Ladder of Discomfort
What do you fear? Or, if you’re not much of a fear-monger: What makes you uncomfortable?
Here is an idea I adapted from the book, Women Who Worry Too Much by Holly Hazlett-Stevens, Ph.D.:
TAKE CONTROL of your fears and anxieties by confronting them one by one, starting with something that simply takes a little gutts, progressing through the more difficult issues you face. The idea is to make steady progress, like climbing a ladder. Don’t even think about what you will face next. Concentrate on one rung at a time, and on how far you’ve come, how many things you have successfully faced and overcome. You are your biggest hero!
- Spending minutes to days — however long it takes — list every object or situation that makes you uncomfortable. Think of daily issues such as crossing the busy street or cooking dinner, social situations such as going to a party or asking for a raise, and general fears like not being able to make a car payment or being around spiders.
- Rearrange your discomforts so that those that make you most uncomfortable are on the very top of the list, and those that require only a little pep talk are on the bottom. This list does not need to be in perfect order and probably will not be, as your levels of anxiety over any one particular issue will most likely vary.
- Pick one item from the bottom of your list and make detailed plans to face that uncomfortable anxiety-inducer. Some discomforts may require only a single event, while others will need to progress through several stages. For example, if it is a fear of spiders, try purchasing a fake spider and having it around, or make a spider-like object using thread. Next visit a pet store or zoo that features live spiders safely tucked away behind glass. Acclimate yourself to seeing their shape, and begin to place your harmless fake spiders on your body. If you happen to see a spider, try to observe it from as close a distance as you can stand. Continue to challenge yourself to move further and further out of your comfort zone — until the object of your discomfort does not cause you to lose your confidence.
- Every time you successfully face an uncomfortable situation, write it down and congratulate yourself — whether it is the issue you are working on or not! Build a safety net for yourself, constructed of strands of courage from leaving your comfort zones! Consider keeping a journal or scrapbook of your successes, from small courageous moments to huge victories, and feel free to share some of them in the Comments section below!
- Continue to progress upward on your Ladder of Discomfort, building confidence as you go. I am certain you can do it! Remember that you are only ever ONE simple decision away from being on the right track. Step over, and give yourself a boost of confidence! 😀
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