a thought make your decisions?
Or, do you want to strengthen courage and resilience?
This is a question we have to ask ourselves every day. How Do I want to live my life?
Take risks! Look at your life and ask yourself what you are avoiding. Try to not let anxiety win this one.
Find a way to reduce the avoidance.
Find a way to forgive yourself for avoiding it for so long. Don't beat yourself up.Have a wonderful week everyone! See you next week!