Healing doesn’t happen in a day
Learning to manage anxiety can be overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to break your goals up into small, achievable steps. Recovery isn’t a straight line; it’s a spiral. Setting one small goal and completing it is much better than overwhelming yourself and ending up more anxious than ever.
Kjetil Mellingenne is a specialist in cognitive behavioral therapy – a type of talk therapy that is often helpful for anxiety. On his YouTube channel, Mellingenne tells the story about one of his clients who, without warning, suddenly stopped coming in for her visits to his office.
Surprised that she missed her appointment, the psychologist got on the phone and learned that she was too afraid to leave her home. Fortunately, her therapist knew how to help. Could she go outside at all? he asked. Even for a minute? Yes, the client said. She thought she could make it to her front step for a few minutes. Then go outside, stay for a few minutes, and then go back in, the psychologist told her. But don’t rush yourself.
Do the same thing ten or fifteen times before you try to stay outside any longer. The client agreed, and after ten or fif- teen short trips to her front porch, she was ready to stay outside a little lon- ger and walk a bit farther. She reached her yard, then the front gate, repeat- ing each achievement at least ten times before she set a new goal. With time and patience, Mellingenne’s client was finally able to travel from her home to his office. She had conquered her fear.
Later, the psychologist explained that the reason he’d suggested such small steps was so his client could be sure she would succeed. If she had felt that one of his goals was too hard to reach, it might have made her anxiety stronger, and the
setback could have made it even harder for her to leave home.