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  • How avoidance is hurting you

    Do you ever hope that a social event will be cancelled? Do you ever make up an excuse to get out of a prior engagement because it is easier than dealing with people? Avoidance is the easiest and often the most common method of dealing with uncomfortable situations. Although avoiding stressors gives a sense of relief in the short-term, it often leads to even greater problems in the long-term. In a recent article published by Power of Positivity, author Chris Butler outlines various forms of avoidance and gives suggestions on how to cope with the social anxiety that caused them.

    Do you try to fly under the radar?

    Butler gives the example of students looking down or away when the teacher raises a question. It is true that avoiding class participation will ensure that you will never feel embarrassed after giving a wrong answer. However, it is also true that it will impede your learning as well as reinforce your social anxiety. If you never face your anxiety, how can you overcome it?

    Do you constantly procrastinate?

    Butler points out that most people procrastinate on occasion. However, if you experience negative consequences and continue to procrastinate than avoidance is an issue.

    Do you isolate yourself from others?

    If you constantly decline social invitations and other engagements outside the home, you are likely coping through avoidance.

    What are strategies for facing anxiety?

    Butler listed several strategies for overcoming avoidance. Below are a few selected strategies:

    • Start with the most difficult task first. This will help you to avoid avoidance and make the rest of your day less stressful.
    • Push yourself into participating in social events. Practice engaging with others even when you feel uncomfortable. It will get easier with time.
    • Mingle with coworkers. It will help you to face your social fears, develop valuable human relationships, and it might even help your career.

    Butler also recommended counseling and exposure therapy as a powerful means of addressing anxiety. Contact us if you would like to learn more about CBT, which includes exposure therapy, can help you.

    Dr. Jason von Stietz specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Sport/Performance Psychology in Torrance, CA. He provides online therapy (telehealth) by way of the Torrance office and is available for a free initial phone consultation. Dr. von Stietz works with individuals from Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area, and the South Bay including Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo and all over California.