This episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit is all about addressing fear like scientists, but not the scary white-haired kind that you’re likely picturing. You don’t need those white coats or a full-fledged scientist degree for the type of experiments we will be discussing! You see…each time we have a thought, we have an opportunity to be a scientist who runs studies that are experience-based, rational, and evidence-based.
Every day, the human brain produces a LOT of thoughts; up to 70,000 thoughts to be exact! Being able to identify which thoughts are distorted (or errors) and which are not is a huge part of the work that goes into managing anxiety. The goal is to respond to these thoughts skillfully and mindfully. This is not an easy task, as it takes ongoing courage and work, but I bet you know what I’m about to say next. We can do hard things!
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I’ve been thinking about all of the wonderful people who are bombarded with and tortured by terrifying intrusive thoughts, unwanted emotions, sensations, and urges that lead them to believe and feel like there is something wrong with them. Intrusive thoughts can make us believe that terror is on its way or that something bad will happen. Therefore, people often respond to the thoughts by going into a pattern of trying to disprove these possibilities. In doing so, to prove that there is no way that such things are possible, we start to shift our day and try to make the uncertain, certain.
This is problematic because we are not actually resolving the issues in REALITY. Instead, we are creating a new reality where the fear is less likely to occur. To ensure that our fear will not come true, we may avoid events, people, and places and/or mentally review all of the possible scenarios and how they might play out. When we have mentally exhausted ourselves by coming up with all of the specific scenarios that might cause the feared outcomes, we promise ourselves that we will 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. I've included a few examples of such a scientific experiment below.
This week, I would like you to start being more vigilant about addressing fear like a scientist. I invite you to test hypotheses in a rational, non-biased, and reality-based way. I know this is hard, but I have said it once and I will say it again. IT IS A BEAUTIFUL DAY TO DO HARD THINGS!
Before we go, CBT School is thrilled to share that our lovely friend Stuart Ralph is offering The OCD Summit, which is an online summit specifically for OCD therapists. In this 6-week webinar series, Stuart Ralph—host of The OCD Stories podcast—will interview some incredible clinicians and scientists in the OCD field with an audience made up of therapists. Kimberley is honored to be selected as 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.
Lastly, ERP School is HERE and available for purchase for 5 more days! YAY!! Exposure and Respond Prevention School (ERP SCHOOL) is an online course for people who do not have access to a therapist who practices science-based skills and ERP for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It is only available for purchase from September 6th, 2018-September 20th, 2018.
About Kimberley Quinlan
Kimberley Quinlan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Eating Disorders, Panic Disorder and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s). Kimberley is highly trained in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), with a heavy emphasis on Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), and has been practicing meditation and mindfulness for many years. Kimberley has a special interest in the integration of mindfulness principles with CBT for OCD, Anxiety Disorders, and Eating Disorders. Kimberley has experience treating adults, adolescents, and children, and tailors each program to suit the age and cognitive development of each client. Kimberley has a private practice in Calabasas and Westlake Village.
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