Surf Your Anxiety

Surf Your Anxiety

Mental Health Tips from William James College Faculty: Surf Your Anxiety by Brian Ott, PhD

Tips for Managing Anxiety

  • Identify the situation that triggers your anxiety 
  • Build a ladder of these types of situations by varying elements such as time to exposure, distance from the trigger, and characteristics of the trigger.
  • Start at a point somewhere in the middle of the ladder where you do feel uncomfortable, but won’t run away. 
  • Hold the trigger constant. 
  • Focus your attention on the trigger – no distractions. 
  • Wait for the anxiety to decrease and eventually bottom out at a much lower level. 

The more you try to rationally control the physical aspects of anxiety, the worse it gets. Stop avoiding anxiety provoking situations. Move towards them. Surf them in.


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