This is another one in the series about anxiety and how we can be doing things unknown to us that could be part of your anxiety issues. Anxiety has a massive pull on our inner mind and can easily distort our perception to things. We can then start to find that we delude ourselves a little by maybe saying, ‘we’re not that bothered about going out, or going on that trip’ and we may say to ourselves ‘I think we will leave it’. ‘We’re far too busy, we can’t commit to the time off work, we can’t afford it, we don’t really want to go’ or whatever excuse we make and then we don’t go. But, is this really true? Are we not going because we are actually afraid? For many of us that could be the case, but we use the excuses instead of being truly honest and saying we are too afraid to do it. Just like the blog The Cat is Back and The Cat Lives On, the denial and avoidance of the truth is just telling our minds that we are really frightened to do this. After reading the other blogs you can easily guess the outcome of this is, that’s right- it just sends a message to our mind to see this event as a fearful one.
Denial to the real reason you’re not doing something, it’s just avoidance. Avoidance breeds fear.
So, you have just avoided one situation then, when you come to a similar situation the message from your mind when you think about doing this again is, be careful its frightening. If you see your mind like a big library and you have row upon row of books all set out in different sections and areas, this is just like your mind. You head to the section listed ‘socialising’ and then to the area marked as ‘going out’ then you pull out the book related to the event you avoided. You then open the book to the last event it has listed these activities and it says, TOO SCARED TO GO. Your mind uses that information to consider how to feel about doing it again and the more you use this denial avoidance approach to things the more anxious you will feel.
Your mind stores everything, don’t use denial-avoidance your mind won’t be fooled.
Here’s an example of how this denial avoidance can grow, if you have a fear over your driving ability then you may find this example interesting, but remember you can transpose this into any kind of insecurity/anxiety issue. You don’t feel confident in the car so you maybe say, ‘I can’t drive on the motorways, I am not good enough yet’ and avoid the challenge of having the advanced driving lessons. You may say ‘when I am more confident I will do it, just not yet’. Of course, dashing onto the motorway after passing your test the day before is too rash, but if it had been a few months and you have not challenged yourself to do it then maybe you’re in denial-avoidance. You continue this attitude towards driving and maybe find you don’t like driving far, and say everyone else is better and they can drive instead, after a while you then feel that you can’t drive long distances. This can then grow and you find that you don’t like it when its busy or you start avoiding dual carriage ways and then maybe limit driving to just a few places you know. Being honest with yourself, you don’t like to drive at all and will avoid it given the chance. Ok so this is the extreme case, but you can see the picture and how one denial-avoidance can grow leading to another and then it can spread through this part of your life. This ever-decreasing circle of avoidance has a massive impact on our ability to do things with confidence and security.
Give up avoidance today, try something new ,build that safety and security within you.
The more we avoid, the more we tell our mind we are afraid, the more the fear grows the more anxious we feel, the more we avoid. I guess you can see now how the habits of avoidance can grow from one small avoidance. Of course we think in the beginning that it’s no big thing and we don’t even fully acknowledge we’re doing it at times. We think we are being sensible not pushing ourselves, doing what seems easy, we may even think it helps us but it’s not at all, it is a big part of the reason your feeling anxious.
Create new challenges every week for yourself, keep your circle moving outwards not inwards.
The circle has spiralled in, so of course it can spiral out. Let’s use the issue of driving, start driving more, pushing the comfort zone out. Get used to driving in busier times, trying new routes and work with building up your confidence. Use distraction techniques while driving to help keep your mind away from worry, you could enrol for a motorway driving course or advanced driving or just some brush up lessons with an instructor. The more you step away from avoidance the more secure your mind and body will feel, so in turn, the easier you will find it to expand your comfort zone. If your fears are extreme and more like a phobia then do try and visit someone like myself, a clinical hypnotherapist, as helping you desensitise the fears will allow you to change more easily. For many people though, a better understanding, a plan of action to get away from these negative patterns and habits is all we need.
You can do it… let worry go and free yourself to climb to new heights.
Next week we will be looking at perception and how we can be out of balance with what we feel, see and experience. Our view of the world can really have a massive impact on our anxiety levels if we have a distorted view of the world our mind can be searching for things that aren’t really there.
Thanks for dropping by Sara x