Treating anxiety can be reduced to one simple principle: ‘Anxiety is maintained by avoidance, and willing exposure is the active ingredient of recovery. That is essential; all the rest is commentary.’ My latest Southern Star column explores why tackling anxiety means tackling avoidance.
Tackling anxiety means choosing to do some hard things, such as facing feared situations, so you have to be motivated. To get motivated, ask yourself this: what have you lost to anxiety? My latest column looks at some ideas from anxiety expert Dr Jonathan Grayson on how to undertake this vital exercise.
Do you operate on a double standard in your daily life? That is, are you supportive and generous towards other people but often harsh and self-critical towards yourself? My latest columns looks at the double-standard technique, a simple but powerful cognitive therapy strategy which is especially useful if you have perfectionist tendencies or are prone to self-criticism.
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?
"I must always feel completely in love with my partner, or else he is not 'the one'"; "I noticed another attractive person so I must not love my partner"; "I often get angry with my partner so I must not love him"; "Other couples are happy all the time".
All-or-nothing thinking, catastrophising, hyper-responsibility, excessive 'should' statements – my latest column explores thinking errors often seen in cases of relationship OCD (ROCD).
What if I don’t really love my partner? What if my partner doesn't really love me? Is s/he "the one"? What if I am not as attracted to my partner as I should be? Would I be better off with someone else? Would s/he be better off with someone else? What if my partner doesn't know me well enough and realises too late I am not the person s/he thought I was?
This column explores relationship OCD, or ROCD, which is characterised by agonising doubts and uncertainty about your relationship.
Do you frequently try to manage your worries by seeking reassurance? It's human to want a little reassurance when times are tough, but excessive reassurance-seeking doesn't help you manage anxiety – it perpetuates and worsens it. This article explains why and offers advice on how to kick the reassurance habit.
Think of a loved one. If I asked you to write down and read out the following sentence – "I hope (name of your loved one) dies today in a car crash" – would you do it? This 'test' was originally designed for use with people with OCD, but most people (not just people with OCD) feel icky about it. My latest Southern Star column explores what's known as thought-action fusion and suggests that most of us are prone to taking our thoughts and feelings too seriously.
All of us occasionally worry about our health. For some people, however, the worry is not occasional, but persistent and excessive. In last week's Southern Star, I asked: how is health anxiety different to other forms of anxiety and how can it be treated?