We all have different ways of coping with difficult or challenging situations. Lots of things influence what coping strategy we choose to use; how tired we are, other demands, past experience etc.
But why is avoidance a common coping strategy and what are the pros and cons?
Lets look at what we get out of avoiding, the Pros
Avoiding a difficult or challenging situation can;
- Reduce or eliminates negative emotions
- Reduce the risk of an uncertain outcome
- Minimise the chance of conflict
- Avoid getting it wrong
- Hide from judgement
Looking at this list it is easy to see why avoidance is such a popular coping strategy.
So with so many benefits, how could there be any cons I hear you say!
Here’s the flip side of avoiding, the cons
Well, avoiding a difficult or challenging situation can stop you;
- Over time feeling incapable of managing your emotional responses
- Challenging the assumption that the outcome would be negative
- Recognising your ability to handle conflict through effective communication skills learnt from experience
- Learning from experience and most importantly mistakes
- Stepping outside your comfort zone and increasing your confidence
- Building self-belief and self-esteem
- Challenging negative beliefs you hold about yourself and others
- Making new connections
- Experiencing new experiences
I could go on, but I think you probably get the message.
Avoidance can cause a lot more problems than is solves and you can see how repeated us of this coping strategy, could have long term implications on a persons view of themselves and their abilities.
So if not avoidance what else????
Here’s a couple of suggestions to get you going.
1/ Set small challenges and gradually increase confidence whilst reversing negative beliefs
2/ Look at actions you can take to increase ability and therefore your confidence. You are never to old to be learning, it’s not just for kids.
3/ Identify positive affirmations that you can tell yourself to challenge negative beliefs. I’m not talking over cheesy, just not the usual character assassination of yourself!
4/ Identify someone you trust to communicate your goals/plans to. You will be more likely to stick to them if you have someone you feel accountable to.
5/ Create a reward system. This will help your brain connect challenge with a positive outcome and increase motivation to complete challenges. Scientifically proven!!!
If you want to learn more about coaching with Complete Life Coaching and how we could help you Contact Us today for your free 20 minute phone consultation.