Avoid or Advance?

Avoidance behaviors are things that people do or don’t do to try to avoid panicky feelings. Avoidance coping leads to increased anxiety.

Examples of behaviors people DO to avoid anxiety include:

  • Ruminating or overthinking as a way out of uncomfortable emotions, or trying to force a solution to escape the feeling of uncertainty.
  • Asking repeatedly for reassurance to reduce fear of abandonment in a relationship. The action of repeatedly asking or acting needy can drive a person away.

Examples of behaviors people DON’T DO to avoid anxiety:

  • Putting off or not having awkward, but necessary, conversations.
  • Staying away from jobs, situations and events that trigger social anxiety or public speaking.

The more situations that cause anxiety are avoided, the more situations will start to trigger anxiety. Overcome avoidance coping by recognizing that it doesn’t work and learn to tolerate uncomfortable thoughts and feelings until they pass naturally. Thoughts and feelings are, by their nature, temporary.

“Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.”   Jodi Picoult