More often than not, anxiety is a fear of what could happen; it's living your life thinking what if? instead of embracing what lies ahead. But rather than allowing a fear of the unknown to inform your day-to-day life, Amy Morin, psychotherapist and author of the international best seller 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do, has some different ideas.
"A little anxiety is a good thing. It keeps you safe. If you didn't have any fear, you wouldn't look both ways before you crossed the road," she writes for Inc. "But sometimes, our fears are irrational and exaggerated. And those fears can hold you back professionally and personally." In her professional opinion, gradual exposure to a fear is the best way to overcome anxiety.
"When done correctly, exposure therapy requires you to tolerate a little fear every day," she explains. "After a few days of practicing, your fear will decrease and it's time to step it up a notch. With each step you take, you'll build a little more mental strength."
Morin suggests thinking about your fear on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most anxiety you could possibly experience. Determine what fear-based activity would give you an anxiety level of a four, and slowly bring yourself up to that level—even if it takes days. Once your anxiety starts to diminish, crank it up another notch until your fear subsides altogether.
"If your fears interfere with your ability to reach your goals, seek professional help," Morin concludes "Usually, it takes fewer than 10 therapy sessions to treat anxiety."
For more, read up on the science-backed ways to stop overthinking everything in life.