Avoidance - the pros & cons
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!!!
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