Avoid Avoidance

Avoidance is powerful- it might feel effective in the moment, but ends up costing you a lot more in the end. Think of a situation you may have delayed, put off, or avoided altogether for awhile? Avoidance only prolongs the feelings of discomfort and anxiety. If you distracted yourself with other things, kept yourself busy, or just avoided thinking about it as much as possible, you probably experienced some discomfort. When “that thing” popped into your mind, your anxiety probably escalated and you had some bothersome thoughts including “shoulds.” You even may have found an excuse to continue procrastinated or went on avoiding.

Now, think of when you then faced and dealt with whatever it was you were avoiding. Though it may have been uncomfortable and maybe even distressing, there was also likely a sense of relief. Even if the outcome was not what you had hoped, you could then switch to your focus from avoidance to really dealing and moving on from whatever the situation was. So what do you do?

What to do?

The first step is to acknowledge your avoidance. Give yourself permission to admit that you have been avoiding, not because you were not capable of getting through it, but more as a defense in responding to the discomfort. Next, pay attention and be intentional in your thoughts. As you face the situation, your anxiety or discomfort may increase. That is the time to utilize effective coping skills. Take deep breaths, relaxation, exercise, seeking out a friend- whatever can help you decrease your stress. Also, focus and redirect your thoughts to be helpful. Utilize positive statements and encourage yourself. Tell yourself things like “I got this,” “I’ll get through this,” “I’m capable of getting this done,” or even “it’ll feel better to get it over with.” Use your thoughts to help push you through. Finally, get IT done! Take the steps to face and/or complete that thing that has been taking up your precious energy and has been lingering in the background.

Today is a great day to take that step. Why not make today the day that you face that “thing” you have been avoiding? It’ll make you feel better about the situation and also give you a boost of confidence!

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