The action plan to overcome social anxiety - exposure therapy

Overcome your social anxiety by slowly exposing yourself to your fears. First limit anxiety by putting your emotions in perspective, then define your actions and execute.

The action plan to overcome social anxiety - exposure therapy

Alright – in the last few articles there was a lot of analysis and mental work to overcome anxiety. But the real challenge is in doing. To really expose yourself to your anxieties. Because that's the only way to truly overcome your fears, facing them!

But it's easier, because we have done a lot of prep work; learning how to relax, overcome negative thoughts and reframe our beliefs. If you haven't seen those articles yet, take a look at them. Especially when overcoming your anxieties gets hard.

But for today, let's grow braver. We'll do it gradually. You won’t be thrown before the lions, let’s first face some kittens. Step by step confronting your fears, growing stronger and overcoming your anxieties.

1. Analyze your fears

1.1 Your fear hierarchy

Grab a notebook, or use this sheet. We are first going to do a bit more analyzing and rationalizing.

First build an exposure hierarchy. List all the typical moments and settings where you feel (socially) anxious. For example:

  • doing groceries
  • asking for directions to a stranger
  • asking a cute guy/girl out
  • [...]

List them all and rate them between 1-100 of how fearful you are of it. Then arrange them from least to most scary. Here we list a few items:

Activity/setting Anxiety score
Doing groceries 15
Asking directions 25
Asking for a date 70
[...] xx