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Does the strengthening exercise work for anxiety outside of flying?

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  • Does the strengthening exercise work for anxiety outside of flying?

    Hi,

    I am an anxious flyer and have completed the SOAR program with much success using the strengthening exercise. It's true, it really does work and sometimes makes you ask yourself if you ever really had a fear of flying.

    I was wondering if I could use the strengthening exercise for high anxiety situations outside of flying, even if these fears/anxieties are irrational.

    Thanks,
    Tom

  • #2
    Yes. Link the situation that causes fear/anxiety to an oxytocin-producing memory (prevents the release of stress hormones) and to a vagus nerve stimulating memory (overrides the effects of stress hormones).

    1. Apply Phase One of the Strengthen Exercise to each element of the situation in a step-by-step sequence shown in the viideos.
      • As an example, here is how to set it up for elevators:
    Notice how we do it with flying. We start with the end of the flight and work backward. We do the same with the elevator. Here's a list:
        • outside the building
        • leaving the building
        • heading for the building exit
        • just out of the elevator
        • stepping out of the elevator, one foot out, one foot still in
        • in the elevator with no one in your way
        • in the elevator with someone blocking your exit
        • in the elevator with the door opening
        • elevator stopped with the door closed
        • elevator stopping; heavy feeling
        • elevator passing the third floor
        • elevator passing the fifth floor
        • elevator passing the eighth floor.
        • elevator starting downward; lightheaded feeling
        • elevator door closed, not moving
        • elevator door closing
        • waiting in the elevator
        • others getting in the elevator
        • selecting the ground floor
        • stepping in the elevator
        • seeing the elevator ready for you to get in
        • the elevator door opening
        • waiting for the elevator to arrive
        • pressing the button for the elevator to come
        • walking toward the elevator
        • thinking about returning to the elevator
        • walking around the tenth floor
        • stepping out of the elevator on the tenth floor
        • in the elevator with no one in your way
        • in the elevator with someone blocking your exit
        • in the elevator with the door opening
        • elevator stopped with the door closed
        • elevator slows its ascent; lightheaded feeling
        • elevator passing the eighth floor.
        • elevator passing the fifth floor
        • elevator passing the third floor
        • elevator starting upward; heavy feeling
        • elevator not moving, with the door closed
        • elevator door closing
        • in the elevator, waiting for door to close
        • in the elevator, more people getting in
        • selecting the tenth floor
        • stepping into the elevator
        • seeing the elevator ready for you to get in
        • the elevator door opening
        • waiting for the elevator
        • pressing the button for the elevator to come
        • walking to the elevator
        • walking into the building
        • outside the building

    2. Apply Phase Two of the Strengthen Exercise to the situation.
      • Come up with everything you can which could go wrong in the situation that you think could cause panic. Examples are:
        • embarrassment
        • can't immediately leave the situation or place
        • people will notice
      • List all the "what ifs" you can imagine. Examples are:
        • "what if" I can't breathe
        • "what if" I have a heart attack
        • "what if" I can't get help
        • "what if" the panic doesn't go away
        • "what if" I lose control
        • "what if" I go crazy
    3. Apply Phase Three of The Strengthening Exercise -- as shown in the SOAR course videos -- to the five elements of panic.

    This is used to neutralize -- and separate -- each of the five main elements of a panic attack.

    We neutralize each element by causing it to be associated with a soothing moment from earlier in your life.
        • pounding heart
        • difficult breathing
        • hot and sweaty or cold and clammy
        • disoriented, or "out of body"
        • tension in the body

    We separate each element so that, if you experience one of them, the other four are not automatically triggered. For example, an irregular heart beat is experienced merely as an irregular heart beat , and not the beginning of a panic attack. A feeling of dizziness or disorientation is experienced just as that, and not the beginning of a panic attack.

    4. Apply Phase Three of the Strengthening Exercise specifically to your situation.

    In your imagination
      • go to a situation on the ground in which you might experience a panic attack;
      • imagine a cartoon character in that situation;
      • use the Strengthening Exercise to have the cartoon characters go through each of the five components of panic (rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, sweaty, etc.) one at a time with the cartoon character in that situation.

    Other Applications

    If you want to adapt this for bridges, tunnels, or car trips, you do the same thing. Make a list of as many elements as you can come up with. It's easier to create the list from beginning to end, but before you run the exercise, reverse the order so you start at the end and work backward. If it is a car trip, use landmarks in the list when possible.




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