How can I put my fears in perspective?

Todd Farchione, PhD
Looking at your anxious and fearful thoughts and challenging them before, during and after facing a frightening situation can be a good way to adaptively manage your emotions. When you look closely at how you’re thinking about a feared situation or object, or how you are describing it to others, you might notice that you’re overestimating the likelihood of something bad happening and/or underestimating your ability to cope with an anticipated negative outcome. It can be useful to actually write your thoughts down so you can look at them more closely.

Once you’ve identified the thoughts, you can then work towards challenging them and put things more in perspective.

Ask yourself questions like: What evidence do I have for this fear or belief? What is the worst that could happen? How bad would that be? Work toward considering other alternative, less fearful outcomes and look closely at the evidence to try to develop a more balanced perspective. Challenging your thoughts is also a useful strategy for building up your confidence to face your fears. It can essentially set the stage for the next step -- changing your behaviors.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.