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Break the Cycle of Anxiety and Avoidance

You can break the cycle of anxiety and avoidance. Here, understand the cycle and gain tips for breaking it with purpose and meaning.

It’s easy to get trapped in a cycle of anxiety and avoidance. Avoidance is a common human behavior that has good intentions but can spiral out of control until, before we realize it, we’re trapped, boxed in by anxiety and blocked from fully living (see What is Avoidance Doing to You?) Avoidance is fear- and anxiety-based. Whether we avoid one situation, such as making or taking phone calls, or almost every situation, such as anything that takes us out of the house, we are letting anxiety limit our lives. Let’s explore how to stop avoiding.

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What Avoidance Does to Us

Knowing what avoidance does can help you stop avoiding things that cause anxiety and stress. Then, you can act to create and live your quailty life.
Knowing what avoidance does to us can help us make positive changes to embrace life. Avoidance is a behavior that is hardwired into us. It’s an instinctive reaction (think: fight-or-flight response, specifically the “flight” part) that in theory keeps us safe from danger. And sometimes avoidance, or flight, does just that. When we avoid walking across dark parking lots alone at night (whether we’re male or female, young or old), we keep ourselves out of risk of significant danger. What happens, though, when our brain tells us there is danger lurking here or there, and we avoid good things because of it? When we understand what this avoidance does to us, we can stop avoiding the wrong things.

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Do You Have Fear, Anxiety About Letting Go of Stress?

It might seem strange to have anxiety about letting go of stress. Yet reducing stress can instill fear and anxiety, making you feel worse. Here's why.

Does the idea of reducing stress cause your anxiety to skyrocket? How do you really feel about reducing your stress? Most of us automatically respond that we’d love to have less stress in our lives. Many times we state proudly that we’re working on getting rid of so much stress. Yet the stress hangs on. And on. And often, it builds. Do you find this happening to you? Is it possible that the idea of letting go of even some of your stress creates anxiety? Is there a small chance that you might be afraid of reducing stress?

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Can Anxiety Have a Positive Side?

It doesn't seem that there's a positive side of anxiety. Anxiety interferes in our mental health and wellbeing, but it does have positives. Learn many here.

Is there a positive side of anxiety? Anxiety isn’t something people often embrace as positive; indeed, people tend to go to great lengths to eliminate if from their lives. That said, very few things are either all good or all bad (that’s part of all-or-nothing thinking that contributes to anxiety, depression, and more). Anxiety can actually have a positive side, and seeing the positive actually works to pull you up and move you forward.

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