Imagine a world without anxiety (pretty nice). Or is it?
Think about a world where people don't look before they cross the road, where they don't go to the doctors when they feel unwell and where they don't abide by any laws or rules at all. Hold on, that doesn't sound so good.
This is a world without anxiety.
It is anxiety about being hit by a car that makes you look both ways before crossing, it's anxiety about your health that causes you to go to the doctor when you notice you are feeling unwell, and it is anxiety about being caught and the consequences of that which makes you follow the rules.
Wait... what? So, Anxiety is good for me?
Exactly! Some anxiety is good for us.
But...when that anxiety causes us to be ineffective and impacts negatively on our ability to function, it's time to address it.
There is one main strategy that people use to help manage their Anxiety and I am here to tell you that it DOES NOT WORK!!
This strategy is Avoidance. Sure, it provides you with short term relief in the moment but long term it makes your anxiety far worse.
If Anxiety is the weed Avoidance is the fertilizer.
Avoidance can be literal, in the sense of just not going to the place or doing the thing that causes you anxiety. It can also be undercover so you might drink more alcohol to avoid the feeling of anxiety.
Do you recognise yourself doing any of these things to manage your anxiety? Yes, Maybe, Sometimes? Well then you my friend are in a cycle of avoidance!
Avoidance decreases your confidence in your ability to cope and it increases your belief that things aren't safe.
Avoidance ultimately leaves you with the message "I'm only o.k because.... I didn't go to work today, I didn't go to the party, I didn't do the presentation etc etc."
Continuing to use this strategy to manage your Anxiety only leaves you with 2 options, make your life smaller and smaller so that you never have to face Anxiety or be absolutely terrified when something inevitably comes up that you can't avoid.
If you are sick and tired of anxiety dictating what you do or you have noticed yourself using avoidance more than usual recently, then maybe it's time to reach out for some help.
Talking to a counsellor can help you to explore other strategies that work in the moment and won't make your anxiety worse in the long run.
Why not try taking counselling off that growing list of things you are avoiding?
Contact SP Counselling Service Ltd to find out how we can help.