'Avoid avoidance or you could worsen your anxiety in future' says Doncaster therapist

As we continue to live through the coronavirus pandemic and adapt to the ‘new norm’, it is normal that we will be experiencing challenges with our mental health.

Wednesday, 29th July 2020, 2:26 pm
Lauren Bell, The Yorkshire Therapist

This might include difficulties with anxiety or excessive worrying.

If you are experiencing difficulties with your mental health, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help.

The following strategy is around limiting the use of safety behaviours and avoidance.

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Safety behaviours and avoidance strategies are things we all use when we are feeling anxious and scared.

They are a way of us trying to feel more safe and in control.

Strategies which are commonly used as a result of the pandemic are: checking; ‘googling’; over focus on bodily symptoms; reassurance seeking; and general avoidance.

Although we may feel these strategies are helpful and they may provide us with a little relief, in the long term they perpetuate anxiety and can feed into the levels of stress, worry and fear we experience.

General avoidance, for example, works short term, as we are not exposed to things we find threatening.

However, long-term, it prevents us from dealing with problems and learning we can cope, even if things are new, unusual or stressful.

If you are noticing yourself engaging in any of safety behaviours or avoidance strategies, try to limit your use of them as much as possible.

You can also use graded exposure to gradually face the things you feel particularly scared of, such as supermarkets or wearing masks.

With time your brain will build a tolerance of the things it finds fearful and you will start to feel less anxious.

If you feel you are struggling with your mental health and feel CBT may be helpful, feel free to ask me any questions directly by contacting me via my social media pages – Facebook at fb.com/therapyinyorkshire and Instagram @theyorkshiretherapist

Alternatively, visit my website at theyorkshiretherapist.co.uk

You can also access free therapy through the NHS by contacting your local IAPT service - see nhs.co.uk​​​​​​​