I recently talked about exposure therapy and the importance of facing your fears. But what if you fear the thought of relaxing and being 'too happy'? One way of changing this mindset is by devising what I call emotional exposures. This article explores the aim of these emotional exposures: to drop that guard, to give give yourself permission to hope and be happy.
The best way of overcoming your fears is to confront them. Exposure therapy – exposure and response prevention or ERP, to use the proper name – is a proven psychological treatment for all forms of anxiety, but how exactly does it work?
Excessive checking, excessive preparation, organising and planning, writing long to-do lists, spending excessive time editing short emails, ruminating on things you could have done better – my third column in a three-part series on perfectionism offers advice on how to tackle perfectionist behaviours.
Exposure to certain pathogens when you're young can help build immunity to them in later life. It's the same thing with mental health – exposure to feared situations and to discomfort in general will build up your immunity to those same forces. Put differently, too much safety can be dangerous; the biggest risk you can take is to try and live a risk-free life.
Animal phobias – of dogs, cats, spiders, and so on – are common in children and sometimes persist into adulthood. My column in last week's Southern Star explained the CBT treatment of animal phobias; how the bulk of this work is done in a single extended exposure session lasting up to three hours; and mentioned some reading for people interested in trying a DIY approach.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can be painfully debilitating. It's important to understand OCD rather than making ill-informed jokes about it, as I explained in last week's Southern Star. Organised people often laugh about how they’re “so OCD” in their ways, but obsessive compulsive disorder is no joking matter. Earlier this year, reality TV star Khloe Kardashian was criticised by mental health campaigners after she launched KHLO-C-D Week, a series of posts documenting ‘tips and...