How Avoidance Produces 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 Modern Anxiety 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.

How Avoidance Creates Anxiety

Too much Social Media is making us hungry for real talking and listening.

The sight of a train platform of people staring at their phones or bemused shoppers stumbling down the street watching a screen is becoming commonplace. No wonder that the experience of talking and listening is becoming a sought-after commodity.

A new study  from the University of Michigan has produced findings that the internet makes us less connected to the things we really need, not more.

Look at me!

Though the internet appears to be about connection, the reality for many is that our phones and computers are more isolating than communal. Combine social media with busy lifestyles and you have a recipe for a more solitary existence which eats away at one of our most fundamental needs: human contact.

It is no wonder that I have seen a steady increase in the needs of ordinary people to book themselves into my office in Harley St  for some quality talking and listening one to one. Not always for ‘therapy’ but to discuss, explore and share in the way only two people can do ; sitting face to face in the same room at the same time.

Being plugged into the ‘online community’ is OK.

Regular meaningful conversations with a real human being is better!