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    anxiety in school
    nebraskalove posted:
    In my Psychology class today we were discussing Skinner, behavior, positive/negative reinforcements, and other things of that nature. We had to work in small groups to come up with examples from our own lives. We really couldn't think of behaviors that we do a lot, so I used my own example of playing Just Dance on the Wii. I don't play it often, but I was presenting it with to the class and described the negative reinforcement as avoiding class work. Now I can't help thinking that my professor thinks that's all I do and I don't study. Now I keep thinking that she will fail me on purpose, by changing my test score or giving me a low score on a paper. I am a straight A student and want to keep it that way. I'm just nervous that she will purposely try to harm me because she thinks all I do all day is play games and avoid studying.
    Reid Wilson, PhD responded:
    Hey, nebraskalove-

    I just responded to someone else's question about turning a backpack in at school (that she found abandoned on the ground) and then worrying that someone will accuse her of stealing the backpack, instead. It is the exact same thing (in my mind) as what you are worrying about. Here's my answer to her. See if you can relate:

    "These types of worries are common for those who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms. I am not saying that you have OCD, but maybe you can apply some of the skills we use for them. The first step is to acknowledge that you have difficulty with tolerating uncertainty, particularly around issues where you think you may be responsible for causing harm to yourself or someone else (like being accused of stealing).[br>Second, consider that this specific event regarding the backpack is totally irrelevant to what you need to address. It just becomes a stimulus for your worry. So don't focus on "am I going to get in trouble about the backpack?" Don't even bother reassuring yourself about the topic — in fact, that's one of the ways you can know you are obsessing: reassurance doesn't help. [br>[br>"Your work is to let go of your focus on whether you did the right thing with the backpack. Let go of trying to figure out the answer to that question. And learn to tolerate not knowing if you did right. And learn to tolerate the physical distress that comes from not answering that question. I know that seems like a very difficult thing to do, but you are asking for advice about how to get stronger. This is the way. [br>

    "If you want to read more about this, you can read the OCD section of my website . It's full of tips."

    Featuring Experts

    Reid Wilson, PhD is an international expert in the treatment of anxiety disorders, with books translated into nine languages. He is author of Don...More

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