What Is the Cycle of Avoidance And How to Break It

Avoidance is something we all do. We avoid people, places, and situations we don’t like because, for some reason, these things irritate us or cause us pain. Avoidance is a natural and healthy thing we do to minimize our stress.

No one likes stress, and it makes sense that we apply self-protective methods to avoid situations that we perceive as stressful or painful. Preventing stress and maintaining control seems a reasonable way to remain calm, but it can do more harm than good.

Avoidance behavior used as a coping mechanism can empower you. It gives you a false sense of control and makes you feel good at the moment, but avoiding problems does not solve them.

Instead, it can lead to destructive coping mechanisms such as isolation and substance abuse. This creates a vicious cycle of avoidance that increases stress and creates and reinforces anxiety and depression.

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