Avoidance and anxiety
I was once told:
"If something is causing you anxiety or stress, try to avoid it."
But what if that anxiety is caused by walking down the street? By shopping in your local supermarket? By a busy train station?
Sure we can get around it - order our shopping to be delivered, avoid rush hour, stay indoors. Less stressful maybe but not always convenient and terribly life limiting, incredibly isolating and lonely making.
The answer to overcoming anxiety isn't to withdraw from the world, it's raising awareness of, recognising and managing those triggers. It's learning strategies to retrain and calm the fear centre. It's listening to our bodies and learning to self-sooth.
Anxiety isn't necessarily the result of a faulty brain either, it is the effect of an overprotective one. Your brain is working incredibly hard to keep you safe. Anxiety is exhausting!
Treating anxiety takes time and it will involve managing setbacks. The cost of letting it win must be outweighed by what we feel it's taking from us. You need to work (and it is work) to become the master of this fear centre again. Shrink the fear, make more space for living. Be kind to yourself, always.
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About Tania Freeman
Tania Freeman MBACP
child counselling diploma and certificate in the therapeutic arts.
Specialise in creative art therapy working with children.
Working freelance in schools and private practice.