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Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway!

Back in August I headed out for another adventure with some more of my swimming buddies, this time to Pembrokeshire.
One of our activities was Coasteering (jumping off rocks into the sea).
This activity pushed the boundaries and anxiety buttons for several of us. But we were in good hands, great company beautiful scenery and perfect weather and conditions.
The thought of jumping off a 3 meter cliff into deep water filled many of us with total dread… But of course we didn’t start with a 3 meter jump.
Initially we were introduced to small step off of a rock that was half a meter above the calm waters, and this was after a safety briefing.
Bit by bit we were exposed higher jumps until eventually we reached a rock that offered a range of different heights, 2, 3 and 4 meters! Gradually we each jumped from the first, then back again to do it again, and again. Once we felt ‘comfortable’ with one height, we moved to the next height.
I’m not going to lie, it took me a fair amount of mental effort to jump the 3 meters, but I did it!… eventually! Not once but twice!! (However I was happy to leave the 4 meter jump to the others who didn’t struggle with heights in the way I did).
By being exposed to these jumps bit by bit we gradually desensitised to the fear. It didn’t go away entirely but became manageable to the point we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We encouraged each other and whooped and praised each other too.
That’s exactly the way I encourage my clients to work towards their goals of being able to drive on roads that appear too scary to cope with initially. By graduated desensitisation or in other words… baby steps. Dip your toe in, then your ankle.. and so on. (If you’ll pardon the metaphor).
It is easier to walk away. But give it a try see how the experience can open up your world to endless possibilities.
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Exposure Therapy reduces stress and anxiety

Stress effects everyone to one degree or another. In fact, we need a certain level of stress to keep us functioning. But overloading on stress is detrimental to our wellbeing.

For those who suffer with Vehophobia (a fear of driving), this will affect so many angles of your life. You may well have some form of stress and anxiety coping strategies. Typically controlling your breathing, listening to calm music, yoga, mindfulness etc. But the only way you are going to truly be able to take back control is to ‘face your fear’ and let’s face it, even that phrase can be enough to trigger your anxiety levels to spike.

But what if I told you that by doing exactly this, in baby-steps, you can be back in control of your own life rather than the anxiety controlling you. How would it feel to be able to do the school run, take your partner to the train station, say yes to meeting your friends 30 miles away without that anxious feeling overwhelming you…

Just as we build strength by stressing our muscles, we can condition ourselves for bravery by facing the anxiety. We possess a kind of ‘stress immune system’, so facing fears repeatedly without serious harm can inoculate us against stress and make it more manageable.

Here’s a sciency bit: Researchers placed mice in a large empty box to simulate an open field where a predator could swoop down on them, the mice initially lost control of their bowels with their stress hormones spiking as they froze in terror. When they did move, they slinked alongside the wall. However, when they were placed in the box day after day, they soon became habituated to the stress. Eventually, they became brave enough to go over to the middle of the box to investigate a new toy when one was placed there. Their body is still releasing stress hormones, but the stress became manageable.

So by dealing with driving anxiety we approach it with a multiple-level approach of stress relieving coping strategies, together with gently pushing boundaries and reflecting on how you feel. If the toy in the box for you is the motorway, the bridge or a short school run. It IS achievable. You just need to get started.

So do it now and give me a call on 07889 186100 or email

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