There are people who habitually use procrastination, passive aggressiveness or who overthink things and get stressed about it. It is possible that this happens to you both consciously and unconsciously, especially when you try to avoid facing something or deal with thoughts or feelings that make you feel uncomfortable … They are quite common behaviors to avoid facing things, but yes you do, you may have more stress than the account in your life.

Coping with avoidance

Coping with avoidance, also known as avoidant coping, avoidance behaviors, and escape management, is a maladaptive form of coping that involves changing behavior to try to avoid thinking or feeling things that are uncomfortable. In other words, coping with avoidance involves trying to avoid stressors rather than dealing with them.

Avoiding stress may seem like a good way to feel less stressed, but it isn’t necessarily so; Often times, you need to deal with things so that we experience less stress because you feel that you have more control in the situation than if you try to avoid the stressor. Stress cannot be avoided, which is why it is so important to learn how to handle it correctly.

Types of coping

There is active coping or approach coping, where the problem is addressed directly to relieve stress as quickly as possible . This means talking about stress relieving problems in relationships, rethinking the situation from different points to find out the positive aspects of a situation, etc.

There are two main types of active coping: active cognitive coping involves changing the way you think about the stressor, while active-behavioral coping addresses the problem directly. Either way, with active coping, you are addressing stress, rather than trying to avoid it.

When avoidance is used and why it is unhealthy

There are many times when people find themselves using avoidance management rather than facing stress head-on. Anxious people can be particularly susceptible to avoiding coping because it initially appears to be a way to avoid anxiety-provoking thoughts and situations. (Unfortunately, this type of stress response tends to exacerbate anxiety.)

People who are naturally prone to anxiety may have learned these avoidance techniques for a long time and may have more difficulty learning proactive strategies as it may have become a habit to handle stress improperly.

Avoiding coping is considered maladaptive or unhealthy because it often exacerbates stress without helping you deal with things that stress you out. Procrastination, for example, is an avoidance mechanism for coping: we feel stressed when we think about what to do, so we avoid doing it and try to avoid thinking about it. You don’t really stop thinking about what to do and only get out of your mind when it’s done.

Avoidance will generate stress and anxiety

Avoidance behaviors will make you feel more stressed. They do not actually solve the problem that causes stress so they are less effective than more proactive strategies that can minimize stress in the future … also avoiding problems will only cause them to grow, creating conflict in relationships.

The phrase, “If you resist, persist” is the basic reason why avoiding coping can increase anxiety. When people use this strategy to consciously or unconsciously avoid something that causes them anxiety , they usually create a situation in which they need to face it even more and with greater intensity. 

When avoiding coping is really healthy

There are some forms of passive coping that are not maladaptive and are actually healthy. These healthier ways of coping do not necessarily address the problem directly, but rather affect our response to the problem. That is, it is healthy to practice techniques that can help us feel calmer when faced with a difficult situation, even if these techniques do not affect the situation directly. 

This means that stress relief strategies, such as relaxation techniques and can minimize the stress response that we may experience when faced with a problem and even increase our self-confidence , can be effective techniques to use because they allow us to cope with our factors. stress more effectively.

It is important to note that not everything that minimizes stress in the moment is a healthy way to cope with avoidance. For example, overeating, shopping, or even a glass of wine can help you feel better in the moment, but obviously have other consequences when there is excess, so it is better not to rely on these “strategies” for the stress relief. It is more effective to create healthy habits that strengthen recovery capacity .

How to avoid avoidance

You need to focus on active coping strategies … don’t miss out on these effective ways to break out of the avoidance coping habit and start taking control of your life.

    • Understand what it is and why it doesn’t work. Avoidance will never bring you good results, it is better to use other techniques! Recognize when you are using avoidance.
    • Take a minute to think about how you are acting in a situation. Do you avoid arguing? Do you use procrastination? Become aware and replace those bad habits with more effective ones.
    • Use stress relief techniques . Stress relief techniques will boost your confidence and it will be easier to deal with situations that stress you out.
    • Use emotional coping techniques. Journaling or meditation are good ways to manage emotional stress.
    • Tolerate uncomfortable feelings. Once you get used to feeling uncomfortable, you will become more comfortable with the feelings that you normally run away from. This can help enormously because you will have more options to deal with problems; you won’t have an evasive response and you won’t have as much anxiety once you get used to it. 
    • Identify active coping options. Reframe your thoughts to identify the resources you have.
    • Communicative skills. Learn to resolve a conflict speaking from empathy and assertiveness with others.
    • Small steps. Take small steps to achieve big results.
  • Seek help if you need it. You can always talk to a therapist who can teach you ways to deal with the situations in life that stress you the most. 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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