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However, you may have tried to face something too scary too soon, which can be overwhelming. If done correctly, exposure can be VERY effective in overcoming fears. Be willing to try again! Follow the steps below to get the most out of exposure. Exposure is one of the most effective ways of overcoming fears. However, it takes some planning and patience.

Make a list of situations, places or objects that you fear.

What makes you afraid?

For example, if you are afraid of dogs, the list may include: If you are afraid of social situations, the list may include: Some people have a lot of different fears, so it can help to group similar fears or specific fear themes together. For example, you may have a fear of bugs, as well as a fear of heights. Make different lists for different fear themes. Once you have made a list, arrange things from the least scary to the most scary.

Once you have rated each situation, use the Fear Ladder form to make a final list. Then list the steps needed to achieve that goal e. See Examples of Fear Ladders for some ideas on building your fear ladder. See Examples of Fear Ladders for some ideas about building your fear ladder. It can be very scary facing the things you fear. Be patient and take your time.

Go at a pace that you can manage. Remember, you will experience anxiety when facing fears - this is normal.

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Don't be discouraged if your fears start creeping back. This can happen from time to time, especially during stressful periods or transitions for example, starting a new job or moving. If you haven't had a fall, or can't be sure what caused your fall, read about the risk factors to find out how to reduce the risk of falls happening in the future. Feeling dizzy or lightheaded could be the side effects of medication. If you're on many different medications make sure you get these reviewed regularly.

It's important that you don't stop taking your medication without speaking to your GP. If you've been on sleeping tablets for some time, you might want to see your doctor about options for coming off these. More about managing your medication. How to create a falls plan. If you've had a fall, try not to dwell on it even though it's understandable that you may feel worried for a short time afterwards. Talking to someone about your anxiety can help to make problems seem more manageable.

Recognising there's a problem can be the first step to getting the help you need and your life back. Anxiety after a fall can make you more cautious, and stop you doing things you enjoy. Set yourself small achievable targets — such as walking for a short distance first even if it is several steps in the safety of your own home — and build on this.

How to deal with anxiety about falling

If you feel you would benefit from a walking aid, discuss this with a physiotherapist or occupational therapist. Achieving small goals will help you to start feeling more confident again. Negative thoughts can prevent you from overcoming anxiety. Learning to challenge these with ones that are more balanced can help reduce worries. It just takes practice. After a fall, you may feel more anxious or panicky when you begin walking. You may find yourself breathing faster than normal. If you do, take some regular breaths and tell yourself that these feelings will go away.

You can reduce your anxiety by slowing down your breathing and using relaxation techniques. Reward yourself for your achievements.


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It's important to tell yourself how well you have done. This will help to build your confidence for next time. Exercise requires some concentration, and this can take your mind off your fear and anxiety. Learning relaxation techniques can help you with the mental and physical feelings of fear.

It can help just to drop your shoulders and breathe deeply.

Or imagine yourself in a relaxing place. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and try to avoid too much sugar. Resulting dips in your blood sugar can give you anxious feelings. Try to avoid drinking too much tea and coffee, as caffeine can increase anxiety levels. If you are religious or spiritual, this can give you a way of feeling connected to something bigger than yourself.

MOODJUICE - Anxiety - Self-help Guide

Faith can provide a way of coping with everyday stress, and attending church and other faith groups can connect you with a valuable support network. Talking therapies, like counselling or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, are very effective for people with anxiety problems, including Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which takes you through a series of self-help exercises on screen. Drug treatments are used to provide short-term help, rather than looking at the root of the anxiety problems.


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Drugs may be most useful when they are combined with other treatments or support. You can learn a lot about managing anxiety from asking other people who have experienced it. Our website offers information on mental health, mental health problems, self-help and how to get help. Dialogues Clin Neurosci, 4 , — Evolutionary, cognitive, and clinical perspectives.

Handbook of emotions 2 nd Ed. Handbook of emotion s 3 rd Ed. With Special Reference to Anxiety.

The Psychology of Fear and Stress 2 nd ed. Handbook of Psychotherapy and behaviour change 5 th Ed. Efficacy of the trial-based thought record, a new cognitive therapy strategy designed to change core beliefs, in social phobia. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. Anxiety, Panic and Phobias: Download for free Order printed copies of this guide See our other 'How to What makes you afraid?