Avoidance Is Not Helpful for My Anxiety
There was a time that I felt I needed to avoid anything that caused anxiety. Whether it was a long-term trigger or something that was making me feel uncomfortable at the moment, I felt that I needed to avoid the situation to keep from experiencing any unpleasant feelings as a result of anxiety. But I have learned that avoidance doesn't help my anxiety.
Problems with Avoiding Things that Cause Anxiety
Over time, I learned that there are a few problems with avoidance due to anxiety. For instance, I found myself existing in somewhat of a silo. If you are trying to avoid triggers, you might find yourself avoiding many of the things you would typically encounter in everyday life. The problem with this is that life happens, and the ups and downs of life are unavoidable. Trying to keep from completely having to encounter triggers is virtually impossible.
Another problem is that trying to do this can lead to inadvertently avoiding things that can contribute to growth in life. For example, there was a time when I found the anxiety of speaking in front of others seemingly unbearable. As a result, I did my best to avoid any situation that involved public speaking. However, in reflecting on this now, I was missing out on opportunities for growth.
Lastly, completely avoiding anxiety-inducing situations and triggers means simply postponing the inevitable. I've realized that I cannot completely avoid triggers, and facing them head-on helps me deal with them, be prepared for them, and ultimately overcome them. In other words, facing triggers means that I am increasing my ability to cope with my anxiety.
Facing Triggers, Not Avoidance of Anxiety Triggers
Concluding that facing my triggers helps me increase my ability to cope with my anxiety has been one of the most important realizations that I have come to in my life. But first, I had to convince myself that I had the strength to face them. That is something that I continue to work on and will likely always have to work on.
Using self-affirmations has been helpful for me in building this resilience. But it is not always that simple. Some triggers are too anxiety-inducing to face, and some situations are beneficial for me to avoid. I must be self-aware so I know what is healthy to deal with and what is not as healthy to confront.
Additionally, practicing self-care has been vital for building resilience to face triggers. Exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep, and maintaining a work-life balance have all helped improve my mental and physical health, which benefits my overall resilience to stress.
Are there strategies you use to keep from using avoidance during anxiety-provoking situations? If so, share them in the comments below.
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2023, June 8). Avoidance Is Not Helpful for My Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2023/6/avoidance-is-not-helpful-for-my-anxiety