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?
Relaxation is good for all of us. If you’re a worrier, however, you may well find that you actively resist relaxation, instead choosing to continue worrying. Why? My latest column explores research showing that worriers don’t like negative emotional contrasts – for example, when you suddenly go from feeling relaxed or upbeat to feeling stressed or fearful. To avoid this negative emotional shift, you stay on guard and continue to worry.