LEOs know this to be true because how you train in tactical skills is through repetitive training with the ASP, Taser, target practice, and so on. One does not learn to hit the bull’s eye by talking about it and never shooting. That would be stupid!! The same is true with retraining the brain to be calm. The way to heal from anxiety is exposure to the fear, immersing yourself in the feared behavior, experiencing that the fear did not come true, going through the painful emotions, and accepting that it was a distortion of thoughts and reality that kept you stuck in a destructive mindset. So if you have a fear of public places expose yourself to public places and go make a fool of yourself. Go act like a chicken. Yes, people will look at you, but it will not harm you. If you are afraid of public speaking, join Toastmaster’s. Take a speech class at a community college, or in a crowded elevator start reciting a famous speech. If you have a fear of driving, get in the car and drive until the panic passes. Put no restrictions on the pain you will endure, unless life threatening; for instance if you have a fear of heights, do not jump off The Golden Gate Bridge since that will kill you.
The only way to heal from anxiety and to retrain the brain is to be willing to roll up your sleeves, get to work, pay the price of emotion turbulence in order to achieve the reward of a calm and content mind.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff & It Really Is Small Stuff by Dr. Richard Carlson
The Feel Good Handbook by Dr. David Burns, MD
Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson and Kenneth Blanchard
About The Authors:
Althea Olson, LCSW has been in private practice in the Chicago suburbs since 1996. She has a Master of Social Work degree from Aurora University providing individual, couple, & group therapy to adolescents, adults, and geriatrics. Althea is also trained in Critical Incident Stress Management & is a certified divorce mediator.
Mike Wasilewski, MSW has been with a large suburban Chicago department since 1996. He holds a Master of Social Work degree from Aurora University and has served on his department’s Crisis Intervention & Domestic Violence teams. Mike is an adjunct instructor at Northwestern College.
Mike & Althea have been married since 1994 and have been featured columnists for Officer.Com since 2007. Their articles are extremely popular and they now provide the same training and information in person throughout the United States. This dynamic team was recently featured at the at the 2010 & 2011 ILEETA Conference & Exposition.
Out of their success has come the formation of More Than A Cop where the focus is providing consultation and trainings on Survival Skills Beyond The Street.