One of the most difficult walls to climb when starting my journey in fighting anxiety was convincing myself that challenges are good for my development.
As CBT plays a big part in my fight against anxiety, it’s important that I reduce avoidance and increase my fear facing. But as we all know, physical feelings paired with overwhelming fear does not make for a good time!
As time has gone on though, it’s gotten easier. The more I’ve challenged, the more I’m able to look at a challenge and say ‘this is going to be difficult, but it’s going to benefit you’.
I wanted to write a tip to someone that’s starting their challenging and CBT journey so maybe it could help someone. So here goes:
When you’re starting out, CBT seems so daunting and like it’s just punishment for having anxiety. I totally get it, I’ve been there, I’ve felt sorry for myself and I’ve cried my way through all of the bad. It’s been a long hard fight because I had nobody to tell me it was going to be OK.
Don’t feel ashamed of finding it difficult, it’s a tough road and it would be dishonest of me to sugar coat it. However, it’s important before you start the CBT journey to realise that although it’s a long term fight, it’s also for long term success. As you start your very first challenge, it’s probably going to start at your anxiety worst. You’ll have all the worst physical feelings and then some, and chances are it will be over very quickly. Don’t be disheartened by this, once you’ve completed it and got through it, think back at what you just did and say to yourself ‘I just chose to do that, and I did it’. No one forced you in there, you decided you were doing it for you. Then break down what happened, and ask yourself whether the worst happened. If it didn’t, success. If you think it did, look at how bad it actually was and what the worst outcome was.
Each time you do a challenge, this evaluation will help build you up for the next challenge.
As these challenges go on, you will notice small changes in your behaviour. You’ll be very slightly less anxious, you’ll stay that little bit longer, you’ll feel that bit more proud, and each one of these will push you to the next one.
THIS is the change. This is where you begin to realise that challenges are good for your development. It’s here when you will begin to look at your anxiety in a different way. You will go from looking at it with great fear and apprehension to something you expect and dismiss, and it’s this that makes your challenges easier.
No one will ever tell you that CBT, challenges and anxiety is easy, but if you follow the therapy correctly (as professionally advised), chances are that eventually the difference will change you’re life.
Wishing you the best of luck, and if you want any advice on this please do get in touch on here or Twitter @anxiwarrior