Research suggests that when you visualise a positive outcome you are more likely to get one. Coping imagery is used to prepare for difficult situations – for example, if you know you are meeting someone or doing something and just the thought of it makes you feel worried, angry or tense.
All you need to do is to close your eyes and imagine yourself handling the situation. Think about what you would say, what you would do and how you would look and rehearse the types of things you think will happen. What might the other person say and how would you respond? When you do this, you trick the brain into thinking you have dealt successfully with the situation and you also come up with a series of contingency plans for all the different outcomes you can think of.
Face Your Fear
The truth of the matter is the more you run away from situations the more powerful you make them by making yourself seem unable to deal with what is happening. The more you face the situations that frighten you the less fear you will experience as you teach yourself that there is very little to fear in life apart from fear itself.
Break your situation down into stages and tackle each stage independently. For example, you may worry that you will have nothing to say at social events and so you tend to avoid them. However, if you set about thinking of all the social situations you avoid you could then take the least worrying of these and devise yourself an action plan of how you will tackle the situation. Remember – you can do it if you think you can do it and feeling a little uncomfortable while you learn what to do is surely not too high a price to pay for a worry-free life?
You may find this book helpful: No More Anxiety: Be Your Own Anxiety Coach