How Avoidance Increases Anxiety

Avoiding fear is the main way to maintain or increase anxiety. Annoying but true.

Each time you make a plan to avoid some fearful situation it may seem like a good idea or even a little victory, but the reality is your anxiety has won another battle. And you are left depleted.

Avoiding an uncomfortable situation starts out as quite a sensible move. It is logical to avoid discomfort and to make a plan to find the path of least resistance. However when you repeat the pattern a number of times your confidence is slowly but surely being eroded.

What starts out as a safety procedure slowly becomes a prison routine.

This pattern of avoidance can be developed in a thousand unintentional ways. From choosing one mode of transport over another because one is ‘safer’. To being ‘picky’ about what food you eat in order to reduce the chance of getting sick.

Almost any form of social embarrassment can be become an anxiety if practiced. From needing the toilet, to blushing or sweating or stomach noises. If it’s on your list of ‘must avoids’ then anxiety is close behind.

Modern times has produced <a href=”” target=”_hplink”>Modern Anxiety</a> not just because life is busier and more pressurised but also because we are offered so many opportunities to avoid what we don’t like.

As we plan ever more intricate ways of avoiding possible discomfort our self-esteem is taken down another notch.


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Andrew Cunningham

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