To avoid developing anxiety, start by not avoiding certain situations

When is avoiding not a good option? We are used to running away and avoiding discomfort, but there are times when this only complicates the problem further. And to overcome it we must face it in another way.

Avoiding what hurts or bothers us is the first impulse but, as we will see, it is not always the best option . If it is a specific problem, it can be adaptive to try to avoid discomfort or things that cause us anguish or discomfort.

But How can we avoid the repetition of situations that generate discomfort not taking its toll on us? Well it is simple; If it limits or hurts us in our day to day life, if it lasts over time, it means that it is something to be solved, not simply avoided.

For example, if I am afraid of heights, I will not go hiking in places that I consider dangerous, but I will make an effort to overcome the fear of that place where I usually pass and that although it scares me, it is not worth avoiding.

The importance of not always resorting to comfort
We realize that avoiding is not strictly bad if this attitude is not constant, only punctual and if it does not condition us.

It seems like a logical reaction, but the experience speaks for itself; If we avoid having a bad time, in the end we have a worse time because the fear that we have remains or increases but never decreases , and it is increasingly difficult for us to face it or we feel more defenseless before it. Avoiding in itself is the same as not coping, and this situation can easily cause us anxiety.

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Avoiding a feared situation has been shown to increase fear for future experiences. It gives a false sense of control and ends up producing effects contrary to those we intend to obtain, because far from avoiding having a bad time and feeling capable of overcoming it, it only leads us to postpone that bad drink, because we will see ourselves in that situation again.

If we avoid it, we are not relying on our own resources, and this feeling of incompetence and lack of confidence is what causes fear or anxiety to be generated.

Avoidance of anxiety

Measure the risks, try to be realistic
Getting closer to what makes us feel good and moving away from what makes us suffer is an ancient survival mechanism; Even moving away from what we think, intuit or suppose can be harmful to us. When something dangerous happens, innate survival mechanisms are activated in us that, depending on the assessment of the situation, make us fight, flee or paralyze us.

So we measure the risks. I will fight if I think I have a good chance of winning, and there are those who do not take risks if they are not clear that a situation is not a risk. I will flee if I think it is too high a risk or that it does not seem like an assumable risk. I will stop if fear invades me and I think I have no chance, not even to run away.

To avoid is to flee, and it is to confirm to yourself that you cannot face this situation . It is accepting that this situation is dangerous and this increases fear, which causes us feelings of incompetence. But we must not let our fear make us interpret the situation in a wrong way, that is, exaggerated or catastrophic, and it is important to be aware that when fear invades us it makes us think what it is not.

How do we overcome fear and stop avoiding?
The first thing is to realize that the fact of not avoiding and facing something is a resource that we already have and that we use very often. And the second thing is to be able to not let fear decide for us. If the motivation is strong, we will be able to face what we did not imagine at first .

But more importantly, as the days go by when we do our part, we see that most of the time the risk is not as extreme as we thought. Being cautious is a coping resource; If something carries a risk, I do it with care or take certain precautions, but I do not run away and turn that being cautious into being fearful.

It is common for people who have lived through difficult situations over time to become more cautious, wiser or more respectful to avoid accidents… They measure risks better, they have more experience.

But people who have lived avoiding feeling bad, or have avoided discomfort and frustration, or who have been defenseless in a situation, will choose with fear and not wisely before many things, which will make fear gain ground and that their comfort zone is getting smaller and smaller, and that leaving it every time causes more anxiety.

The main obstacle
The problem is the false sense of security , and it is what makes most people, when this happens, not seek help to overcome it. They feel better this way, in their sometimes reduced comfort zone, than facing fear, because it is what they think works for them.

When it begins to limit them and interfere in their life or that of their family members, it is when they can realize that it is not worth it to continue invaded by fear, and they will have the motivation to face and solve that fear that does not allow them to live fully forever.